Research Updates for Faculty

DEPARTMENT(S): 
March 20, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Following President Leshin’s announcement, this communication is to provide additional guidance regarding your research activities.

Faculty should immediately begin preparing for on-campus research to be discontinued, if they have not already done so. All research activities in labs will be discontinued as of Tuesday March 24, at 5:00 pm. Ramping down of lab work should be staggered so that minimal laboratory personnel are present at any given time.

Access to labs will be restricted to essential personnel for maintaining research critical assets, such as lab animals, cell/tissue cultures, and maintaining essential equipment and materials. The goal is to maintain the existing research related assets in order to ensure laboratory viability and to comply with federal research regulations.

We understand that this will be disruptive to the scholarly activities you, your students, and your research team are conducting. We encourage you to take this time to focus on the research activities that can be completed remotely, such as writing papers and grant proposals, and completing data analysis. The research support offices, Office of Sponsored Programs, the Sponsored Programs Accounting, the Office for Technology Transfer, the Research Solutions Institute and Research Computing will make every effort to continue to provide their usual level of service remotely.

Supplies: Only orders for mission critical supplies, needed for lab viability, will be made. However these may be delayed, for example, due to supply chain interruptions.

Facilities: Core facilities and other fee-for-service resources will not be available.

Remote Access: Ensure that those involved in research projects have access to information they need to carry out work remotely (e.g., access to literature, computational resources, existing datasets and research related files.

Allowable Charges on Existing Awards: NIH was the first federal agency to state that if a university will “allow for the charging of salaries and benefits during periods when no work is performed due to the effect of COVID-19, regardless of the funding source, including Federal and non-Federal, then such charges to NIH grant awards will be allowable.” Today the White House OMB has sent out a memorandum allowing other agencies to follow suit. Thus we expect other agencies to develop their own policies. As we hear from federal funding agencies on any special considerations and allowable deviations on current grants and contracts, we will be sure to disseminate the information to the WPI community, and post on https://www.wpi.edu/research/resources/sponsored-programs/faqs

Hiring on Awards. Currently new hiring on awards has been paused, and we will inform immediately the community of any changes. Hiring on awards for next academic year can continue.

Travel. No new domestic or international travel can be charged to awards at this time, except if the booking has been made prior to the WPI directive to stop travel and cancellation is not possible.  Please consult with your Sponsored Programs Accounting Contact if this is the case.

Research Computing. All computational  research can proceed as normal. HPC clusters, storage arrays will be accessible as always (please also see the message from WPI IT).

 

Best regards,

Bogdan

 

Bogdan Vernescu,

Vice Provost for Research

Worcester Polytechnic Institute