In response to COVID-19, the university curtailed on-campus research, scholarship and creative activities on its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses on March 24. The research community was directed to work remotely.
We appreciate that many researchers have been able to transition to conduct their research and scholarship remotely. However, we are aware that this curtailment significantly impacted many faculty members, graduate students, research trainees, postdoctoral fellows and research staff.
We are now working with our Faculties in planning for the phased resumption of on-campus research, adopting a gradual approach over the summer months. Read more about this.
Each Faculty is responsible for the development of a phase 1 resumption plan and for implementing and enacting these plans once they have been approved. Individual researchers should consult with their own Faculty regarding the status of their relevant on-campus research resumption plan.
The health and wellbeing of our university community remains our priority, and we continue to follow provincial guidance to support limiting the spread of COVID-19. It is important to recognize that the unpredictability of the COVID-19 outbreak may necessitate a return to stricter curtailment of on-campus research and scholarly activities at any point.
Until Faculty research resumption phase 1 plans are approved and implemented, the following guidance regarding curtailment still applies. Once implemented, all on-campus research activity for a Faculty will be governed by the relevant Faculty plan
UBC priorities with respect to research are to:
- Ensure the health and safety of our local and broader community
- Maintain the welfare of research animals
- Ensure the sustainability and safety of critical research resources, data and reagents that are difficult to replace
- Assist researchers in maintaining or obtaining research funding to cover staff salaries and other priorities
Summary of town hall consultations (posted May 5)
Summary of COVID-19 research working groups (posted May 5)
research Curtailment FAQs
The FAQs below prioritize health and safety, first and foremost. They are intended to facilitate the curtailment of most on-campus research activity and the continuing operation of some critical on-campus research activity.
Last update: June 5, 4:20pm
(* indicates latest updates)
CURTAILMENT AND EXEMPTIONS
Faculty, staff and students conducting research in Health Authority-based facilities must follow the directives of the Health Authorities. Further information can be found on the UBC Faculty of Medicine FAQs.
While maintaining social distance, the continuing on-campus research teams must have plans in place to ensure: 1) at least two members of a research group are present, or 2) if a researcher must work alone in a lab that there is a documented process in place that has been shared with anyone who will be working alone to report and/or monitor their presence and safety in the building.
In the case of maintenance of critical research resources, if a unit or group of researchers has organized to maintain resources in multiple labs or research space in the same building, a single application may be submitted. In this case, a researcher, department head or director of an institute may serve as the principal investigator.
Researchers and Heads will be notified once a decision is made. Approvals can be revoked as circumstances change.
Researchers working in Health-Authority-based facilities must follow the directives of those institutions.
Summary of Process
- Complete the form for on-campus research activities at our UBC Vancouver and Okanagan campuses
- Obtain pre-approval signature of the Head of Department relating to the primary appointment of the PI
- Obtain pre-approval signature of the relevant Associate Dean, Research or Dean
- Submit form to email@example.com
Information about support, resources and funding opportunities for COVID-19 research can now be found in the Funding & Resources section of the UBC COVID-19 research website. This includes funding opportunities, ethics and animal care committee approval processes, high-performance computing resources and links to provincial, national and international resources, platforms and networks.
If you need to procure materials from outside of Canada, the University’s customs broker Livingston International will need to clear your shipment through customs. Please see https://finance.ubc.ca/vendor/livingston-international for more information.
Research with Human Participants
For all research involving human participants, the guidance of the UBC Research Ethics Boards must be followed. Since the COVID-19 situation is very fluid, their guidance will be updated to reflect current requirements. The requirements vary depending upon the policies of the reviewing/monitoring Board so please ensure that you contact the relevant board to ascertain current restrictions on continuation of your research.
All researchers conducting studies at any of the Health Authority sites must first and foremost, follow the directives of the relevant Health Authority. These are being updated regularly. The relevant Health Authority institutional approval offices should be contacted for additional information.
- VCHRI: E-mail Stephania.firstname.lastname@example.org
- PHC: E-mail: Julie.email@example.com
- C&W: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- BC Cancer: http:www.bccancer.bc.ca E-mail: email@example.com
In addition to the advice received from the relevant institutions, UBC’s clinical REBs have developed operational advice. This is being updated regularly. The relevant Research Ethics Board administrative offices should be contacted for additional information.
- VCH: https://ethics.research.ubc.ca/clinical-research-ethics E-mail: Pia.firstname.lastname@example.org
- PHC: http://www.providenceresearch.ca/research-ethics E-mail: Julie.email@example.com
- Children & Women’s REB: www.phsa.ca/researchethics E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- BC Cancer REB: E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
BC’s clinical research ethics boards have developed a rapid ethical review process for Provincial clinical research pertaining to COVID-19. For more information, see https://researchethicsbc.ca/rapid-review-process/
Please see Health Canada’s Notice to clinical trial sponsors on the management of clinical trials during the Covid-19 outbreak. Please contact your institutional clinical trials operations or your research ethics board for more information.
Clinical researchers should also be aware of the US FDA Guidance on Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical products during the COVID-19 outbreak.
For all research involving human participants, the guidance of the UBC Research Ethics Boards must be followed.
Detailed information about conducting research during the COVID restrictions is provided on the Behavioural REB websites:
Since the situation continues to evolve, please check these pages regularly for the most current information and guidance.
Effective immediately, the ACC is reviewing all submitted protocols, amendments and renewals and is continuing to expedite the review of all COVID-19 related protocols. Online training modules are available, and in-person training is being resumed with smaller classes. Animal Care Services facilities remain open, and will support a phased increase of animal research activities.
Remote Access to research data & SOftware
PopDataBC operates a Secure Research Environment, which is a virtual space enabling secure storage of data. UBC Researchers can access a project-specific space that provides all the standard tools needed for research, including statistical software and office tools as well as an ability to export research outputs. During this period of research curtailment, PopDataBC is offering this service to researchers who are working with sensitive data who need a secure location that will help them continue their research remotely. Charges for this service will be waived during this period in the interest of supporting researchers. Please note that this service is not limited to people who request data through PopDataBC – it is available to all researchers. If you are interested or have questions, please write to SREinfo@popdata.bc.ca.
SPSS: IBM SPSS Statistics is an advanced statistical package software for Windows, Mac and Linux. UBC IT offers access to the IBM SPSS Premium license. This software license previously was only available for UBC-owned devices (referred to as ‘Network’ Licenses). A home use (standalone) license is now available to allow SPSS to be downloaded and installed on non-UBC owned devices. This is available to faculty, students (including student employees), and research staff and only for Teaching and non-commercial Research purposes related to UBC.
Additional details on SPSS and download instructions for home use are available here.
NVivo: NVivo is now also available to UBC faculty and staff for download. The software was previously only available to students. Details on NVivo and how to download are available here.
Please note that devices must be compliant with information security standards.
- It is critical to ensure open and frequent communication among all lab members/personnel, highlighting that health and safety must come first.
- Ensure that anyone who can work from home is equipped to do so in line with UBC IT security standards; meetings should be held by Skype for Business or another platform rather than in person.
- Use the attached lab checklist to facilitate safe procedures.
- Is the contact information for your lab members up-to-date?
- Are there compliance or regulatory requirements certifications that may be impacted by a change in the location of your work?
Backing up data and records
- Which processes are automated or can be initiated remotely? Which require physical presence on campus?
Alternate location/working from home
- Do you have everything in place to access email/voicemail/network drives/web conferencing remotely and in compliance with information security standards?
- Would the absence of individual members of your team with specific skills or knowledge result in difficulties in your research program? Would cross-training, documentation or sharing of information mitigate this risk?
- Do any sponsored research agreements have procedures for requesting exceptions in the event of disruption (deadline adjustments, budget adjustments etc.?)
- Does your project or lab provide any services to external users that may be impacted? Is this documented in a contract and are there sufficient “out” clauses in the event your lab was not operational?
Monitoring of equipment
- Does any of your equipment need in-person monitoring (e.g. to ensure constant temperature) or do any of your materials require transference between equipment? Can any monitoring be done remotely?
- Are there important supplies (consumables) that could lead to a disruption in your research program should their stock diminish? Are you able to maintain a greater stock of any important supplies to cover any disruption?
- Are the appropriately trained members of your team available to handle hazardous waste?
Human Research Ethics
Sponsored research agreements
Advanced Research Computing
All other questions