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COVID-19 Research Continuity of Operations Plans


Tuesday, March 24, 2020  - In alignment with the Governor’s COVID-19 Stay at Home Order, effective at 5 p.m., on Monday, March 23, our recommendations to the research community of UL Lafayette are as follows:
  • only “essential personnel,” as designated by their departments are allowed on campus;
  • any research that continues on-campus during this period is conducted in a safe manner, consistent with good laboratory hygiene and social distancing guidelines, following CDC best practices; and
  • graduate and undergraduate students shall work in research laboratories only if they are designated by their departments as essential personnel.

Monday, March 23, 2020 - As the COVID-19 situation expands and the impact evolves, the Office of Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (OVPRIED) and the Office of Sponsored Programs Finance Administration and Compliance (SPFAC) are working closely with the University’s leadership team to establish guidance specific to research operations. This guidance is intended to help the campus research community limit the impact and potential risk associated with the growing outbreak of COVID-19.

 
At the current time, all administrative services of OVPRIED will continue to remain fully operational for the research community. These services include the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), the Office of Innovation Management (OIM), and the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), including research compliance committees such as IRB, IACUC, among others. Likewise, SPFAC is also equipped to serve the campus research community.
 
The University recommends the following guidance for researchers:
  • We encourage the continuation of research, innovation, and scholarly activities;
  • All campus researchers should follow CDC best practices for social distancing and hygiene;
  • Graduate and undergraduate students engaged in research shall continue their work in laboratories, as per University guidance; and
  • Personnel in research facilities should be limited to University faculty, staff, and student researchers only.

Continuity of Operations of Research Offices

Proposal Submissions

At present, all federal agencies are accepting proposals and are processing awards as usual. ORSP staff are fully prepared to support the research community with their proposal submissions through their normal business operations. In the event the University transitions to teleworking for faculty, staff, and administrators, all signatures on the Proposal Internal Routing Form (PIs, department heads, deans, ORSP, SPFAC, etc.) may be obtained by email approvals or as digital signatures. Signatures of the VPs and the Provost will also be obtained in a timely manner, without disrupting proposal submissions.
 
To facilitate planning, please notify your pre-award specialist of any planned proposal submissions within the next 30-90 days at your earliest convenience. View the list of pre-awards specialists. Contact Dr. Kumer Das, assistant vice president for OVPRIED, at kumer.das@louisiana.edu.

Research Compliance & Innovation Management

ORI is prepared to provide uninterrupted support to the campus community through various research compliance committees such as IRB, IACUC, Institutional Biosafety Committee, Radiation Safety Committee, among others. All research committee chairs, members, and ORI staff are committed to support your research program. Please expect delays in the event the research compliance committees are unable to establish a quorum because of COVID-19 and are unable to review your research proposals in a timely manner. Contact Dr. Robin Broussard, ORI director, at robin.broussard@louisiana.edu should you have any further questions.
 
Likewise, OIM is geared to continue operations as normal, both on-site at LITE and in the event of transition to remote operations. Contact Charles “Dean” Domingue, OIM director, at charles.domingue@louisiana.edu should you have any further questions.

Post-Award Contracts, Contract Modifications, and Reporting

At present, all federal agencies are processing awards, contracts, contract modifications, reporting, and compliance monitoring as usual. SPFAC staff are fully prepared to support the research community with post-award services through their normal business operations. SPFAC is maintaining and updating a listing of agency provided directives related to sponsored programs. This should be periodically checked to ensure any and all updates related to agencies are considered for the continuity of research operations.
 
SPFAC is also conducting an analysis of contracts set to expire prior to Tuesday, June 30, to identify and provide assistance to PIs in seeking a No Cost Extension from the sponsor, should COVID-19 cause a significant disruption to your project.
 
If you believe your funded projects are likely to face disruptions due to COVID-19, please notify your Post-Award Specialist of any specific needs for your contract modifications as soon as identified. View the list of post-awards specialists. Contact Shannon Gary, SPFAC interim director, at shannon.gary@louisiana.edu should you have any questions.

 

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