2020 Research News

Covid-19 : Research Community Update

March 24, 2020
Dear UNCW Research Community,

As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to grow worldwide and in the United States, UNCW is moving to online instruction and minimal staffing in campus buildings.  As communicated on March 19, 2020, starting March 24, 2020 at 5 pm access to UNCW facilities will be restricted to faculty, staff, Covid-19 : Research Community Updatestudents, and tenants who were identified by supervisors as Communicable Disease Mandatory Employees (CDME).   This includes laboratory and field personnel with critical research activities.  These activities include research that is (1) related to the Covid-19 disease and consequences of the pandemic, (2) research that would be impossible to start or could not be restarted without significant investment of resources (e.g., time, finances), or (3) research that is time sensitive and critical to graduate students experiments for graduation this calendar year.  Any laboratory or field research that does not meet the definition of critical research activities should be ramped down, suspended, or delayed as expeditiously as possible. 

While I am confident that your preparations are well underway, the Research & Innovation Office has worked with Environmental Health and Safety to create two checklists and laboratory standard operating procedures to assist researchers who are:

(1) ramping down laboratory activities (Lab Checklist – Hibernation.docx),
(2) continuing to operate during the Covid-19 outbreak (Lab Checklist – Limited Use.docx).

In addition, laboratories that remain operational should develop Standard Operating Procedures in response to Covid-19 to keep personnel safe.  Here is an example of a strong laboratory Standard Operating Procedure that PIs should consider adopting.

Again, the primary goal of UNCW’s efforts is to protect the health of our students, staff, faculty, and our greater community. Secondarily, we are protecting the core academic mission of the university, including both teaching and research.

While access to research laboratories may be restricted, your research remains important and you are encouraged to consider what you can do remotely and outside of the laboratory during this challenging time.  Thus, virtual meetings, writing of reports and papers, data management and analysis, computation, proposal development and submission to sponsors should continue if possible.  The Research and Innovation Service Team (RIST) including Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance (SPARC) and the Research Integrity Office (RIO) are all operating online and are available to assist you.  Please let the team know how they can best assist you.  Now might also be a good time to catch up on required online EH&S training (https://uncw.edu/ehs/training.html).

Stay well-
Stuart Borrett
Associate Provost for Research & Innovation