UF|Research Resumption Plan – Stage 1

From:    Vice President for Research David Norton

To:          UF Research Faculty and Staff

RE:         UF|Research Resumption Plan

The research we do here at the University of Florida is important, really important.  Across disciplines and colleges, we are making discoveries that solve the challenges of today and tomorrow, form the basis of future economies, and create opportunities for a better life for current and future generations.  Many of our efforts in research, in particular our experimental enterprise, were disrupted by COVID-19.  While some of our research pursuits continued, the bench laboratory activities have suffered significantly during the pandemic.  Despite the challenges, it is critically important that we find modalities to reengage the full breadth of our endeavors in pursuit of the UF research mission.

With this objective, the University of Florida is beginning the process for reengaging on-campus research activities which have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The goal is to secure a fully reconstituted research enterprise, akin to that which existed prior to the onset of the pandemic, while minimizing the risks of coronavirus transmission in the workplace through the deployment of personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, testing and contact tracing, and other workplace practices.  The UF|Research Resumption Plan employs a phased reentry strategy that balances the need to resume research activities, the type of research environment and the density of research personnel, while keeping the health and safety of faculty and staff paramount.  Efforts to reengage on-campus activities are designed so as to minimize the risk of workplace exposure to or transmission of COVID-19, upholding our commitment to maintaining safe lab environments.

Beginning on Monday May 18, faculty members whose research activities require on-site UF facilities should begin working with their department chairs and deans to create individual program plans that fit within the conditions set forth in Stage 1 of the UF|Research Resumption Plan.  After consultation planning with the chairs and deans, and with their approval, faculty members will be directed to submit the information necessary for university review and approval of their plan through a Research Resumption Request Portal.  The information that will be required in the entries is indicated in the plan.   The departments and colleges are responsible for the pre-submission screening process prior to granting approval to proceed with Request Portal entry.  The colleges will also provide instructions for accessing the portal.   The online system is designed to elicit critical information from faculty researchers so as to allow for review and approval by the department, the college and Vice President for Research. Ancillary reviews will also be required for research involving animals or human subjects. 

Once the individual research resumption plans have been approved, researchers identified with each plan will need to be cleared for return to UF facilities by UF Human Resource through the UF COVID-19 screening/testing process.  The names of these researchers will be forwarded to HR to receive information for the screening process. Once cleared by HR, they should coordinate with their departments to return to their labs.

At present, we are proceeding with the restrictions outlined in Stage 1. In coming weeks, we anticipate progressing through Stages 2, 3 and 4, arriving at a sustainable steady-state level of on-campus research activity within the context of the pandemic.

Questions regarding the pre-screening process should be directed to your department chair or college associate dean for research.  Questions about the overall process can be directed to Dr. Rob Ferl (robferl@ufl.edu ), assistant vice president for research, or Dr. David Norton (dpnorton@ufl.edu), vice president for research.

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