Update on COVID-19 from UF|Research

COVID-19 is a significant challenge that will continue to impact our research on campus and across the state in the weeks ahead.  Given the progression of impact on campus and across the state, please take the following actions immediately:

  • Research activities that can be accomplished remotely should move to that modality now.
  • Make all necessary preparations now in the event that campus and other UF facilities are restricted to essential functions and personnel. 
    • UF facility on-site research support functions that are deemed essential need to be identified now, with approvals by the relevant Dean and Vice President for Research required. These could include maintaining basic animal and plant care, maintenance of cell lines, and maintenance of equipment or building infrastructure that cannot be shut down during this pause in on-site research. Deans would need to provide list of requests that they support to the VPR for his approval.
    • For the period during which such restrictions to campus are imposed, subject to the authority imposing campus restrictions, only mission-critical, essential research should continue on campus and other UF research sites.  Approvals to continue on-campus research will be quite limited.  Research activities deemed essential include projects addressing the COVID-19 crisis, as well as human-subjects research that would endanger research participant lives if stopped. Designation of other research as mission-critical and essential would require written approvals by the investigator’s Dean and the UF Vice President for Research.  Again, Deans would need to provide list of requests that they support to the VPR for his approval.
    • Activities within Animal Care Services would be limited to animal care functions by ACS staff and those investigators associated with research deemed mission-critical and essential as stated above.  ACS will communicate regularly with researchers.
    • Identify critical equipment (including computers) that must remain in service, then plan for how to manage or shut down this equipment if necessary.
  • Effective immediately, all face-to-face human subjects research interactions are paused, except for therapeutic studies involving drugs or devices, or those critical to the health and safety of patients or study participants.  Additional guidance forthcoming.
  • With the exception of animals needed for mission-critical, essential research as defined above, orders and shipment of animals for research have already been suspended. Researchers should consider reduction of animal census, including agricultural animals and USDA-covered species. 
  • Research computing resources are expected to remain remotely accessible to investigators working at home. Identify individuals who can access remote or on-campus computing resources in case of the need to ‘restart’, or provide other emergency service, to a computer/server.
  • Some federal agencies are revising grant policies. UF|Research is tracking updates to be posted on the UF|Research COVID-19 webpage.
  • All UF-affiliated facilities and labs, whether on-campus or off-campus, are subject to this notice.
  • Please also note that all research business support units, including grant submission, award management and billing, are open and operating remotely as this time.   
  • Please know that we are here to help you navigate this challenging terrain. We ask that each of you look out for one another and those in your communities. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Dr. David P. Norton | VP for Research | University of Florida | (352) 392-9271 | dpnorton@ufl.edu