A message from the VPRI on COVID-19 research guidance and research recovery planning

NOTE: This message was sent earlier to the PI and DGA lists and C&I directors, major department heads and deans.


Dear Campus Research Community,

I want to echo President Schill’s gratitude and admiration for the incredible commitment you all have shown to your work, your families and to this institution throughout this crisis and pass on two important pieces of information related to research operations relevant to our research community.

First, we have developed a Phased Approach for Restarting Research Activity On Campus which will allow for a small, incremental increase in research activity on campus in the coming weeks as a first step.  There will be several subsequent phases that will tier off of changed governor’s orders. To increase research activity in the immediate next phase, you will need to develop and submit a recovery plan for your group, as appropriate for your research activities.  Please see guidance on this web page.  Recovery plans will be reviewed by a team of Research IMT members, EHS staff, and subject area faculty. Review will begin later next week. 

This will be an iterative process as we adapt and respond to a rapidly changing environment and we value your flexibility, creativity, and understanding in facilitating a safe and productive path toward recovery. Further planning for later phase re-opening is still to come and will be tied to state-wide re-opening planning currently underway. Recovery across our broad research enterprise will be a long-term transition with a restart process that is scaled gradually and aligned with public health conditions.  

Second, we are now able to offer guidance for what to do if your research staff are running out of work that can be done remotely. I want to reiterate the importance of continuing to look for opportunities to keep people working on grant-related activities from home. This may include seeking approval for project modifications with your project sponsor. 

Even though grant funds are not normally available to spend on staffing when grant-related work cannot be conducted, most funding agencies have created some flexibility — provided that an institution creates a program that applies to all funding sources. Therefore, we are adopting a program for funding contingent research faculty that is now in place for other employee groups.

Please refer to the UO Extended Benefits Program and the Frequently Asked Questions page on the UO’s Human Resources website for specific details.

I share President Schill’s commitment to preserving the fabric of our UO community as we continue to address the realities of the road that lies ahead with compassion. I know that we will emerge stronger from these challenges and I thank you for your remarkable service during demanding times.

Sincerely,

David Conover

Vice President of Research and Innovation