COVID-19 Resources & Updates Read More

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic all research activities in labs are now discontinued.  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 our researchers, their students, and research teams 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, Sponsored Programs Accounting, the Office of Technology Commercialization, the Research Solutions Institute, and Research Computing––will make every effort to continue to provide their usual level of service remotely.

Guidance on Charging Salaries to Grants and Contracts

4/30/2020 Webinar Slides

FAQs 

(pdf)

Agency Guidance

Funding for COVID-19-related Projects

COVID-19 FAQs

  • Is WPI's Sponsored Programs Office open?

    The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will make every effort to continue to provide the same level of service as staff work remotely. Please contact the office well before any deadlines to allow for sufficient time to process requests. While staff are checking their voicemail email is the best method of communication.  All staff have zoom accounts and will be available for online meetings. We expect to be able to submit proposals, negotiate agreements and process award actions even as personnel have to work remotely.

  • Are proposal submission deadlines flexible?

    Proposal Submission: Agencies may be flexible about deadlines under difficult circumstances beyond our control. However, if agencies are officially closed, proposals will likely remain in queue, pending resumption of agency operations.

  • Can I get an extension on my award?

    Existing awards: If you anticipate needing an extension to a grant that is ending soon, or if you may not be able to meet a project goal/deadline/deliverable, please reach out to your OSP post-award contact for assistance.

  • How does the current situation affect my research with human subjects?

    For PIs conducting human subjects research, please remember that, as always, it is your responsibility to minimize risk to study participants. The IRB recommends that you review your current research protocols and consider modifying them to increase social distancing. For example, interviews and focus groups can be conducted remotely in most cases. You should immediately suspend all studies that require travel by subjects or in-person contact unless there is a compelling benefit to the participants. In all situations, the IRB expects researchers to make participant safety a top priority. Requests to modify IRB protocols can be submitted via InfoEd, using the Study Modification Form. Please contact the IRB if you need further guidance.

  • Can I continue to pay salaries on my grants?

    Salaries may be paid if work can be done remotely.  If work cannot be done remotely, the allowability of salary charges depend on the federal agencies (see agency regulations).  If in doubt, please talk to your program manager.  Most grants allow to charge salaries to grants even if the work cannot be done due to COVID-19, as long as this is how WPI treats other employees.  President Leshin's April 8 memo and the associated FAQs specify that all employees, including student workers, will be paid through June 30.  This commitment applies to research and teaching assistants who would normally be working during that time. 

  • What do I do if my research is funded by a contract and I might not meet the delivery schedule?

    We suggest contacting your technical counterpart at the sponsor and discuss revising timelines and whether or not student and/or post-doc salaries may continue to be charged to the project.  We also suggest asking if additional funding is available. 

  • Does the Governor's exemption of Defense subcontractors apply to me?

    In the Governor’s announcement, on 3/23/20202 he specifically allowed activities for “personnel working for companies, and their subcontractors, who perform under contract to the Department of Defense providing materials and services to the Department of Defense".  If you believe that this directive applies to work that you are engaged in, please consult with VPR Vernescu and your prime award contact. 

  • Can I hire new research staff or students?

    Research staff and students can be hired on grants (or other non-operating funds) if work will be done remotely (e.g., in Math, Computer Science, Data Sciences, Learning Sciences etc.).  If work cannot be done remotely, do not hire any new staff or students at this time.  We are also not inviting visiting scholars until further notice. 

  • Should I be recruiting for summer research students?

    Because of the uncertainty of the situation, a few PIs have chosen to postpone REUs at WPI until next summer.  If you have already recruited students or want to do so, they should refrain from making travel arrangements at this time. Depending on the starting date, a decision will be taken next month if such activities could be supported on campus. 

    The 2020 Early Research Experience in E Term (EREE) program which targets first and second year WPI students is expected to proceed as planned 

  • Can we donate PPE and supplies acquired with grant funds to local hospitals and health care facilities in support of COVID-19 efforts?

    The NIH has issued guidance that PPE and other lab supplies purchased with NIH funds may be used in support of efforts related to COVID-19. Recipients may re-budget grant funds to repurchase supplies at a later date, use large unobligated balances, or submit an administrative supplement request to the funding IC.

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