A pile of cards, all of which have "change" written on them.

Welcome to our redesign

If you’re a subscriber or a regular reader, you might have found yourself doing a quick double-check of the address bar when you saw this post because it didn’t look like what you were used to!

As promised in an earlier post about changes in our office, we’ve updated our blog template. The new look is a little cleaner, and we’ve reduced the number of post categories. Together, these changes make our content easier to find and easier to read.

Take a look around and use the comments to let us know what you think!


Image by geralt via Pixabay, used under Creative Commons license.

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 torange.biz. “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 PublicDomainPictures.net. 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.

General

  • 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 ClinicalTrials.gov.

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:

Resources

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).

Faculty converse at Research & Innovation's 10th Annual Proposals & Awards Reception.

Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night stayed Miamians from the 10th Annual Proposals and Awards Reception

Biology’s Mike Robinson (left) chats with Scripps Gerontology Center’s Kate de Medeiros at Research & Innovation’s 10th Annual Proposals & Awards Reception.

It’s become something of a tradition for the weather to be less-than-ideal on the date of Research & Innovation’s Proposals & Awards Reception, and this year was no exception. Despite having experienced a very mild winter overall, the afternoon of February 12 began rainy and ended slushy and slippery. Still, close to 60 intrepid PIs, chairs, deans, and support personnel braved the elements to join Research & Innovation staff for drinks and appetizers in King Library’s AIS. In addition to temporary refuge from the increasingly solid precipitation, each attendee received a spiral notebook with an assortment of sticky notes and flags as a token of thanks from Research & Innovation.


Photos by Research & Innovation.

Round, metal perpetual calendar. Text: Place Year Over Month. For 55 Yrs. Calendar. 1970-2024. Red Month for Leap Year. Th F S S M Tu W. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 27 28 29 30

Deadlines and events coming up in March

Two pages from a spiral bound calendar, each partially visible. Text: 6 W. 7 T. 8 FR. 9 SA. 7 8 9 10 11. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16.

Be sure to check out the deadlines and events coming up next month:

March 10 . . . . . . . . . .  Informal research networking at Cru Gastro Lounge
March 11
. . . . . . . . . .  Human subjects/IRB application training
March 27 . . . . . . . . . .  Free NEH writing workshop and consultations at Ohio University


Perpetual calendar photo by Bryan Kennedy via Flickr. Paper calendar photo by photosteve101 via Flickr. Both used under Creative Commons license

A round cardboard tag with the words "Thank You," surrounded by silver dots around the edge of the tag, appears in the center of the frame. Extending through a hole in the top of the tag, behind the tag, and stretching to the top and bottom of the frame is a metallic silver ribbon.

OARS to hold 10th annual proposals and awards reception

OARS’ 10th Annual Proposals and Awards Reception will be held Wednesday, February 12, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Advanced Instructional Space (AIS) in King Library, Suite 134.

Miami faculty and staff who submitted proposals and/or received awards from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 have been invited to celebrate their accomplishments. Department chairs and deans have also been invited to join in the celebration, and we encourage invitees to extend an offer to the office support staff who assist with their grant-seeking endeavors.

Those who have not already done so, are encouraged to register no later than Monday, February 10.

We look forward to this opportunity to honor Miami’s researchers, scholars, and creative artists.


Thank you image by emeraldimp via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.