Guidance on Research Continuity at Marquette University

Last revised on 4/02/2020. 

At the present time, only essential in-progress on campus research activities are continuing. 

As of March 23, 2020, we are allowing only a very limited set of essential research activities to take place on campus and we expect further restrictions could follow in the near future.

A checklist for ramping down laboratory research can be found here.  

For guidance from federal agencies, refer to "External Grant Questions" in the FAQ section below. 

 

General Guidance

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What are essential research activities?  

The following criteria define essential research at this time:  

Valuable resources and activities that cannot be shut down without severe impact (i.e. equipment that requires on-going maintenance, cell and animal lines that cannot be replaced, and in-progress longer-term experiments where immediate shut-down would risk losing data) are considered essential.  Researchers engaged in essential projects must be approved by department/college leadership and logged into the Office of Research and Innovation master spreadsheet.  Any other in-person research activities should be shut down and researchers should be engaged in remote work.  Contact Jeanne Hossenlopp if you have any questions (Jeanne.Hossenlopp@marquette.edu or innovation@marquette.edu). 

If the University moves to critical personnel status and requires further restrictions, we will need in-progress research activities to shut down for an indeterminant time and all research facilities will be in maintenance mode with the minimum level of staffing required to simply maintain essential items.  Anyone entering research facilities will require prior approval from college leadership and the VP for Research and Innovation.

Raynor and Memorial Libraries

For the most current information about accessibility and hours for the library, please continue to check the COVID-19 service updates on the library’s website.

Physical access to Marquette's library spaces ended on March 27th.

As always, librarians will strive to meet your research needs. Feel free to reach out to your subject area librarian. Most will be working remotely and will be accessible through e-mail. They can meet virtually with Microsoft Teams.

Most of the library’s online resources are available via simple login from the library website, but a few require use of the university VPN. For the latter, see the library’s remote access instructions.

If you need a book chapter or article from the library’s printed materials, you can request a scan of it be e-mailed to you via the ILLiad platform.  

Current Purchasing Guidance 

If you must place an order for an item to be delivered before our (purchasing staff) return to campus, please make sure the requisition clearly indicates the following information:

  • Contact name and phone number for delivery
  • Message template:
    • The university community is working remotely, but I have placed this order and need delivery by “insert date”.  Please contact “insert” with a specific delivery date and time.  If you are unable to accommodate a planned delivery date and time, all deliveries must be delivered between the hours of 7am-noon to the Facilities building, 1404 W Clybourn St. Milwaukee Wi 53233

Some departments (chemistry, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, and possibly others) have developed additional plans.  Please contact ORI for advice if you are purchasing chemicals, temperature-dependent materials, or anything else that may require special handling.

Student Researchers

If your team includes students, note that students who live in on-campus residence halls have been instructed to not return to campus and other students have been asked to avoid being on campus to the extent possible. Consider how you might allow these students to continue to work on their projects remotely. 

Graduate assistants should work with their supervisors to continue their responsibilities remotely unless cleared through the college as working on the limited essential research or maintenance activities. We want to enable all student researchers to continue to make progress on the projects to the greatest extent possible and encourage you to plan for remote work (data analysis, writing, etc.). 

Please contact ORI (innovation@marquette.edu) if there are concerns with interruptions of the work of of internal research award funded students, ORSP for questions about grant-funded students, and the Graduate School for questions about University-funded graduate students.

Minimizing Risk in Research Space

  • All personnel who are feeling unwell should remain at home until they no longer have symptoms.
  • Pay additional attention to cleaning/disinfection procedures. As many labs are not cleaned regularly by custodial services, please contact ORI (innovation@marquette.edu) and we will facilitate planning on how to best serve your area.
  • Determine when it is possible to work remotely. Be sure to consider best practices for data management and storage.  (Note that NO laboratory work can be done outside of Marquette-approved facilities and no materials beyond computers, data storage devices, books and written documents, etc., should be taken off-site.)
  • With limited numbers of researchers on campus, please pay special attention to safety concerns – do not allow researchers to work in complete isolation and make sure that students working after hours have a plan to not walk alone at night.

Other Challenges

  • What other challenges should we plan for?
    • There are currently shortages of some supplies, particularly personal protective equipment (PPE) and some cleaning materials. Research equipment and materials orders may also be delayed.  Some areas of campus have stopped allowing new orders – please discuss with your college or department leadership. If you have available PPE that can be redistributed, please contact Matt Paulus (paulus@marquette.edu). We have been getting urgent need requests from local hospitals in addition to covering campus essential needs.
  • Does your research involve visitors to campus who are not Marquette-affiliated?
    • Plan on following University policy with respect to visitors. Consider rescheduling (postponing) activities as appropriate.  A recommended template for screening research participants or other visitors is available from ORI (innovation@marquette.edu).
  • For hazardous or infectious waste disposal, please contact Dennis Daye (daye@marquette.edu) who will be available on campus to assist.

 

 

FAQs

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I am not comfortable with coming to campus and my supervising is requiring me to do so.  What should I do?

Please contact the department chair or dean’s office to resolve your situation.

My supervisor said I should not work in lab but I want to continue to work.  What should I do?

Only essential on-campus work is allowed at this time.  If your supervisor has indicated that you should work remotely, please follow that guidance.

Only essential personnel are to be on campus at this time.

Can I pay project personnel with grant funds during COVID-19?

PIs are encouraged to think about how project staff can continue working on the grant remotely.  This may involve analyzing data, preparing reports, writing manuscripts, etc.  If there is no work available, per a temporary Marquette policy employees can still potentially be paid through April 10, regardless of whether they are working or not as long as they are available for work.  Federal grant funders, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, have indicated that as long as the university has such a policy, they will allow these charges to the grant award.  In the case of other funders, the university will cover any essential research cost not reimbursed by the funding agency.  If an employee is being paid, but not actively working on a grant, please be sure to use the COVID-19 code in EmpCenter which currently defaults to the department. Charges can be retrocosted/moved as needed after the fact.  The temporary policy is in place until April 10, 2020.  This guidance will be updated at that time. 

Travel Questions

I have an internal conference travel award and the conference was canceled or I can no longer attend due to University travel restrictions. What should I do?

Please determine as soon as possible what costs can be recovered. Cancelation of hotel reservations may be possible and registration fees may be refundable. Please keep all receipts and we will work through on a case-by-case basis on how to handle reimbursing the University or faculty as appropriate. We are waiting for further guidance from the Office of the Provost on how the University will handle these requests.

I was planning on research travel as part of my SFF/RRG award or Way Klinger research award. Can I extend the time period for use of these funds?

We will work with you on a case-by-case basis to accommodate the timeframe needed to complete the proposed work.

I am involved with a conference or travel award for a meeting that is taking place in the coming weeks. Should I continue with plans for the meeting?

Effective Thursday, March 12, the campus is suspending all non-essential university-funded travel—foreign or domestic. Additionally, we recommend reaching out to the conference organizer about the logistics of the event such as cancellation, relocation or virtual participation. If you are the organizer, you may wish to consider developing contingency plans. ORI is temporarily suspending making new conference travel awards but we will hold your requests and will process them as we are able after University restrictions are lifted.

My research involves field work – should we continue to travel?

University travel guidance is found here: https://www.marquette.edu/coronavirus/. Please see the FAQs for External Grants (section D below) for advice on disruption/delay/suspension of externally-funded projects.

My laboratory requires PPE or other safety equipment that is in short supply.  What should we do?

Researchers should note that orders for items such as disposable lab coats, surgical masks, and disposable (N-95) respirators are on hold or back-ordered until at least late April.  Please monitor your supplies and conserve by planning your work carefully.  Note that if you have research that requires a particular PPE and that PPE is not available, then work on that research must cease until the necessary safety equipment is available again. 

Matt Paulus (matthew.paulus@marquette.edu) and Dennis Daye (dennis.daye@marquette.edu) can provide ideas for acceptable alternative PPE options in some cases.  Matt has also assessed available PPE and has requested that if your area closes and you have PPE that could be transferred to another high-need area, please let him or ORI know so that essential activities can continue as long as possible. 

 Please contact ORC for specific guidance with respect to animal care, biosafety, or radiation safety protocols.  The Animal Resource Center has updated its disaster plan and has distributed this to researchers using the facility.

Should I suspend my research protocol involving human subjects?

Researchers should prioritize the health and safety of research participants and themselves by minimizing in-person interactions and follow current Safer at Home restrictions.

 

Research involving in-person interactions should be paused or transitioned to remote options.

IRB Protocols where procedures involve in-person contact may be modified to “remote” options for recruitment, screening, interviews, questionnaires, surveys, and check-ins. Remember that these changes must be approved in advance by the IRB as an amendment to the study, unless they are necessary to eliminate immediate apparent hazards to participants. Should you determine that changes in your procedures are required to reduce the risk of human subject exposure to COVID-19, you can implement them immediately, without prior notice to or approval from the IRB.  You will need to ensure that you are not introducing other risks, and you may need to ask participants to sign revised informed consent forms. The changes should be reported to the IRB as soon as possible and the IRB may request a formal amendment. If you have any questions about whether a remote option is possible or approvable (especially for consent), contact the IRB.  A recommended screening tool is available from ORI (innovation@marquette.edu) and is posted at https://www.marquette.edu/innovation/.

If you plan to pause data collection we recommend looking at your protocol to determine if you were approved for X number of visits (no amendment needed for a pause), or if you were approved for X number of visits within a specific time frame (an amendment would be needed to add flexibility). If you are unable to submit an amendment prior to pausing data collection, please report changes to data collection schedules due to COVID-19 as a protocol deviation using the reportable event form.

As of noon on March 16th, the AHPRC has been closed for research activities.  Please contact Sandra Hunter (Sandra.hunter@marquette.edu) if you have questions about planning for future use of this research facility.

External Grant Questions

 

What is the impact on proposal deadlines and award actions/subawards?

We expect that the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) will be able to continue to partner with you to submit proposals, negotiate and accept awards, and issue subcontracts/subawards, even when ORSP staff are working remotely. Note that program managers/officers are also slowed by the situation – if you are going to request a no-cost extension, we advise you to do this as soon as possible as we have received reports of at least 30 day windows needed for these actions.

 

What guidance is available from the federal agencies?

Some agencies have specific guidance, while others do not. Current guidance includes: 

National Science Foundation includes along with other guidance:

National Institutes of Health

National Endowment for the Humanities 

U.S Department of Energy – see attached pdf file.

If a conference has been canceled but I have nonrefundable travel or hotel costs, can these be charged to grant?

Federal partners are working together on a number of travel proposal and award-related issues pertaining to COVID-19.  Please see NOT-OD-086 (above) for NIH guidance. Federal agencies will provide guidance as information becomes available. In the meantime, please continue to follow all relevant policies and procedures.

Will I be able to extend my project period if the planned activities are disrupted/delayed/suspended by circumstances related to COVID-19?

Awards are typically eligible for a no-cost extension if work on the initial aims remains at the end of the project period and there are funds available.  If you foresee a need for a no-cost extension, please submit your request to postaward@marquette.edu.  You should also include this information in any upcoming reports and discuss the need ahead of time with the program officer for your award.  ORSP can provide further guidance on your specific situation.

 

Please note that Marquette’s  COVID-19 website, https://www.marquette.edu/coronavirus/, is continuously being updated and the guidance provided here is subject to change, as necessary, to remain in compliance with University requirements.  The Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) will be the central source of guidance on research continuity – based on our current staffing we expect to update our website (https://www.marquette.edu/innovation/) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as needed.  ORI is working closely with the Offices of Research Compliance (ORC) and Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) who are monitoring the release of information related to COVID-19 from Marquette University and from federal agencies.  Staff from ORSP and people in ORC who do not need to be here to do their job are working remotely but are available via email or phone.

Our primary focus is assisting with efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining a healthy and safe environment for researchers and research participants and maintaining humane and responsible research animal care.  Please feel free to reach out to the Office of Research and Innovation (innovation@marquette.edu) if you have any questions about this guidance or have suggestions for additional topics to address.

Each research area on campus will have specific needs and we encourage you to review existing safety protocols and continuity plans.  The University’s Environmental Health and Safety website has a number of useful resources and reminders about University safety, health, and environmental protection policies and procedures.

Please contact ORI (innovation@marquette.edu) with additional questions or concerns.