Do not enter sign.

Continuation of critical research under the COVID-19 stay-at-home order

"Stay home" badge with image of a coronavirus in the center.

With the governor’s new directive to stay at home, everyone now needs to consider whether their on-campus research activities are considered critical. The current definition of “critical research” includes activities that are:

  • Essential for monitoring and maintaining infrastructure;
  • Essential for the health and well-being of study participants; or
  • Long-term or costly experiments for which delay or cessation would result in catastrophic loss of research or cause devastating financial consequences.

As such, the only on-campus research activities that should continue during the stay-at-home directive are as follows:

  1. Monitoring and maintenance of research infrastructure. Each department or building should have one designated essential staff person who can check freezers, incubators, cell cultures, equipment, and non-animal facility organism cultures on a daily basis.
  2. Human subjects research for which the health and well-being of the participants is dependent on the research. All other human subjects research should be conducted remotely or suspended.
  3. Long-term and very costly experiments for which delay or cessation would be catastrophic.

If your research qualifies as critical under ii or iii above, you must use this form to submit a request to continue on-campus research activities. The form asks for the following information:

  • A detailed description of the research activities you propose to continue;
  • A plan to mitigate risk of COVID-19 infection; and
  • A description of the negative consequences of delay or cessation.
    You should consult with the appropriate compliance committee (IRB, IACUC, or Biosafety) to prepare your responses.

Submitted requests will be sent to your chair and dean, who will, at their discretion, endorse the request and forward it to the VPRI. All requests are subject to approval by the VPRI and the provost.

If your research activities do not rise to the level of “critical,” under the definition provided above, you should bring your in-lab activities to an orderly shutdown and follow the governor’s directive to stay at home.

Do not enter image via “Stay home” image by iXimus via Pixabay. Both used under Creative Commons license.

An outstretched hand is positioned to catch falling question marks.

Research & Innovation updates guidance on research during the coronavirus pandemic

Caution road signs with the word "Help" on them.

As the situation with the coronavirus continues to change, seemingly from minute to minute, the Office of Research & Innovation has developed more robust guidance for Miami University researchers. General guidance can be found on the Research & Innovation homepage by clicking on About and then COVID-19 and Your Research Program. There, you will find links to guidance on the following:

We will keep these pages updated with the latest information. You can also reach out to our staff by sending an email or calling their office phone number, which they will answer off-campus using the Cisco Jabber app.

Question mark image by mohamed mahmoud hassan via Help photo by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay. Both used under Creative Commons license.

Illustration of novel coronoavirus 2019-nCoV

Planning can mitigate effects of COVID-19-related absences from campus

Illustration of novel coronoavirus 2019-nCoV

As part of the larger university effort to plan for the possible arrival and containment of the coronavirus COVID-19, Miami University researchers are urged to consider the impact physical absences from campus might have on their work. (H/T to Case Western Reserve University, who allowed us to adapt their information for use at Miami.)

Among the scenarios to consider are the following:

  • Two-week self-isolation of PI
  • Two-week self-isolation of one or more research staff
  • Period of remote work for all faculty and staff, lasting 2-6 weeks
  • Partial shutdown of university operations, lasting 2-6 weeks

To plan for the possibility of any of the above scenarios, please think through your answers to the following questions and take appropriate steps to mitigate the potential impact to your research.


  • Do you have any studies involving participants, animals, ingredients, or experiments that would be adversely affected? If so, what plans can you put in place to: 1) allow those studies or experiments to continue or 2) mitigate the effects of pausing those studies or experiments and resume them later?
  • What notice will you need to give sponsors or regulators if research is paused or delayed beyond a two-week period?
  • Do you have standing purchasing orders that would need to be modified?
  • Are there human resources issues that would need to be addressed?
  • Would there be an impact on your collection, analysis, or storage of data?
  • Do you have regulatory approvals in place that might expire during a potential interruption to normal operations? Can these approvals be renewed early?
  • Do you have collaborators who will need to be notified of any interruptions to normal operations?
  • Will any reports be due to sponsors during a potential interruption to normal operations?
  • Would the interruption to normal operations warrant a no-cost extension for any of your sponsored projects?
  • What costs would be incurred in implementing various mitigation plans?

Human subjects research

  • Does your protocol require in-person participation or treatment? If so, can it be modified for remote participation?
  • Does your protocol require in-person monitoring? If so, can it be modified for remote monitoring?
  • Would your data or results be affected if your participants had to self-isolate or if they contracted COVID-19?
  • Should your participants be screened for COVID-19 as part of your inclusion/exclusion criteria?
  • Will the location of your study remain open and available to participants?
  • Has the location of your study implemented any prevention procedures that will affect participation in your study or affect the ability of your study to proceed?
  • Any modifications made to protocols need to be submitted to the IRB for approval prior to implementation. You should also consider whether such modifications also need to be reported in

Environmental health and safety

  • Do you have lab staff with unique knowledge? If so, is it possible to cross-train other staff?
  • Does your lab operate machines that use active cooling through liquid gasses, dry boxes, or inert boxes using gas blankets? What would happen if materials like liquid gasses, CO2, nitrogen, or dry ice become unavailable?
  • How frequently are you saving or freezing samples of cell cultures? Do you have long-term experiments that might benefit from more frequent preservation?
  • Do you have the requisite local knowledge to do controlled shutdowns of complex machines or devices, such as NMRs, without on-site help from the vendor?
  • Have you shared the locations and amounts of materials that are air-, water-, or otherwise-unstable with the following for observation in case of lab closure:


Please note that as of now, Research & Innovation and all its sub-units are operating as usual. Should Miami University enact optional or mandatory remote work, we will keep our research community informed about subsequent effects on our operations.

Updated 03/12/2020 at 11:59am to replace link to NSF “Dear Colleague” letter with link to webpage with comprehensive information about NSF’s response to coronavirus.

COVID-19 images by U.S. Army and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vice President for Research and Innovation offers perspective on FY2019 extramural funding

Jim Oris, Vice President for Research and Innovation

FY2019 saw a continuation of the success Miami faculty and staff have in securing funding to support their research, scholarship, and creative activity. For the second year in a row, we exceeded $24 million in extramural funding.

Piechart showing breakdown of FY2019 funding by purpose: $17.2M/71% of funding supported research; $2.6M/11% of funding supported service; $1.9M/8% of funding supported instruction; $245K/1% of funding supported fellowships; $2.1M/9% of funding supported student financial aid
FY2019 funding by purpose

Highlights of FY2019’s external funding include the following:

Xin Wang reviews work with a labmate
Xin Wang (left)

Microbiologists D.J. Ferguson (Hamilton Campus) and Xin Wang (College of Arts and Science) received a $343,030 Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) grant from NSF to study microbes that produce the potent greenhouse gas methane. One goal of the research is to determine how these microbes use naturally occurring compounds found particularly in brackish and marine environments as a food source to produce methane. Read more about Ferguson and Wang’s work.

Cricket Meehan working with students
Cricket Meehan (second from left)

Psychologist Cricket Meehan (College of Arts and Science) and educational psychologist Amity Noltemeyer (College of Education, Health, and Society) received nearly $700,000 from the Ohio Department of Education in support of two projects. One raises awareness of mental health needs among youth while implementing services to improve well-being of students and their families. The other works to improve school climate and reduce problem behaviors.

Sue Sepela and Regional Campuses students
Sue Sepela (second from left)

Learning assistance staff member Sue Sepela (Hamilton Campus) received two U.S. Department of Education grants totaling $516,752. One grant supports the Regional Campuses’ Upward Bound program, which helps prepare low-income and first-generation high school students to pursue higher education. The other grant helps provide a comprehensive program of academic support to students on the Regional Campuses.

Rick Page talking with a student.
Rick Page (right)

Chemists Gary Lorigan and Rick Page (both College of Arts & Science) were each awarded about $1.8 million over five years as part of NIH’s Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) program. These highly competitive awards support the PIs’ research programs: membrane protein channels that are directly related to heart disease in Lorigan’s case and protein quality control and antibiotic resistance in Page’s. Read more about Lorigan’s and Page’s research and their MIRA program awards.

Like Lokon and a student working with an OMA participant
Like Lokon (center)

Gerontologist Like Lokon and Scripps Gerontology Center staff member Joan Fopma-Loy (both Research & Innovation and Graduate School) received more than $75,000 to support Opening Minds Through Art (OMA), an award-winning intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia. The program provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive disorders.

Cameron Hay-Rollins teaching class
Cameron Hay-Rollins

Anthropologist Cameron Hay-Rollins (College of Arts and Science) received $100,000 from Interact for Health for research on housing available to those recovering from opioid addiction in Greater Cincinnati. The project includes a baseline analysis of available recovery housing, building a searchable and update-able database of existing resources, and identifying perceived needs and opportunities to enhance support of people in recovery. Read more about Hay-Rollins’ project.

Jason Berberich looking at contents of a test tube in the lab.
Jason Berberich

Chemical and biomedical engineer Jason Berberich (College of Engineering and Computing) received $177,800 from The Procter & Gamble Company for research on the enzyme lipase, which is commonly added to household cleaning products, including laundry detergent, to help break up grease and other fats. Berberich’s research aims to improve the stability of cold-active lipase in detergents at high temperatures.

Daryl Baldwin addressing an audience.
Daryl Baldwin

Myaamia Center director Daryl Baldwin (Research & Innovation and Graduate School) received $311,647 from the NEH in support of the Breath of Life indigenous language revitalization initiative. The initiative consists of a series of workshops for researchers from endangered language communities. The goal is to build capacity around methods in archives-based research for community-directed revitalization efforts. Read about Breath of Life’s Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA).

At the same time FY2019 marked continued success, it also marked the beginning of a new era for Miami. Over the course of the last 12 months, Miami embarked on an aggressive strategic planning process that resulted in ambitious goals for graduate programs and research efforts. In recognition of the expanded importance of these operations, in September 2019, the university’s trustees approved a resolution submitted by Provost Jason Osborne to separate the two positions I have held since 2011: dean of the Graduate School and associate provost for research. In October, I was appointed as the inaugural Vice President for Research and Innovation.

I will remain in the role of Vice President until I retire, effective June 30, 2019. This will bring an end to my 34 years as a faculty member and administrator at Miami — my entire academic career. I have held many positions during these years, enjoyed personal and professional accomplishments, and received awards and recognition. But my highest sense of accomplishment has come from the success of my students and, for the past 11 years, my professional staff and administrative colleagues. Miami has been a special place to work and have a life. The place is a key component, but the people are what I will miss the most. I will leave behind a vibrant and growing research and innovation enterprise, and I will look back with pride that I was able to participate in such a wonderful organization.

Written by Jim Oris, Vice President for Research and Innovation, Miami University.

Photos by Miami University Photo Services.

More information about changes in Research and Innovation

Drawing of a clock and the word "update" written on a chalkboard.

As announced previously, my title has been changed to Vice President for Research & Innovation (VPRI). One reason for this change is to make the research services offered at Miami University more visible and accessible to those within and outside the university.

Since 2001, we’ve referred collectively to Miami’s research office as the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship (OARS). However, that name was a source of confusion internally and externally about the various units contained within the office. It obscured the different functions our personnel perform, often making it difficult for Miami researchers to locate the specific services they need and for prospective external partners to connect with us in meaningful ways.

To remedy this situation and to be consistent with my new title, my office will be collectively referred to as Research & Innovation.  As an umbrella unit, we have an over-arching mission to encourage discovery and innovation that connects Miami University to the larger research community and expands knowledge across traditional boundaries.

Within Research & Innovation there are six sub-units with distinct functions:

  • Research & Sponsored Programs
  • Research Ethics & Integrity
  • Office of Research for Undergraduates
  • Innovation & Technology Commercialization
  • Research Computing Support
  • Research Communications

These sub-units have been in place for some time, and nothing about their roles or their operations is changing with the re-naming of my office. However, two of these sub-units have been re-named to more accurately reflect their function. The sub-unit that coordinates submission of external proposals, which was previously lumped in with the generic “OARS” moniker, is now known as Research & Sponsored Programs. The sub-unit formerly known as Technology Transfer and Business Partnerships is now Innovation & Technology Commercialization.

Even though Miami faculty and staff will experience few, if any, immediate changes in the way they interact with my office, I want to take this opportunity to share information about each sub-unit’s personnel, mission, and services.

Research & Sponsored Programs (RSP)

Staffed by Director of Research and Sponsored Programs Anne Schauer and Assistant Director of Proposal Development Amy Cooper and part-time by Associate Director of Research Communications Heather Johnston, RSP encourages, facilitates, and supports the university community in its effort to obtain external funding for all forms of research, education, scholarly, creative, service, and outreach activities. Specific services offered by RSP include:

  • Assistance locating targeted funding opportunities;
  • Assistance with proposal development, including budget preparation;
  • Approval and submission of research proposals;
  • Coordination between Miami researchers and external sponsors
  • Review, negotiation, and approval of research contracts and agreements;
  • Review, negotiation, and acceptance of grant awards;
  • Guidance on all aspects of proposal development and submission;
  • Promotion of interdisciplinary collaborative proposal development on topics of national interest;
  • Non-financial post-award administration, including sub-award services.

Research Ethics & Integrity (REI)

Once known as Research Compliance, this unit is staffed by Director Neal Sullivan and Associate Director Jennifer Sutton. REI supports the Miami community in fulfilling the professional, contractual, legal, and ethical obligations intrinsic to research activities. Specifically, REI provides administrative support to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for research involving humans as subjects, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), and the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) program. In addition to reviewing and managing records, REI:

  • Reviews qualifying minimal risk human subjects research;
  • Conducts training for researchers interacting with the IRB, IACUC, IBC, and the RCR program;
  • Provides ad hoc advice regarding methods that adhere to ethical principles as researchers plan their activities.

The Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU)

ORU, which is staffed by Director Joyce Fernandes and Coordinator Martha Weber, champions the vision, marketing, and coordination of research and creative efforts by Miami undergraduates. ORU’s specific services include:

  • Administration of university programs, including research awards and Undergraduate Summer Scholars;
  • Organization of the annual Undergraduate Research Forum, which showcases undergraduate research;
  • Coordination of multi-disciplinary curricular efforts, including the First Year Research Experience (FYRE);
  • Co-curricular support programming, including workshops, seminars, and site visits;
  • Advocacy beyond the university for support of our undergraduate research;
  • Promotion and publicity for Miami students’ research achievements.

Innovation & Technology Commercialization (ITC)

Staffed by Director of External Relations Lisa Dankovich and me, with support from outside contractors, ITC improves the lives of citizens and the economy in the State of Ohio and beyond, by leveraging the assets of the university and of businesses to identify and cultivate innovation and to facilitate commercialization. Serving as the university’s innovation hub to Leverage Academics and Business, the LAB connects faculty, students, and staff from across the university to explore the potential of internal and external technologies for commercialization. The LAB provides an outstanding educational experience for students an develops new businesses by:

  • Cultivating innovation using a “pull” approach that collaboratively develops business start-ups utilizing existing company technology or products;
  • Intentionally connecting economic development agencies and entrepreneurs in the regional start-up ecosystem with student, faculty, and alumni talent;
  • Embedding inclusive innovation throughout the innovation and business development process.

Research Computing Support (RCS)

RCS is staffed by Senior Research Computing Specialists Jens Mueller, Jon Patton, and Greg Reese. RCS enhances research and scholarship at the university by providing expertise about computational methods and resources, developing custom applications, and assisting with the use of specific software packages. Specific services of RCS include:

  • Collaborative support for research projects and for the development of grant proposals;
  • High-performance computing resources;
  • Writing, debugging, and maintaining software;
  • Analysis or visualization of data;
  • Training faculty and students on computer hardware and software used in research;
  • Raising the level of computing technology used in research programs.

Research Communications (RC)

Staffed by Associate Director Heather Johnston, RC facilitates communication within the Miami University research community and between that community and funding agencies, commercial partners, and other external audiences. RC provides general communications consultation and support for Research & Innovation and its constituent units, including writing and editing, design and layout, and information architecture and website maintenance. In addition, RC provides:

  • Oversight and maintenance of websites;
  • An office blog (currently OARS Research News)
  • Writing and editing of articles, promotional copy, press releases, surveys, and other material;
  • Oversight and maintenance of social media accounts
  • Design and layout of publications

Day-to-day operations of Research & Innovation and all six sub-units will be facilitated by  Assistant to the VPRI, Vanessa Gordon. Vanessa will also continue to support the University Senate Committee on Faculty Research (CFR), which includes coordination of applications to the following CFR programs: Distinguished Scholar and Junior Faculty Scholar Awards, the Faculty Research Grants program, and the Publication, Reprint, Exhibition, and Performance (PREP) Costs program.

In the coming months, we will begin phasing out all references to OARS. We appreciate your patience during this transition period and look forward to having you join us on our new platforms once they are in place.

Written by Jim Oris, Vice President for Research & Innovation, Miami University.

Chrysalis photo by Sid Mosdell via Flickr. Update photo via Max Pixel. Both used under Creative Commons license.

The conductor and grand pianist are in the foreground of this image of a symphony orchestra.

Apply for CFR PREP program any time

Red hardcover book gutter with sewn pages flipping through the air ready for browsing. The cover has a shiny, plastic texture.

The University Senate Committee on Faculty Research (CFR) invites Miami University’s tenure-eligible and tenured faculty (including librarians holding the M.S.L.S. degree or equivalent) to apply for support from the Publication, Reprint, Exhibition, and Performance (PREP) Costs program. The PREP program provides reimbursement up to $500 for the following:

  • Journal page charges
  • Book publication
  • Article or book chapter reprint costs
  • Exhibition or performance costs
  • Performance or composition costs

Applications to this program may be made at any time.  Reimbursement is limited to $500 per faculty member per academic year.

PREP awards were made to the following faculty in 2018-2019:

Luis Actis (Microbiology)
Bernard Au  (Art )
Ricardo Averbach (Music) 
William Berg (Kinesiology and Health)
Per Bloland (Music)
Rachel Blum (Political Science) 
Mike Brudzinski (Geology and Environmental Earth Science)
Joomi Chung (Art) 
Randal Claytor (Kinesiology and Health) 
Carole Dabney-Smith (Chemistry and Biochemistry) 
Thomas Fisher (Statistics) 
Maria Gonzalez (Biology) 
David Gorchov (Biology) 
Bartosz Grudzinski (Geography)
Kimberly Hamlin (Global and Intercultural Studies/History) 
Michael Hatch (Art) 
Susan Hoffman (Biology) 
Frank Huang (Music) 
John Humphries (Architecture and Interior Design) 
Mariana Ivanova (German, Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures) 
Ben Jacks (Architecture and Interior Design) 
Vrinda Kalia (Psychology) 
Brian Keane (Biology) 
Michael Kennedy (Chemistry and Biochemistry) 
Seonjin Kim (Statistics) 
Chun Liang (Biology) 
Patrizio Martinelli (Architecture and Interior Design) 
Claire McLeod (Geology and Environmental Earth Science) 
Kimberly Medley (Geography) 
Andrew Offenburger (History) 
Kaara Peterson (English) 
Ellen Price (Art) 
Jason Rech (Geology and Environmental Earth Science )
Lindsay Regele (History) 
Noriko Reider (German, Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures) 
Andrea Righi (French and Italian) 
Paul Schaeffer (Biology) 
Haifei Shi (Biology) 
Leonard Smart Jr. (Psychology) 
Nancy Solomon (Biology) 
Cecilia Suhr (Humanities and Creative Arts) 
Harvey Thurmer (Music) 
Paul Urayama (Physics) 
Michael Vanni (Biology)
Whitney Womack Smith (Languages, Literatures, and Writing) 
Mehdi Zanjani (Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering)

Before applying for PREP program reimbursement, please read the program guidelines carefully.

Questions about the program may be directed to OARS or to Po-Chang Chen, 2019-2020 CFR Chair (513-529-2261).

About CFR

CFR is charged with supporting and encouraging the development of research and creative activity at Miami University.  In carrying out this charge, the CFR administers programs that support and celebrate faculty research and creative activities. Application to these programs is made through OARS.  Guidelines for all CFR programs — including detailed information, eligibility criteria, and application procedures — are available on the OARS website.

Orchestra photo by Miami University Photo Services.  Book photo by Horia Varlan via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

Tubes of different colors diverge out from a center circle.

Structure of Graduate School and research office to change

Two brick-paved paths diverge in a wood.

At its September 19-20 meeting, Miami University’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution submitted by Provost Jason Osborne to separate the positions of dean of the Graduate School and university chief research officer. The current position of Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship will be reformed into two positions: Associate Provost & Dean of the Graduate School and Vice President for Research & Innovation. Each administrator will lead their respective areas, and both positions will report directly to the Provost.

“For Miami to meet the ambitious goals of the Strategic Plan, we need two people focusing energy on innovation in these two related but distinct areas,” said Provost Osborne during the Board’s deliberation of the resolution.

Effective October 1, I assumed the title of Vice President for Research & Innovation. The title “Vice President for Research” is in line with that of chief research officers at other universities in Ohio and across the nation. The new title will also provide clarity to individuals and organizations in and outside of Miami as to the role this position plays within the university.

Provost Osborne expects to name an interim dean of the Graduate School to serve while a national search for a permanent dean is conducted. A national search will also be conducted for a Vice President of Research and Innovation to replace me, when I retire from Miami University effective June 30, 2020. Both positions are expected to be filled by July 1, 2020.

Abstract divergence image by anonymous via Max Pixel. Diverging paths image by Richard Schwier via Flickr. Both used under Creative Commons license.