In response to COVID-19, the university continues to curtail on-campus research, scholarship and creative activities on its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. The research community is 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 has significantly impacted many faculty members, graduate students, research trainees, postdoctoral fellows and research staff.
The health and wellbeing of our university community remains our priority, and we are continuing to follow provincial guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19.
We are working with Faculties on both campuses to consider how we will gradually ease curtailment restrictions in ways that are consistent with public health requirements. This advance planning effort will allow us to safely and judiciously increase on-campus research activities when public health conditions allow. As communicated on May 12, In collaboration with our Faculties, we are now planning for the phased resumption of on-campus research from the beginning of June, adopting a gradual approach over the summer months. Read more about this planning process.
On-campus research curtailment restrictions remain in place at this time. Individual researchers may continue to apply for critical research exemptions. Guidance on conducting fieldwork and in-person research involving human participants is also provided below.
Please see the FAQ below about the impact of this extension on previously approved exemptions.
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 April 5)
Summary of COVID-19 research working groups (posted April 5)
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: April 28, 1:30pm
(* 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Livingston International is best positioned to help when they are aware, in advance, about important research materials that are en route to UBC. The following information will help you navigate this process:
For all orders that are shipping from outside of Canada:
- To ensure that all shipments clear customs quickly, please provide the following information via email to CST88260@livingstonintl.com and email@example.com as soon as an order has shipped:
- Product invoice and all other shipping documents
- Tracking/waybill information
- Declared customs value (which cannot be $0, even for donations)
- Your speedchart
To get status or tackle issues on a shipment:
- Please email CST88260@livingstonintl.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, copying email@example.com.
- Provide the waybill number and/or tracking information
For urgent issues:
Department Heads will provide initial approval for fieldwork requests, followed by Dean’s offices with final approval at UBC-V provided by the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation. Please provide a contact number with your request. In all cases, the request must include confirmation that fieldwork is being carried out in a manner consistent with Faculty fieldwork safety guidelines and the accepted safety plan for the project. At UBC-O, final approval will be provided by the Office of the Vice Principal, Research and Innovation. Requests indicating approval at the unit and Faculty level should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Are you able to travel to and from your research sites in compliance with current government and University travel advisories and restrictions?
- What are the proposed dates for this fieldwork?
- Is there a contact number for your team during the fieldwork period?
- How does the size of your team allow for social distancing?
- How do modes of travel at your research site allow for social distancing?
- How do living and working conditions at the site allow for social distancing and/or for self-isolation should it be necessary?
- What plans are in place should a member of the research team develop COVID-19 symptoms?
- If your research will bring you into contact with local communities, how will you ensure required and effective social distancing protocols?
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.email@example.com
- PHC: E-mail: Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org
- C&W: E-mail: email@example.com
- BC Cancer: http:www.bccancer.bc.ca E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.email@example.com
- PHC: http://www.providenceresearch.ca/research-ethics E-mail: Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Children & Women’s REB: www.phsa.ca/researchethics E-mail: email@example.com
- BC Cancer REB: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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.
- No new protocols will be accepted with the exception of COVID-19 research
- 4 year renewals and minor amendments to protocols will be accepted
If you have animals in other facilities, please contact your Facility Manager. Researchers with animals in alternative housing must consult with their clinical veterinarian.
The following services will be suspended effective immediately:
- All animal transfers between facilities
- Transportation of animals, with the exception of transport for the purposes of cryopreservation
- Ordering of any new animals
A maximum of 2 qualified staff from your research team may access our facilities until the deadline for the curtailment of research with animals. This deadline will be END OF DAY (5pm) THURSDAY MARCH 26th, 2020. Please note, however, that the health and safety of all research and facility personnel is our top priority and may mean that we need to regulate access to ensure appropriate physical distancing. Any research support services requested after March 26th will be prioritized and undertaken by ACS staff. Researcher access to facilities after this date will require a critical research exemption.
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