Research-Related Updates Regarding COVID-19

Colleagues,

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.

As the local community cautiously navigates the current pandemic, MU is maintaining its phased approach. Please refer to the Office of Research and Economic Development’s research and creative works restart page for information and guidelines.

Safety is our number one priority at MU. If you have behavioral concerns such as lack of PPE, social distancing, and proper lab safety practices, as well as physical concerns, we ask that you complete the Health and Safety Concerns compliance tool to alert campus of these concerns.

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: October 12, 2020 3:06 PM


5-1-20 Research Virtual Town Hall Slides

5-1-20 Research Virtual Town Hall Recorded Session

 


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.

Announcement: NIAID strategic plan details COVID-19 research priorities Urgent public health measures are needed to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 

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.


RESOURCES

MOSourceLink®: Statewide information hub for entrepreneurs and business owners interested in starting or growing businesses, including COVID-19 resources  

Missouri Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): Training, business counseling and tips

Missouri StartupTree: Online community for university entrepreneurship

MU Extension: Resources for businesses, personal finances and agriculture

 

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 ehs@missouri.edu, 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.

Safety is our number one priority at MU. If you have behavioral concerns such as lack of PPE, social distancing, and proper lab safety practices, as well as physical concerns, we ask that you complete the Health and Safety Concerns compliance tool to alert campus of these concerns.

 

For the latest information regarding human subjects research, please refer to the HRPP/IRB section of the Research Restart page.

 

 

MU Animal Research
Guidance Regarding Study Activities – Transitioning Back after COVID-19
May 2020

All animal research is expected to follow the guidance provided by the University of Missouri Research and Creative Activities Re-Entry Plan, May 2020.  To resume research activities, your laboratory must have approval from your Department/Division/School/College of the Return to On-Site Work Authorization form found in eCompliance.  The ramping up of animal research includes resuming in-person activities within laboratories and animal facilities.  Animal research is subject to all the usual rules and regulations (e.g., following approved animal use protocols and maintaining biosecurity within Office of Animal Resources (OAR) facilities) in addition to any additional guidance given by the re-entry plan.  Some important dates and information are below.

Animal ordering will resume May 27, 2020 with priority given to laboratories that have an approved Return to On-Site Work form.  Animal orders from these laboratories must include an assurance that the approval has been given by copying the approval into the Delivery Comments section in the Topaz Animal Order form.  Next priority will be given to laboratories that have not yet received approvals to return but have a need to order animals to maintain a colony or prepare for future work.  Those needs must be described under Delivery Comments section in the Topaz Animal Order form.  When ordering animals, please keep in mind that our campus may revert to more restricted access to campus as described in the re-entry plan.  To manage animal orders and receipts, the OAR will review all animal orders.  Depending on the number and size of animal orders, OAR reserves the right to delay orders to assure that receiving the animals can be managed properly by facility staff.  For our rodent users, several vendors have implemented research re-start programs that include discounted animal prices and flexible order reservations.  See the links below for additional information.

            Charles River JumpStart Program for Academic Researchers
            Taconic Rapid Restart Program

These programs will need to be referenced when placing all orders to receive special pricing.  Please contact Erin O’Connor or Scott Korte for more details.

Animal Transfers- Animal transfers will resume starting June 3, 2020 and will be dependent on receipt of an Animal Transfer Form and proof of Return to On-Site Work Authorization form.  The Animal Transfer Form can be found on the OAR page.  The Return to On-Site Work Authorization form confirmation email can be attached to the email when submitting the transfer form.

Entry into OAR facilities: MU and OAR expects all animal research to include plans for maintaining the safety of research staff and OAR personnel while abiding by building, facility and workspace specific guidelines.  Entry into and use of the OAR animal facilities must be coordinated with the facility managers to assure proper social/physical distancing.  Scheduling will be handled by each facility.  Details regarding scheduling access in each facility can be found here. Any questions or concerns can be directed to Jeff Henegar or Dana Weir.

All of our animal research is essential.  We appreciate your patience and understanding in this unprecedented time and we look forward to resuming our important animal research mission.

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 grantsdc@missouri.edu.

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 Grants.gov 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, grantsDC@missouri.edu 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.


All research is expected to follow the guidance provided by the University of Missouri Research and Creative Activities Restart Plan, May 2020. A Request for Return to On-Site Work Authorization form should be completed by each individual requesting permission to return to the workplace. Approvals will be routed to appropriate approvers within a department/school/college and individuals will be notified if their return to work has been approved or denied.

Safety is our number one priority at MU. If you have behavioral concerns such as lack of PPE, social distancing, and proper lab safety practices, as well as physical concerns, we ask that you complete the Health and Safety Concerns compliance tool to alert campus of these concerns.

Human Subject Research
A Request to Resume In-Person Human Subject Research Activities is embedded within the Return To On-Site Work Authorization form. Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators have the ability to request research activities to be approved on a study by study basis for an entire study team or for select individuals. Multiple projects may be entered by the PI or Co-I and studies must be entered by either the PI or Co-Investigator. Other study staff are not authorized to Request to Resume In-Person Human Subject Research Activities. Approvals will be routed to appropriate approvers within a department/school/college and PIs/Co-Is will be notified if their return to human subject research activities have been approved or denied.

If a PI or Co-Investigator has already submitted a Return To On-Site Work Authorization form before the human subject subform was added on May 26, 2020, they may login to eCompliance and click on the form and it will populate with the information they had already submitted. They will need to indicate in Question #6 they are a PI or Co-I on a study and a new section will open up for them to enter project specific information. If the updated version of the form is submitted, it will replace any existing application that has not yet been approved. It will not remove prior approvals, just ensures new information can be presented for approval if it is submitted before an initial approval has been granted.

 

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.

COGR: We have created a new resource page on our website called “Institutional Resources on Ramping Up and Reopening.” Here you’ll find COGR member institution’s ramp up plans and reopening checklists.

OMB Memo M-20-21 Implementation Guidance for Supplemental Funding in Response to COVID-19.

AAI has established a COVID-19 Resources and Information page on its website to assist the immunology community in accessing essential pandemic resources, including articles and other information of interest to scientists and the public.

American Heart Association (AHA) – Research Insider April Edition 2020 - Important information for AHA Awardees, Applicants, Peer Reviewers and Fiscal and Grant Officers related to COVID-19.

American Society for Microbiology (ASM) announcement about a COVID19 Research Registry

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).

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) – FAQs to address and guide awardees through common questions and concerns.

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  imls.gov/coronavirus.

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.

MRIGlobal Presents: The Magellan Series - CONFRONTING COVID - MRIGlobal's six-week webinar series Read 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 Directors’ Blog: Rising to the COVID-19 Challenge: Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx)

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.

NEW> NIH Policy for Charging PPE to NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements as Direct Cost

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

NIAID strategic plan details COVID-19 research priorities Urgent public health measures are needed to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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 policy@nsf.gov. 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.gov/coronavirus.

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 https://eere-exchange.energy.gov.

U.S. Forest Service: Accommodating Interruptions from COVID-19 and Eastern Region State and Private Forestry Guidance related the March 19 OMB M 20 17.

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).