COVID-19: Research Continuity

Dear Tufts Research Community,

In follow-up to President Monaco’s message on Tuesday evening, I am writing to provide guidance on research continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that this guidance will continue to evolve as we receive additional guidance from the University.

  • Laboratory Experiments: Consider scaling back experiments to focus on essential activities. Consider the timing of new experiments, particularly those that are resource and labor-intensive. Stagger experiments to limit the number of staff in the laboratory at any one time and plan for how to continue essential activities in the event lab staff are unable to be at work. Continue to conserve PPE and be prepared to scale back or stop experiments in the event that PPE is no longer available or PPE needs to be re-directed.
  • Laboratory Inspections and Inventory Audits: Routine in-person compliance or safety activities conducted by the OVPR, such as laboratory inspections and inventory audits are postponed, but can be scheduled at the discretion of the OVPR or the PI where necessary.
  • Laboratory Meetings: Limit in-person meetings to those that are essential and meet in a space that allows for adequate social distancing (six feet or more). Both WebEx and Zoom are available via Tufts Technology Services to facilitate meetings virtually.
  • Regulatory Committee Meetings: Standing regulatory committee meetings (IACUC, IBC, SBER IRB and IRLSC) will be moved to an online format and will continue.
  • Human Subject Research: Human subject research, including recruitment and enrollment, can continue. Please see the HS IRB and SBER IRB websites for guidance on study visits and modifications for remote participation; research involving international and domestic travel; and pre-screening for study participants.
  • Travel: All University-related international and domestic travel (including air, bus and train) is prohibited. For sponsored-travel, cancellation fees are an allowable cost on the grant if there is a compelling business reason. Please reach out to your research administrator who will coordinate with your school / center leadership and the OVPR. For non-sponsored travel, cancellation fees will need to be charged to the applicable department or project DeptID.
  • Events: Research-related events sponsored by the University, including those supported by the RSSP Priority Area Research & Scholarship Groups are postponed, including, but not limited to:
    • The Balance Between Nature and Nurture in Mental Health Disorders Symposium
    • NSF CAREER Prep Workshop
    • Page One Workshop
  • Trainings: Most of the routine classroom-based trainings facilitated by the OVPR for educational or regulatory purposes will be moved to an online format. As of now, the following instructor-led trainings that cannot be made available in on-line format will be postponed:
    • PARTs (March 2020 Series)
    • Responsible Conduct of Research Courses (Spring 2020 Series)
  • Grant Application Deadlines: At this time, Federal agencies have not extended grant application deadlines and we must continue to adhere to the grant application deadlines as posted. Per existing guidance, an extension may be granted in the event the University closes or is unable to submit proposals.
  • Seed Funding Program Deadlines: The deadlines for Tufts Initiative on Substance Use and Addiction and Tufts Springboard have been extended until March 30, 2020.
  • Postdoctoral Scholars: For postdoctoral scholars on J-1 visas, the International Center (internationalcenter@tufts.edu has indicated that no change to visa status will take place since work hours and duties will not be curtailed. Postdoctoral scholars should coordinate with their PI regarding alternative work arrangements or time-off that may be needed.
  • Graduate Students Engaged in Research: There has been individual communication(s) from each school regarding graduate students engaged in research. Please refer to the guidance issued by your respective school.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or should you have any questions or concerns.

Best Regards,

Caroline Attardo Genco, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Research