News

R&E Topic of the Month

Improvements to the Principal Investigator Award Agreement (PIAA) workflow form. Starting March 25, 2020, the Office of Post-Award Management (OPAM) will be leveraging the Kuali software to generate and manage the PIAA form. There will be minimal changes to the user experience. See detailed instruction.  

Equipment and Other Donation Requests Related to COVID-19

It has come to our attention that individuals are being approached and asked for donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirators and Personal Air Powered Respirators (PAPRs). These materials are university property and any decisions to donate PPE and other needed supplies must be approved and coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management. Please feel free to reach out to Jeff Hescock, Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety and Emergency Management at jhescock@ehs.umass.edu. Thank you.

Posted 3/19/20

Impacts to Research Activities Due to COVID-19

March 9, 2020

Dear Faculty:

In a recent email, Chancellor outlined the campus’ response to COVID-19. Members of the University’s Emergency Operations Team, including University Health Services leadership and two Coronavirus Working Groups, are managing campus plans and resources, and they are actively monitoring the latest developments. Please view the UMass Amherst official Coronavirus page for guidance and best practices to follow.

Below are specific recommendations and resources related to research activities.

Plan Ahead: If a communications plan for your research group is not already in place, designate points of contact in order of priority (verify email and phone numbers), so everyone receives timely information. Principal Investigators and research group leads should discuss approaches now, in the event that some personnel are unable to come to work. Lab groups that work with animals should update the lab-specific emergency plan with points of contact, phone numbers, etc., in case access to campus is interrupted.

Research Spaces: At this time, there are no plans to restrict access to university research spaces, but it is wise for every research group to make a plan in the event that full access is not available in the future.

Modifying Study Procedures to Occur Remotely: Researchers should plan for alternatives to in-person study visits, if possible (e.g., remote options for questionnaires, surveys, check-ins, screening, etc.). These changes must be approved in advance by the IRB as a Modification to the study, unless they are necessary to eliminate immediate apparent hazards to participants. For questions, please contact humansubjects@ora.umass.edu.

Proposal Deadlines: We expect that the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) will be able to submit proposals, even if staff are working remotely. In the past, federal agencies have been flexible about deadlines under difficult circumstances beyond our control. If agencies are officially closed, proposals will most likely remain pending until the agency reopens (similar to federal budget-related shutdowns). OPAS will provide email updates to the campus. See also the link to NSF updates below.

Travel: Please follow the travel recommendations from the campus available at https://www.umass.edu/coronavirus/. Use caution in considering travel to a country with restricted access to specific locations. As always, you should use your own judgment based on the circumstances. Register your travel using the UMass Travel Registry to ensure contacts and other emergency information is available.

Resources

New resources will be added as they become available.

Please send questions to vcre@umass.edu.

Sincerely,

Mike Malone
Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement

Guidance on Coronavirus Impact to Federal Awards

As the potential impact of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves, the Council on Government Relations (COGR) is compiling a repository of agency and university guidance links specifically with respect to federal research funding. Please note that this guidance includes important information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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