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COVID-19 Continuity of Research

During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers and principal investigators on campus may face unique circumstances regarding their work. It is important to consider how these procedures may impact your research, your staff and your contractual obligations to any funding you receive.

 

**For information about re-starting research activity and other scholarly or creative work on-site, please visit our Research Ramp-up Guidance webpage.**

 

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Vice Chancellor and UCOP Research Guidance

Research Town Hall Information

Research Town Halls

Updated information about research town halls can now be found on our Research Ramp-up website. 

Vice Chancellor for Research Sandra Brown will periodically host virtual town halls for UC San Diego faculty and staff.

Register for the Thursday, May 28 (12:30-2:00 p.m.) town hall here.

Register for the Thursday, June 18 (12:30-2:00 p.m.) town hall on our SharePoint siteActive Directory sign-on required for SharePoint. Please use your @ucsd.edu login, not @health.ucsd.edu or @eng.ucsd.edu.

To view a recording of previous town hall, please visit our SharePoint site. Active Directory sign-on required. Please use your @ucsd.edu login, not @health.ucsd.edu or @eng.ucsd.edu.

Working Remotely

Principal investigators and research group leads should discuss alternate workflows now so as to be prepared in the event that some personnel are unable to come to work. Such advanced planning will make future decisions straightforward and minimize disruption to research activities.

All personnel involved in research projects should ensure that they have access to equipment and information they need to carry out work remotely, including well-established VPN access. Things to consider might include access to literature, to existing datasets and research-related files, and to meeting/communications software. Tools like Google, Zoom or Slack can be leveraged, along with Canvas, our learning management system and the Virtual Advising Center. Principal investigators should prepare to carry out meetings remotely. If you are unsure about whether you have access to such tools or how to use them, it is wise to test them now. Resources are available through Educational Technology Services.

Examples of research work that can be done remotely include data analysis; literature reviews; writing proposals, reviews, or research papers; writing the background sections of theses; computational work; and meetings and discussions.

Therefore at this time you might consider prioritizing work that can only be carried out in your research facility and holding off on work amenable to remote support. Stockpiling results and data now that could be analyzed remotely in the future is a potential option that might create future flexibility.

If you are carrying out a long-term experiment and if it is feasible to freeze samples at specific steps, you might consider doing this more often.  If you are propagating cell lines or microorganisms that you have not yet frozen or otherwise preserved, it would be a good practice to do so before any research disruptions occur.

Please note that laptops and peripherals can be taken home, but lab notebooks must remain on campus. You may copy portions of the notebooks to take home if needed.

See IT Servcies' "Technology Tools for Remote Work" webpage here.

Research IT Services

If you facing new challenges carrying out your research as a result of remote-work mandates, teams at a distance, or diminished/unavailable resources at this time, Research IT Services may be able to help. They can advise on research computing workflows, cloud compute/data storage startup and other available resources. Please visit the Research IT Services webpage or email research-it@ucsd.edu for a consultation.

Virtual Privacy Considerations

As UC San Diego modifies the ways in which we conduct business and interactions move online during this pandemic, please be mindful that general privacy requirements remain intact. Learn more about videoconferencing precautions, protecting information while telecommuting, privacy during online exams and more.

Travel

During the coronavirus outbreak, many travel restrictions have been put in place by the U.S. State Department and the University of California Office of the President. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of travel, please contact UC San Diego's travel department through ASK (login required).

Q; I was planning to attend a grant-supported conference, but the conference was canceled due to precautions regarding COVID-19. May I still charge the travel-related costs to the grant?--updated March 25, 2020

Guidance concerning this question is slowly being issued by federal agencies. We will continue to update this FAQ as more information is released. Please continue to follow UC San Diego travel policies.

NIH: Non-refundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been canceled due to COVID-19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable. See NIH GPS 7.9.1 for detailed information on the allowability of travel expenses. Read the NIH notice on flexibilities here.

Non-refundable registration fees for conferences, symposiums or seminars that have been canceled due to COVID19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable (e.g. necessary to accomplish program objectives). Read the NIH notice on flexibilities.

Scientific meetings, conferences and workshops supported by NIH funding may be delayed or canceled due to COVID-19. Non-refundable costs associated with NIH supported meetings and conferences affected by COVID-19 are allowable and may be requested as an administrative supplement to the appropriate funding IC. Read the NIH notice on flexibilities.

Costs incurred related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award are authorized to be charged to an NSF award. Read the NSF notice .

The DOD will allow nonrefundable travel expenses incurred for travel canceled due to COVID-19 to be charged to active awards. Grantees must follow applicable institution policy on allowable expenses for travel. Read the DOD's FAQs.

Q: Can I still travel to research meetings?

Please work with the meeting organizer or host. They may have contingency plans for the meeting if there is a meeting cancellation. Be mindful of travel guidance from the University of California Office of the President.

Q: Can I charge trip cancellation insurance to my grant?

Trip cancellation insurance is typically unallowable on grants. However, we are monitoring any additional guidance the federal government may issue related to travel. If you need to travel in the coming months to conduct business for a sponsored project and you want to purchase trip cancellation insurance, you may reach out to your sponsored project contact to request prior approval from the sponsor to charge this cost to the grant.

Q: What is the university's policy on travel reimbursements during the coronavirus outbreak?

You can read about our reimbursement policy.

Contracts and Grants

For sponsor and agency specific guidance and other important contract and grant Information, please visit the OCGA website.

Sponsored Project Offices (SPO) will remain open and operational and will continue to provide service to our department partners, faculty, academics, physicians, and scholars. Due to the evolving situation with COVID-19 and the health of our staff and their families is of highest priority, we are providing SPO staff with the flexibility of telecommuting or utilizing administrative leave as provided for by University of California President, Janet Napolitano. SPO personnel not on administrative leave will be monitoring and responding to email and voicemail. UCSD leadership recommends working to ensure that proposal materials are routed as early as possible to your Contract and Grant Officer, so that additional time is allotted for unanticipated delays that may be related to COVID-19 issues or individuals out of the office on administrative leave. We expect some adjustments as we adapt to operating in these uncertain and rapidly changing times, and we appreciate your understanding and patience.--updated March 25, 2020

Our experience is that federal agencies are flexible about deadlines under times of major emergencies.  However, if agencies are officially closed, proposals will likely remain in a queue, pending resumption of agency operations — as has been the case during federal budget-related shutdowns.

If you have any questions about COVID-19's potential impact on a proposal, existing research project, project-related travel, or field work, please contact your Contract and Grant Officer. 

For a full list of frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19-related issues for contracts and grants, visit our FAQ page.

Human Research Subjects

Read the latest information on human subjects research during COVID-19 on our Research Ramp-up Guidance webpage.

Read the latest notices from the Human Research Protections Program (HRPP) on their website.

If you have any questions please contact the HRPP/IRB Office at hrpp@ucsd.edu or (858) 246-4777.

Animal Research

For more information on animal research during COVID-19, please visit the Animal Care Program website.

Innovation and Commercialization

In the immediate short term, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) will make every effort to continue to provide the same level of service. To make this possible, some of the staff may be working remotely as needed. Please contact the office well before any deadlines to allow for sufficient time to help with intellectual property and industry licensing needs. Email to OIC staff will be the preferred mode of communication during this time to expedite responses. If you not receive a reply within 24 hours of contacting individual staff members, please email us through our online contact form here.

To see a list of resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses affected by the current pandemic, please the OIC COVID-19 Startup Resources webpage.

To see a list of University of California startups and technologies as well as funding resources, please visit the University of California Innovation and Entrepreneurship website.

Postdoctoral and Research Scholars

Upcoming workshops may be moved to an online format, be rescheduled or be canceled. Please make sure to confirm the status and locations of workshops before attending as this information may have changed from the time you registered.

Please see the latest information on spring-quarter Ethical Challenges in Research workshops on the ECR webpage.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact postdoc@ucsd.edu or visitingscholar@ucsd.edu.

Research Continuity Task Force

Research Continuity

To ensure continuity of research, we are working with university officials to identify issues and develop responses. We are also working with units to ensure the effectiveness of research-related communications. The Continuity of Research Task Force includes representatives from multiple divisions, schools and research offices. The task force is one avenue where you can bring issues to our attention. If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed here, please email Assistant Vice Chancellor Faith Hawkins at fhawkins@ucsd.edu .

 Continuity of Research Task Force members:

  • Douglas Bartlett, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • John Bauer, Biological Sciences
  • Benjamin Bergen, Social Sciences
  • Andrew Chisholm, Biological Sciences
  • Linda Collins, Research Affairs
  • Bob Continetti, Academic Affairs 
  • Ross Dammann, Research Affairs
  • Peter Ebenfeldt, Physical Sciences
  • Gary Firestein, Health Sciences, Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute 
  • Michelle Franklin, Research Affairs
  • Miroslav Krstic, Research Affairs
  • Nancy Kwak, Arts & Humanities
  • Angie McMahill, Research Affairs
  • Phil Richter, Research Affairs
  • Lance Scott, Environment, Health & Safety
  • Frank Truong, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • George Tynan, Jacobs School of Engineering
  • Erika Wilson, Health Sciences

Guidance from Sponsors & Research Partners

At-A-Glace summary of Federal sponsor guidance regarding COVID-19 flexibilities affecting contracts and grant (May 6, 2020)

Following is brief summary of flexibilities allowed by our primary sponsors, with links to the specific published guidance. 

For all other sponsor guidance, refer to the detailed and updated “Guidance from Sponsors and Research Partners Regarding the Impact of COVID-19 on Research” and “COVID-19 Contracts and Grants FAQ’s.

  

 

NIH

Contact your C&G Officer (OCGA, HS SPPO, SIO OCGA) for coordination. 

NSF

Contact your C&G Officer (OCGA, SIO OCGA) for coordination. 

DOD

Contact your C&G Officer (OCGA, SIO OCGA) for coordination.  

DOE

Contact your C&G Officer (OCGA, SIO OCGA) for coordination. 

Late Proposal Submissions

NIH will be highly accommodating of late applications submitted through May 1, 2020.  A cover letter detailing the reason for the delay must be included with the application.

Yes. NSF has extended the deadline dates for specific funding opportunities. Funding opportunities that do not appear on the list remain unchanged; contact NSF Program Officer for consideration of extensions on a case-by-case basis.  NSF COVID FAQs.

Yes, for Basic Research by contacting the program officer and grants manager to seek an application deadline extension. 

See specific guidance from other DOD sponsors at the OCGA Sponsor COVID-19 guidance blink page.  

Deadlines for submitting pre-applications, letters of intent, or applications may be extended for no more than 14 days from due date. Contact Program Manager prior to due date. See DOE letter.

No-cost Extensions

Recipients that have active non-SNAP grant projects may extend the final budget period of the approved project period one time for a period of up to 12 months without requesting prior approval, by notifying the GMS. NIH also will approve second no‐cost extensions related to COVID‐19. In addition to NOT‐OD‐20‐086, see COGR Federal Agency Guidance Matrix.

Recipients must follow standard policies and procedures posted in PAPPG Chapter VI.D.3 NSF NCEs and applicable award conditions regarding submission of grantee and NSF-approved no-cost extensions.

Yes. The DoD Research & Development (R&D) General Terms and Conditions provide the recipient the authority to extend the period of performance one time for up to 12 months beyond the original completion date stated in the award document. Automatic 12-month no‐cost extension for awards that were active as of March 31, 2020 and scheduled to expire prior or up to December 31, 2020.  See COGR Federal Agency Guidance Matrix.

DOE allows awardees a one-time extension of the period of performance by up to 12 months without requesting prior approval. See FDP Prior Approval Matrix.

Reporting Obligations:

 

Progress

Financial

Final

Closeout

 

NIH will accept late reports. However, grant awards will be delayed until the required reports are submitted and accepted by NIH. Delay for closeout reports may not exceed one year.

NSF has automatically extended the due date of all annual project reports due between March 1 and April 30, 2020, by 30 days.

DOD will allow grantees to delay submission of financial, performance and other reports on currently-active award accounts up to three months beyond the normal due date. DOD COVID FAQs

If the lead principal investigator (PI) or the applicant institution are subject to a

quarantine or a closure, reports may be submitted through the PAMS website as soon as practicable. Delays in submitting progress reports may cause unavoidable delays in continuation funding. See DOE letter.

Salaries

Yes, NIH will allow salary and benefits to be expended for institutionally allowed administrative, sick and vacation leave relating to COVID-19 events. NIH will also allow charging to awards of salary and benefits when work is performed remotely or personnel are redeployed to provide for clinical care for COVID-19 patients.  See COGR Federal Agency Guidance Matrix.

Recipients are authorized to continue to charge salaries, stipends, and benefits to currently active NSF awards consistent with the recipients’ policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, Federal and non‐Federal. 

Allowable to charge salaries and benefits to currently-active awards consistent with the recipients’ policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances). DOD COVID FAQs

Per the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), campuses should continue to charge salaries, stipends, and benefits to currently active awards consistent with the UC policy of paying salaries from all funding sources, federal and non-federal. See UCOP letter.

Supplemental Funding

Yes, NIH may be flexible in allowing requests for supplemental funding in the event COVID-19 impacts on research require extending the project beyond the end date, and exceeding awarded funding. 

Do not assume that supplemental funding will be available. COVID-19 related costs may result in a shortage of funds to eventually carry out the project. If a shortfall is anticipated, recipients must contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer to discuss the situation.

Depends on agency and award instrument type.  Document any incurred costs and any relevant facts and details about what caused them. Email your grants officer with pertinent facts. Example DOD DARPA COVID.

Please contact your agency program managers as soon as possible, by phone and in writing, to ensure they are fully aware of the challenges and likely costs to your grant for which you will require supplemental funding.

Personal Protective Equipment as a direct charge to a grant

Yes, personal protection equipment needed to perform the grant can be a direct charge. Per section 200.453 of Uniform Guidance, materials and supplies used for the performance of a Federal award may be charged as direct costs.

Yes, personal protection equipment needed to perform the grant can be a direct charge. Per section 200.453 of Uniform Guidance, materials and supplies used for the performance of a Federal award may be charged as direct costs.

Yes, personal protection equipment needed to perform the grant can be a direct charge. Per section 200.453 of Uniform Guidance, materials and supplies used for the performance of a Federal award may be charged as direct costs.

Yes, personal protection equipment needed to perform the grant can be a direct charge. Per section 200.453 of Uniform Guidance, materials and supplies used for the performance of a Federal award may be charged as direct costs.

Working-from-home in a foreign country

If any personnel performing research on a federal/ federal flow-through award, has returned home to a foreign country to work remotely, please contact your Contract and Grant Officer. They will work with you to submit any necessary notice or prior approval request to the sponsor.  They will also coordinate any necessary reviews by UCSD’s Export Control Office.

If any personnel performing research on a federal/ federal flow-through award, has returned home to a foreign country to work remotely, please contact your Contract and Grant Officer. They will work with you to submit any necessary notice or prior approval request to the sponsor.  They will also coordinate any necessary reviews by UCSD’s Export Control Office.

If any personnel performing research on a federal/ federal flow-through award, has returned home to a foreign country to work remotely, please contact your Contract and Grant Officer. They will work with you to submit any necessary notice or prior approval request to the sponsor.  They will also coordinate any necessary reviews by UCSD’s Export Control Office.

If any personnel performing research on a federal/ federal flow-through award, has returned home to a foreign country to work remotely, please contact your Contract and Grant Officer. They will work with you to submit any necessary notice or prior approval request to the sponsor.  They will also coordinate any necessary reviews by UCSD’s Export Control Office.

Pre-award Costs

Yes, January 20, 2020 through the public health emergency period and prior to the date of a federal award.

Grantees may incur allowable pre-award costs at grantee’s risk within the 90-day period immediately preceding the start date of the grant providing: (a) the approval of pre-award spending is made and documented in accordance with the grantee's procedures; and (b) the advanced funding is necessary for the effective and economical conduct of the project.

Yes, recipient is authorized, without requesting prior approval, to charge pre-award costs incurred, at your own risk, up to 90 calendar days before the start date, as long as costs would be allowable under the terms and conditions if they were incurred during the period of performance. Refer to DOD Research & Development (R&D) General Terms and Conditions, FMS Article III. 

DOE requires prior approval to incur pre-award project costs. Revised budgets and other pre‐award documentation may be submitted as soon as practicable. See FDP Prior Approval Matrix and COGR Federal Agency Guidance Matrix.

Prior Approval

As allowed by rebudgeting authority available under NIH Grants Policy Statement Sec. 8.1.1.2,  NIH prior approval is not required to rebudget funds for any direct cost item that the applicable cost principles identify as requiring the federal awarding agency's prior approval, unless it is associated with or is considered to be a change in scope. Recipients that have active non-SNAP grant projects may carry forward unobligated balances as long as the charges are allowable costs and are within the scope of the original award.  Please see above for guidance regarding no-cost extensions. (NOT-OD-20-086)  

Recipients are required to obtain the prior approvals specified in 2 CFR § 200.308(c). All other prior approvals are waived including those specified in the FDP Prior Approval Matrix.

Awarding agencies are authorized to waive prior approval requirements as necessary. Please note that there might not be complete uniformity between agencies, components of agencies, and even between programs.  The safest course of action in all cases is to contact the grants manager and program officer for the award to determine how the financial assistance award will be treated. All costs charged to Federal awards must be consistent with Federal cost policy guidelines and the terms of the award, except where specified  OMB Letter. See COGR Federal Agency Guidance Matrix.

DOE will not consider changes to planned travel caused by the cancellation of meetings, quarantines, closures, or other public health measures to be a change in the scope of an award requiring agency prior approval.  Rebudgeting funds that does not create a change in scope does not require agency prior approval.  See DOE letter and FDP Prior Approval Matrix for all DOE prior approval requirements.

Canceled Travel, Conferences and Meetings

Yes, in general, cancellation costs may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable. 

Recipients who incur costs related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award, or the pausing and restarting of grant funded activities due to the public health emergency, are authorized to charge these costs to their award.  Recipients must not assume that supplemental funding will be available should the charging of cancellation or other fees result in a shortage of funds to eventually carry out the event or travel.

The DOD will allow nonrefundable travel expenses incurred for travel canceled due to COVID-19 to be charged to active awards. Grantees must follow applicable institution policy on allowable expenses for travel. DOD COVID FAQ

If a meeting has been canceled, awardees must follow their institutional travel policies to determine whether costs may be charged to an award. UC  policy permits travelers to purchase nonrefundable items (airfare, lodging or other) and does not require travelers to reimburse UC  for change or cancellation fees if travel was canceled as a result of something out of the person’s control. See University of California – Policy G-28. See DOE letter

Stipends to Fellows and Trainees

Yes, continue to provide stipend payments to fellows and trainees who may be unable to work as a result of or related to COVID-19.

Campuses should continue to charge salaries, stipends and benefits to currently active awards consistent with the UC policy of paying salaries from all funding sources, federal and non-federal. UCOP Letter

Campuses should continue to charge salaries, stipends and benefits to currently active awards consistent with the UC policy of paying salaries from all funding sources, federal and non-federal. UCOP Letter

Campuses should continue to charge salaries, stipends and benefits to currently active awards consistent with the UC policy of paying salaries from all funding sources, federal and non-federal. UCOP Letter

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