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Research FAQ

COVID-19 FAQ (Updated: June 26, 2020)


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Am I allowed to start any new research at this time?

No new activities should be started during this time that involve repeated access to campus or the use of human subjects or animals in research. Please see Memo 5, uploaded June 10, 2020 for details on resumption of campus research activities.

I'd like to review the research guidelines, where can I find past memos?

Important updates regarding research activities are outlined in the following memos:

Am I able to continue on-campus research?

Beginning in July 2020, a limited number of faculty and staff may return: those who cannot effectively complete their research, teaching, or support services remotely — and can also be safely accommodated on campus in line with advice from Manitoba Public Health.

To be considered for a return, complete the appropriate request form and submit it to their supervisor  (Dean / Director / Executive Director / Associate VP or Vice-president). 

With recent changes in public health guidance, the University has established a process to allow some activities to safely return to campus. However, the number of people and activities will remain limited to comply with public health guidance and reduce the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19. The campus changes will be prioritized, phased in, adapted, and carefully managed as we incrementally increase access.

What do I need to do to plan for research interruptions?

Please develop an individual research plan in preparation for anticipated changes to access to campus as well as the need to maintain social distancing and other protocols for slowing the spread of COVID-19 while conducting research activities.

Researchers should continue their work remotely, if possible and suspend all activities that are not in keeping with social distancing and cannot ensure the health and safety of research personnel and participants.

We must recognize that there will be short term disruptions to research activities both on campus and in the field that will require mitigation efforts. Faculty should also be aware that there is the possibility of a full stop to activities should the situation escalate.

What should my research plan address?

Faculty research plans should address both short term disruption, and the potential impact of a full closure of their research activities. If your research will be significantly impacted, please forward a research plan to your chair and dean with a copy to the Research Office, via Bea Spearing

How can I support my research support staff on current projects?

Faculty are asked to communicate with research staff (undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and research technicians in labs, etc.) of any changes to workload, both short and long term. Communicate with research staff about work that can be done remotely, and set up a plan to support this. Advise the Research Office if there are any potential financial implications of changes to work with respect to grants, contracts and  payroll.

How do I access research support services?

Research support is available by email, phone, and video conferencing. Please reach out as needed. We are here to help with questions and to provide ongoing support. All research office staff are working remotely to ensure that faculty have resources to assist with current projects and for applying for new grants.

We will be using the Research website to provide faculty with updates. We also ask that you frequently visit the Tri-Council website pages relevant to your research.

What changes should I consider in my labs, facilities, and experiments?

Determine what can be shut down, what work needs to be monitored , and by whom. Any ongoing tests, procedures etc. that can be interrupted should be considered. Consider the use of virtual meetings for research teams. 

Review protocols for disinfecting surfaces to reduce the risk of surface transmission; this would include, but is not limited to, lab benches, fume hoods, instrumentation panels, taps, etc.

For remote fieldwork or attending to work at off site research facilities, special considerations may be needed. Please connect with your Chair, Dean and the Research Office to assist with any arrangements/support for off-site activities. Work with host institutions on procedures they may have in place.

What changes should I consider regarding research involving human subjects?

If it is possible to postpone in-person interviews, focus groups or gatherings this is to be strongly considered.

Interviews to be conducted online or over the phone can proceed or be postponed depending on the circumstances.

Faculty should connect with the Research Office if they expect delays, especially for non Tri-Council research.

Faculty should also consult the Tri-Council for ongoing updates to grants and funding. 

The Tri-Council Secretariat has published guidelines on human ethics review during the COVID-19 crisis.

For human ethics related questions, please contact Heather Mowat.  

What changes should I consider regarding research involving animals?

Applications for the use of animals in research will be reviewed but most research activity will be delayed until the University deems it safe to return to work on campus. (Please note, the UACC does not meet during July and August.)

Please Refer to CCAC for updates. Please also connect with your Dean and Chair to determine plans.

For any offsite or fieldwork, again please ensure that your Dean and Chair are aware if fieldwork cannot be interrupted.

The Director of the Vivarium, Dr. Jens Franck, Department of Biology, should also be contacted for work related to this facility.

For animal ethics-related questions, please contact Heather Mowat

Will I still have access to research materials and supplies?

Shipping and receiving functions will remain open. Please ensure you connect with suppliers or others if there is to be interruptions.

Please also notify shipping/receiving if there are any special circumstances with respect to shipments and delivery locations.

If any purchases or orders can be delayed that should be explored should campus functions close.

What do I need to consider when using equipment?

Where the research involves physical assessments and use of equipment (e.g., metabolic carts, facemasks, mouthpieces, nose clips, straps, turbines, valves, tubing, cannula, treadmills, etc.), disinfection according to manufacturer’s standards where applicable is paramount and use of single use accessories is advisable. In the absence of manufacturer standards, thorough cleaning between participants is advised.

What do I need to know about funding sources, deadlines, and deliverables?

If you are undertaking contract based work and have deadlines or pending deliverables that may be interrupted, please connect with the Research Office or the funder directly to request an extension.

It is important to note that some changes may require Contract Amendments, so notify the Research Office as soon as possible.

Based on type of funding, what and needs to be done or moved forward, faculty are encouraged to work with external funders.

What do I need to know about internal grants and travel awards?

There has been a disruption to our normal timelines for processing applications for internal open-call grants. We expect normal timelines to resume by mid-May. This affects Discretionary Grants, Partnership Development Grants, Research Workshop and Conference Grants, and Internal HSS USRAs. For more information contact: Lara Arnason at l.arnason@uwinnipg.ca 

All travel has been suspended, including for research purposes. The pending travel grant awards competition is also being postponed until further notice.  We have not finalized a decision on the June Travel Grant competition but expect that very little travel will be permitted over the coming months. We will update this as soon as possible. 

Any internal grant or travel funding awarded for an interrupted conference can be held if the event is rescheduled.

Use of TPDA funds for travel canceled within this fiscal year can be deferred if the event is being rescheduled. If you need to defer travel, please discuss with Dr. James Currie, Vice-President, Administration.

What funding opportunties are available?

If you are interested in any of the following opportunities, please submit your application to the research office two weeks before the external deadline.

Research Manitoba

Manitoba Covid-19 Rapid Response Grant – Submissions from April 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020 

SSHRC

Partnership Engage Grants Covid 19 Special Initiative - June 15 and Sept 15 

Mitacs

Research Training Award – Summer student intern support Expression of Interest due to Jill Condra by May 15, 2020 (j.condra@uwinnipeg.ca)

Special Covid-19 funding and application fast-tracking

CIHR

Operating Grant: Knowledge Synthesis: COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use – May 7, 2020

Operating Grant: COVID-19 May 2020 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity – May 11, 2020

NSERC

Discovery Grant (DG) – NOI due August 4, 2020

Subatomic Physics Discovery (SAP-DG) – NOI due August 4, 202

Category 2 or 3 Research Tools and Instruments (SAP-RTI) – NOI due August 4, 2020

NSERC Alliance Grants – Open deadline

I may need to cancel tri-council funded travel related to my research, what should I do?

If you decide to cancel your trip as a result of cancelled conferences, travel advisories (including those from Health Canada and Global Affairs Canada), or personal choice due to health or other concerns, the tri-council agencies have released a statement confirming that “the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable considering the impacts of COVID-19. This applies to the travel of both principal investigators and research personnel.”

If you are travelling for agency-funded research, you should consider purchasing either cancellation insurance, or tickets that are at least partially refundable. In this specific situation, some additional cost could still be viewed as economical if it allows for partial or full reimbursement/credit in the event of cancellation.

Please refer to the Tri-agency message on COVID-19 for more information.

I may need to cancel non-tri-council funded travel related to my research, what should I do?

There may be internal funds available to offset non-refundable travel fees. This will be looked at on a case by case basis. Please contact the Research Office for more information or questions related to non-tri-council funding.

Where do I go for more information?

For general research Inquiries, please contact Bea Spearing.

Please connect with your dean, chair, and the Research Office for questions during this time. We will work to provide as much information as we can by email and online.