A Phased Resumption of On-campus Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities

In March 2020, on-campus research and scholarly activity was curtailed on UBC's Vancouver and Okanagan campuses in response to COVID-19. Following extensive consultations between the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation and Faculties, a gradual resumption of on-campus research and scholarly activity began in June, 2020, in line with public health guidance and regulations.

Conducting on-campus research and scholarly activity is currently managed at the Faculty level. Contact your Faculty for the latest details. It is anticipated that as the broader Faculty Safety Plans are approved, these will supersede existing Faculty research resumption plans.

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. Health and safety remains our first priority. As part of our planning, UBC is working with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure we are aligned with health and safety guidelines and WorkSafeBC.

Additional guidance continues to apply for in-person research involving human participants. Additional review and the creation of a safe research plan may now be required prior to submission for ethics approval for both new and resuming studies. Please visit the BREB website for the latest guidance on conducting  behavioural research. For clinical research at any of the UBC affiliated Health Authority sites, please visit the website for the appropriate clinical board

Conducting fieldwork entails a review process at the Faculty level.

 


Summary of Responses 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. The only on-campus research activities able to continue were those receiving an on-campus research exemption for COVID-19 research and other critical research and maintenance activities.

In April 2020, the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation convened a series of town halls to enable every faculty member to engage in discussions regarding advanced planning for phased resumption of on-campus research, scholarly and creative activities.

The Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation also convened four working groups, consisting of Associate Deans, Research from both campuses to consider issues relating to the impacts of COVID-19 and research curtailment on funding, career progression, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and shared research facilities.

The first stage of a gradual resumption of research activities began in June, 2020.

The PHASED APPROACH

The plan for resuming on-campus research consisted of stages, each of which could only be enacted if consistent with public health conditions at that time. Due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 situation, we cannot assume that there will be a linear progression through the stages and a return to curtailment may be required at any time.

The first stage, which began in June, provided only limited access to on-campus facilities and adheres to strict physical distancing protocols. 

 

Research Curtailment

Research Resumption Stage 1

Who can conduct on-campus research?

Those receiving an on-campus research exemption for COVID-19 research and critical research and maintenance activities

Researchers requiring access to on-campus resources and prioritized in Faculty stage 1 plan

Who determines access?

Exemption requests approved by VPRI

Faculties identify priority needs for on-campus access

How many researchers can access on-campus resource?

Only those receiving exemptions

We anticipate approximately 1/3 usual research occupancy overall

Is conducting in-person research with human participants permitted?

Research Ethics Boards provide guidance on protocols with restrictions on in-person human participant research

Additional review and the creation of a safe research plan may now be required prior to submission for ethics approval for both new and resuming studies. Please visit the BREB website for the latest guidance on conducting  behavioural research. For clinical research at any of the UBC affiliated Health Authority sites, please visit the website for the appropriate clinical board

Is conducting fieldwork permitted?

Faculties recommend exemptions to allow fieldwork in accordance with all public safety directives. Approved by VPRI.

Faculties approve specific fieldwork requests in accordance with all public safety directives.

Office access

Individual Faculties have specific procedures in place.

Individual Faculties have specific procedures in place.

When are these phases beginning?

Curtailment started on March 24

Plans can start to be enacted after VPRI/VPA approval starting in early June

 
Subsequent stages of on-campus research resumption were anticipated to allow for a gradual increase in on-campus activity. Increased activity is reliant on public health guidelines.

Planning and Process - Stage 1
  • Faculties developed a plan for a first stage of resumption, in which limited access was provided to those requiring on-site resources for their research programs. Faculties were asked to target a per-person occupancy of research spaces ~ 1/3 of normal research occupancy. Faculty research resumption plans had to address all public health guidelines and directives.
  • Steering committees were formed on each campus. These committees facilitated and reviewed plans for WorkSafe BC compliance in coordination with Safety and Risk Services (SRS) (Vancouver campus) / Campus Operations and Risk Management (CORM) (Okanagan campus).
  • Once a Faculty's research resumption plan was approved, a Faculty could proceed to implementing the plan. Communication of the enactment of this stage of on-campus research resumption was done at the Faculty level.
SUBSEQUENT PHASED EXPANSION OF ON-CAMPUS RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP

Expanding access to a greater number of researchers and scholars in subsequent phases was predicated on the direction and guidance from the Provincial Health Officer. In subsequent stages, Faculties plans consider an increase in research activity that may include the careful coordination of temporal distancing or shift approaches.  We anticipate that this will allow buildings to remain significantly below full occupancy in order to support required physical distancing protocols as required.

In subsequent stages, Faculties will also be mindful of the potential intersection of access requirements for on-campus teaching and instruction. Faculties will be responsible for the updating and approval of their research resumption plans and for their integration into overall Faculty safety plans covering teaching and research. It is anticipated that as Faculty safety plans are approved, these will supersede existing research resumption plans.

Related FAQs

What about off-campus fieldwork and in-person research involving human participants?
What about research involving animals?
What should I do if my research uses Plant Care Services?
Can I access the UBC Library for materials that are not available digitally?
Are units in the VPRI portfolio still offering support to researchers?
How will UBC deal with limited research supplies (e.g., PPE)?
Can I still receive international shipments of research materials and supplies?
How can I securely store and access my data so that I can continue my research remotely?
Is additional software available for me to access remotely?