Last Thursday, April 30, nearly 110 researchers, scholars, and creative artists from Miami University came together for a virtual forum on resuming research activities under the relaxed pandemic restrictions in the recent Stay Safe Ohio order.
During the forum, Vice President for Research & Innovation Jim Oris said measures taken to re-open campus to research, scholarly, and creative activities will be guided by the Return to Research Committee, which consists of 25 faculty and staff. Members of the committee were nominated by divisional deans and department chairs.
As the committee’s work progresses, Oris plans to host bi-weekly forums, with the next forum scheduled for Thursday, May 14. An invitation with a link to the forum will be sent several days prior to the forum. Any member of the Miami research community who must attend via phone may request a calendar invitation for the event.
Photo of Kan Yasuda’s “Door of Return” by Jennifer Morrow via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.
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:
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.
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.
Long-term and very costly experiments for which delay or cessation would be catastrophic.
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.
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.