Research-Related Updates Regarding COVID-19


The Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) has created this page to provide information and guidance for you, our research community, to facilitate research continuity during the coronavirus outbreak. We will continue to monitor communications from research-related federal agencies and will communicate them to you as conditions change. Please check this page often for updates.

The university remains open; however, research faculty, supervisors and employees are encouraged to work remotely. Pursuant to the directive of working remotely, ORED has issued the directive to ramp down on-campus research. Please refer to this email (PDF) for further information.

Please refer to MU Alert for the latest updates and information regarding the MU campus.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time.

Mark McIntosh's Signature
Mark A. McIntosh, PhD
MU Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development


Updates as of: April 3, 2020 4:47 PM

Please refer to the MU InfoReady page for information on internal and external funding opportunities related to the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. Select and filter on “COVID-19” under “Category” to access these resources.

The Conflict of Interest Office will continue operations and will be available remotely if needed. For more information, please see the Conflict of Interest page.

Considerations for environmental health and safety include:

  • Do you have a limited number of critical lab staff with unique knowledge? Are there others in your lab who can be cross-trained?
  • 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 your 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 company?
  • Using the Environmental Health & Safety Assistant (EHSA) interface, have you listed materials that are air, water, or otherwise unstable for observation using EHSA’s chemical inventory function?

If any of your research involves these variables, please contact, or call 573-882-7018. The Environmental Health and Safety Office will continue operations and will be available remotely if needed. In the event of an emergency, contact MUPD who will, in turn, notify EHS. For more information, please see the Environmental Health and Safety page.

The MU HRPP/IRB is providing guidance to researchers working with human subjects to provide for contingency planning with respect to study operations and interacting with participants. In addition, our office will work with researchers for study-specific questions and any needed amendments or adjustments.

MU HRPP/IRB Offices:
Our offices, like other MU offices, are working under modified operations, our office will continue to be available for researchers through phone, email and our eCompliance system. The main office phone line is 573-882-3181 and our email is Our website also provides contact links to email individuals and obtain policies and other helpful resources.

Interacting with Research Participants:
The primary concern for researchers should always be participant safety and developing contingency plans is encouraged.

All Studies Involving Research Participants: Screening for novel coronavirus may be a precaution taken by research units as part of public health surveillance. This type of screening does not need to be reported or approved by the MU IRB and should follow protocols and procedures recommended by the facility where your research is being conducted, Missouri Department of HealthUniversity of Missouri, and MU Health Care. In addition, risks related to research participants do not need to be amended to address COVID-19 as these are not related to study procedures but general population health.

  1. All research studies conducted by faculty/investigators that currently require direct person-person interactions, but do not offer direct therapeutic (drug and device) benefit to subjects must immediately pause new enrollment and discontinue in-person interactions unless study procedures can be modified to use alternative methods of gathering study data (e.g., telephone interviews, email, etc.).   This includes studies that are carried out at off-campus locations.  
  2. Studies involving no direct person-person interactions with participants may continue (e.g., secondary data analysis, remote or online contact, etc.).
  3. Studies that involve the administration of drugs or monitoring of devices that provide therapeutic benefit to study participants may continue, but study teams should consider alternatives to having the participant be on-site for all study visits (e.g., electronic monitoring and/or data collection, as possible). Study teams also should evaluate how illness and absences, drug shortages, facility closures, or lack of required personal protective equipment may impact treatment delivery or monitoring.
  4. Principle Investigators should regularly communicate with their study personnel who will interact with any participants to confirm that they are following the screening protocols and are symptom-free and have not had possible exposure to COVID-19.   
  5. IRB review of new studies that are not essential for managing COVID-19 circumstances may be delayed.

Study modifications to allow for remote interaction with subjects are allowable, but require IRB approval through the amendment process in advance to ensure participant safety is not compromised. If there are immediate modifications required to eliminate possible hazards to subjects and there is not appropriate time to receive IRB approval, the MU IRB should be notified within five days using the event report in eCompliance.

You do not need to modify your protocol to allow for remote interaction or adjust your study schedule if your study has been determined Exempt or if the MU IRB approved protocol does not stipulate how the visit/interaction would occur. In addition, some minimal risk studies may qualify for a waiver of documentation (signed) consent. If you wish to modify your minimal risk study to include this waiver of documentation, please submit an amendment through eCompliance (primarily for Expedited studies). An amendment is not required for Exempt studies.

Clinical Trials: There are clinical studies that include safety monitoring in the form of laboratory tests, examinations, or surveys/interviews. Clinical investigators need to work closely with the Investigational Drug Pharmacist, other ancillary areas, and their protocols to determine if modifications to safety monitoring are appropriate. Any modifications should be submitted as an amendment to the MU IRB and we will work to efficiently review and process approvals. If there are immediate modifications required to eliminate possible hazards to subjects and there is not appropriate time to receive IRB approval, the MU IRB should be notified within five days using the event report in eCompliance. If MU IRB is not the IRB of record and you are relying on another IRB, you will need to contact the reviewing IRB.

Suspending Study Enrollment:
If investigators decide to voluntarily suspend participant enrollment or participation for a significant amount of time (more than a month), this should be reported to the MU IRB with an amendment to temporarily close a study. Information will need to be provided to ensure participant safety is not adversely impacted by any participation suspension. If MU IRB is not the IRB of record and you are relying on another IRB, you will need to contact the reviewing IRB.

Emergency Use of Test Article:
Processes related to Emergency Use or Compassionate Use of a test article (drug, device or biologic) remain the same with respect to MU IRB approval. Our policy provides guidance on what is required and how to submit information to the MU IRB through eCompliance.

Maintaining Data Security and Confidentiality:
If investigators have the need to work remotely with research data as a result of MU approved COVID-19 adjustments, steps should be taken to ensure all research related data will remain secure. Investigators should work directly with their IT professionals to ensure they are working on MU encrypted devices and if working remotely with files, are using approved solutions such as VPN client and remote desktop using VPN client and if communicating via email are only using their university email account and minimally necessary information.

Data Results:
If your study is a sponsored study, please communicate with the sponsor to determine if there are any expected changes to data reporting as a result of participants being under self-quarantine or if they contract the novel coronavirus, or to record any study modifications discussed above. If your study is not sponsored, please work with your research team (and reach out to the MU IRB if necessary) to determine how your data may potentially be impacted and what additional information and data points you need to capture.

FDA Guidance and Registered Studies:
COVID-19-Related Guidance Documents for Industry, FDA Staff, and Other Stakeholders
COVID-19 Studies Registered on

For more information, please see the Human Subjects Research Protections Program page.

The Office of Animal Resources (OAR) husbandry and veterinary staff are considered essential employees and daily animal care will continue in the event the university implements reduced or suspended operations up to and including limited access of individuals on campus. Our efforts during any limited operation or access scenario will be restricted to husbandry and veterinary care of the animal colonies. Transportation of animals will not occur during campus shutdown or limited access periods. OAR may modify cage/enclosure change frequency and other husbandry procedures that are deemed non-essential to support animal health as determined by OAR leadership. We are working with our vendors to ensure a sufficient inventory of supplies in case receiving supplies becomes more difficult. Regarding supply inventory, please consider having minimal personnel enter facilities in the foreseeable future so we can conserve personal protective equipment (PPE). OAR is happy to give you updates on your colony if you choose to not enter or are unable to enter the vivarium. If the university decides to limit individuals on campus, then no new animal studies are to be initiated during this period. While OAR care staff and veterinary staff will provide the daily care for animals, they will not be able to perform research tasks or procedures on the animals. Currently, we ask that you please consider delaying new animal studies that might be interrupted by a limited-access decision. OAR is working closely with the university and the Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) to ensure the safety of individuals and the welfare of animal colonies at MU.

For more information, please see the Office of Animal Resources page.

Check here for updates regarding how COVID-19 is affecting sponsored programs at MU. As this is a fluid situation, we expect to update this site frequently. If you have any information to share, please e-mail us at

What should I consider when assessing how COVID-19 might affect my research?

Now is a good time to consider how an outbreak of COVID-19 in Missouri might affect your research. Here is a list of questions to get you started.

Here are a few simple scenarios in order to consider these impacts:

  • What would the impact be to your research and sponsored programs if you had to self-quarantine for two weeks?
  • What would the impact be to your research and sponsored programs if more than one of your research staff had to self-quarantine for two weeks?
  • What would the impact be to your research and sponsored programs if MU advised all faculty and staff to work remotely?

Here are additional questions to help you assess how an outbreak may affect your research:

  • Are there any studies involving participants, animals, ingredients, or experiments that would be adversely affected? If so, what plans should be put in place to allow for them to continue or allow for them to be stopped and later resumed in the least impactful way?
  • What standing purchase orders or human resource issues might be impacted?
  • Would data collection/analysis/storage be impacted and what costs would be associated with these impacts?
  • What regulatory approvals will expire soon and might be impacted if they are not renewed? Can they be renewed early?
  • Are there any collaborators that would need to be notified?
  • What sponsor reports or deadlines are due during the next several months? Might you need to request a no-cost extension?
  • What notice might you need to give sponsors or regulators if the research is going to be paused or significantly delayed beyond a couple of weeks?

Additional considerations for human subjects research:

  • Is the location of the study remaining open and available for participants to be present? Has the location implemented any procedures to slow the spread of the coronavirus that will affect participation in your study or the ability of your study to proceed?
  • Does your protocol require in-person participation or treatment? Can it be modified for remote participation?
  • Does your protocol require in-person monitoring? Can it be modified for remote monitoring?
  • Should your participants be screened for coronavirus as part of your inclusion/exclusion criteria?
  • Would your data or results be affected if your participants had to self-quarantine or if they contracted coronavirus?
  • Additional considerations for environmental health and safety:
  • Do you have a limited number of critical lab staff with unique knowledge? Are there others in your lab who can be cross-trained?
  • 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 your 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 company?
  • Have you shared with EHS the locations and amounts of materials that are air, water, or otherwise unstable for observation in case of lab closure?

Will my proposal still be submitted to the sponsor on time amid a COVID-19 outbreak?

At present, proposals are being submitted as normal by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSPA). In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at MU, proposals will still be submitted timely. OSPA will have plans in place to ensure proposals will be submitted amid the COVID-19 situation by having staff work remotely.

Will my proposal still be submitted to the federal government on time if the federal agency to which I intend to apply is closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak?

At present, all federal agencies are accepting proposal submissions as usual. In the event a COVID-19 outbreak closes a federal agency that is currently accepting proposals, we expect the agency will continue to accept proposals; however, the proposals will most likely remain in a queue (e.g., within the system), pending resumption of agency operations – as has been the case during recent federal budget-related shutdowns.

How can I reach OSPA amid a COVID-19 outbreak?

In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, OSPA employees who are working remotely will respond to emails and monitor phone calls as normal. If for some reason an OSPA employee cannot be reached, OSPA’s central e-mail address, should be contacted.

Will I be able to get an extension on a proposal deadline in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak?

Most of MU’s sponsors do not accept late proposals, and if they grant extensions, they do so on a case-by-case basis. Given that OSPA may be working remotely, and thus operational, it may prove difficult to convince a sponsor that your circumstances warrant granting an extension. Faculty who are working on a proposal now should therefore plan on submitting by the sponsor’s stated deadline regardless of whether there is an active COVID-19 outbreak at MU. If you personally experience impacts from COVID-19, reviewing the sponsor's standard exception policies may be warranted.

Will my grant have to pay for project-related costs incurred during a reduction in operations if we aren’t able to work on the project (e.g., animal per diem, idle lab staff, etc.?)

In general, the answer is “Yes,” your grant will likely be required to cover the costs incurred during a reduction in operations -- provided MU would likewise require a nonsponsored fund to pay for the same cost in similar circumstances. Put the other way around, if the university would not allow a certain cost to be incurred on a nonsponsored fund during a reduction in operations, the university will not allow the same cost to be charged to a sponsored project. This practice adheres to the federal government’s Uniform Guidance (2 CFR §200.403) requirement that costs be incurred “consistent with policies and procedures that apply uniformly to both federally financed and other activities of the non-Federal entity.”

Am I allowed to pay myself or staff who may be quarantined on sponsored funding?

Federal agencies are working internally on a number of proposal and award-related issues pertaining to COVID-19. We are waiting on further communication from our partners about these issues and will provide guidance as further information becomes available. In the meantime, please continue to follow all relevant policies and procedures and apply those practices consistently. Currently, salary should be charged in a consistent manner. If an employee's salary is charged to a sponsored program, then their time spent in quarantine can also be charged to the sponsored program.

I would like to conduct research relating to COVID-19. What should I do?

Check federal agencies for funding opportunities related to COVID-19. Then start the conversation with your dean's office administrators to ensure you are considering various aspects of this type of research.

Programmatic Impacts and Project Extensions:

All communications with external sponsors regarding project impacts from COVID-19 must be coordinated with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSPA). Please provide your OSPA representative any proposed communication for review.

Some research projects have a rigid timeline and we would have a scope of work timeline violation if we deviate from that. Therefore, there are concerns about a slow down or gap in activities or if staff may need to work from home.

Clearly COVID-19 is an extraordinary circumstance. If the scope of work demands a precise schedule in order to make an experiment viable, then the investigator should recognize and document instances where that schedule was unable to be met and the data resulting from that experiment may not be able to be used (or can only be used with certain cautions). If it is not the case that such precision is required for scientific reliability but rather needed for good business practices or to meet an agreed-upon sponsored project schedule, then it is anticipated that agencies will recognize the unique circumstance and be flexible if they can, including granting no-cost time extensions if needed beyond what the institution has authority to grant. Note that this applies to financial assistance awards; contracts requiring deliverables by a certain date may need to invoke their Force Majeure clause. If you are experiencing this issue on a contract, contact OSPA for assistance.

Should I notify my sponsor if certain project activities of a funded research project cannot be completed or have to be suspended as a result of COVID-19?

Yes. Please coordinate any communication to a sponsor with OSPA. Examples of impact include: canceling a funded conference, inability to conduct fieldwork because of travel restrictions, inability to meet the scheduled deliverables or aims/goals/SOW, absence of PI or key person for more than 90 days.

Will agencies consider longer no cost time extensions if needed to finish a project after disruption?

Researchers should document the actual impact of COVID-19 on the progress of their grants to provide details for any future no-cost time extension request. It is not known at this time if agencies will consider longer-than-normal no cost time extensions, or multiple no-cost time extensions in this situation. For most federal research grants, MU has the authority to grant a first no-cost time extension up to 12 months in duration.

How will a pause in my research impact my grant expenditures?

Generally, there should not be significant impact to your grant expenditures. All other project-related activities that are not affected by a pause can continue as normal. Additionally, there should not be a significant disengagement of the PI or other key personnel from affected projects. If you feel that this will not be the case in your project, please contact OSPA. If the award is ending within the next 30-90 days (on or before June 30, 2020), you should coordinate any grant expenditures with your grant manager to ensure expenditures are appropriate/allowable on the grant and reconcile any issues prior to close-out.

I have a progress report due in the near term and my research has been impacted by COVID-19. Should I include information related to the impact in my progress report?

Yes. If your study is impacted, OSPA will provide you with guidance on how and where this should appear in your progress report (e.g., in Section F.2 of an NIH RPPR) and what information should be included.

MU and UM System Additional Resources

Refer to MU Alert for the latest updates and information regarding the MU campus.

Accounts Payable Shared Services: Links to FAQs and reference guides due to recent travel restrictions associated with COVID-19.

UM System 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Outside Resources

Council On Governmental Relations (COGR): COGR’s Web Page on Institutional and Agency Responses to COVID-19. Please visit this page first for up to date Agency Guidance Specific to Federal Award Impact, Institutional Guidance, Additional Resources, and COGR’s FAQ’s 

3/19/20: Universities urge U.S. leaders to boost science budgets by 15%, ease rules to cope with pandemic (Science) The U.S. research community is urgently asking the White House and Congress to take steps aimed at keeping academic research afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.  Four organizations representing the nation’s major research institutions and medical schools today wrote to Congressional leaders, urging them to increase research spending at federal science agencies by some 15%, or $13 billion, in order to prevent students and researchers in all scientific disciplines from going broke, to help closed laboratories re-start once the pandemic eases, and to cover other unanticipated costs to the academic research enterprise.

3/19/20:  OLAW’s Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care - March 19, 2020 (Recorded Webinar Now Available)

3/19/20:  Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations (OMB)

3/19/20:  Coronavirus lockdown: What I learned when I shut my cancer lab in 48 hours (Nature) Doing science during the quarantine in northern Italy has shown me that creativity needs connection.

3/18/20:  As Coronavirus Spreads, Universities Stall Their Research to Keep Human Subjects Safe (The Chronicle) A basic calculation governs research on human beings: How do the benefits stack up against the risks?.... That reality is prompting research institutions including Columbia University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and the California Institute of Technology to suspend much face-to-face human-subjects research.

APLU: A Message From APLU on COVID-19 & Public Universities

CDC COVID-19 IHE Updates: This interim guidance, intended for institutions of higher education, is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

COGR Repository for IHE Guidance: A collection of resources from various institutions of higher education, as well as select federal agencies such as NIH and NSF.

Department of the Air Force, Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFRL/AFOSR):  Guidance for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) No Cost Extensions

Department of Defense (DOD) has issued “Frequently Asked Questions for DOD Research Proposers and Awardees Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Department of Veterans Affairs; Active Contractor Guidance for COVID-19 response

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums) is closely monitoring COVID-19 and its impact on museums, libraries, and the communities they serve.  Some application deadlines have been changed for library services opportunities.  Updates will be posted at

COVID-19 Impact on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Cycle 1 GO Proposal Deadline; STScI, NASA, ESA, and CSA have decided to delay the proposal deadline for JWST Cycle 1 GO proposals to no earlier than May 27th 2020. We are continuing to monitor the situation, and will provide an update on the schedule on April 15th 2020.  For inquiries contact the jwst helpdesk.

Missouri Arts Council Resources and FAQs: On our website, you will find information on how this may affect your grants, how to get the latest information on COVID-19, how to create emergency plans for artists and arts organizations, and more.

National Endowment of the Arts COVID-19 FAQs: National Endowment for the Arts is focused on and closely monitoring COVID-19 and its effect on the arts community. We stand ready to assist our applicants and awardees in the coming weeks and months. COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): Immediate Press Release - Information on NEH and COVID-19. As developments with COVID-19 and its effect on our communities continue to evolve, please know that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is working to continue to serve the public and to accept, review, and process grant applications and awards according to our normal schedule.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

  • NOT-OD-20-088, Flexibilities for Assured Institutions for Activities of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) Due to COVID-19
  • NOT-OD-20-087, Guidance for NIH-Funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies Affected by COVID-19

National Park Service: Grantee Notice to Grantees March 19,2020

Naval Research Laboratory: Pursuant to maintaining a healthy and ready workforce in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the attached guidance.

NIH COVID-19 FAQs: General frequently asked questions regarding NIH proposal submission and award management related to COVID-19

NIH COVID-19 Resource Page: NIH information including NIH guidance on travel and meetings.

NIH Director's Blog: To Beat COVID-19, Social Distancing is a Must

NIH Emergency Updates: NIH updates on natural disasters and other emergencies.

NIH Flexibilities Available to Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by COVID-19: Due to the potential exceptional impact of the declared public health emergency, we want to assure our recipient community that NIH will be doing our part to help you continue your research.

NIH Late Application Policy: Due to Public Health Emergency for United States for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) there may be delays in application submission.

NIH Update 3/26/20: Responding to Frequent Questions on Flexibilities Related to NIH Funding and COVID-19.

NSF:  The National Science Foundation has issued Important Notice No 146 to the Community Regarding COVID-19. NSF has also issued additional guidance on NSF’s implementation of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum (M-20-17), entitled, Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations. NSF has implemented flexibilities authorized by OMB from specific administrative, financial management and audit requirements contained in 2 CFR Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards without compromising accountability requirements.

Any questions about the policies described in the NSF Guidance should be directed to Questions specific to a particular award should be directed to the cognizant NSF Program Officer. NSF is working to update existing FAQs and other resources to reflect NSF’s new guidance and will keep you informed on our website at:

NSF dedicated COVID-19 webpage: NSF has developed a new website for the research community with detailed guidance on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes guidance for awardee organizations, researchers and reviewers of NSF proposals. Please note that this website will be updated as new developments arise.

NSF COVID-19 FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for National Science Foundation (NSF) Proposers and Awardees.

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: NSF's Dear Colleague Letter with information regarding the RAPID funding mechanism as it relates to COVID-19.

NSF Education and Human Resources (EHR) Announcements and COVID-19 Guidance.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory notice to suppliers. COVID-19 Preparedness and Maintaining Laboratory Operations

Office of Justice Programs Guidance on Short Term Relief March 21, 2020.

Office of Justice Programs; Grantee Guidance and National Capital Region maximum telework posture

Office of Management and Budget; Updated Guidance for the National Capital Region on Telework Flexibilities in Response to Coronavirus

OLAW Disaster Planning and Response Resources: The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare maintains a list of resources and also has a list of FAQs, click on G9 to read about how to prepare for a pandemic.

OMB gives agencies more flexibilities when awarding grants for coronavirus research: The Office of Management and Budget is relieving some regulatory requirements for agencies awarding grant money for research on the coronavirus.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Given the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, SAMHSA is providing regular updates via this consolidated COVID-19 page.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Covers the most commonly asked questions about impacts of COVID-19 on NIFA grants.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has implemented the following guidance as it pertains to travel and the use of federal funds.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): Questions and answers related to Funding Opportunity Announcements from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy are located on

The United States Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity’s (USAMRAA): Supplemental Guidance for Grants and Cooperative Agreements in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic, Updated 3/25/2020

World Health Organization: Information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).