VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Research guidelines March 17th

March 17th, 2020 update

The following information is intended to provide faculty members with considerations for conducting and restricting current research activities. The following guidelines should be used to develop an individual research continuation or slowdown plan and to ensure coordinated communications with those involved at the institution. Please note that there may be additional updates or changes as things evolve. Future changes will be updated on this site and shared in the University Relations daily updates.

These guidelines will be updated frequently as information from Tri-Agencies and other sources is made available.

1. Principal Investigators

Principal Investigators should work immediately to develop a research plan that adheres to changes in access to campus and the need to maintain “social distancing” and other protocols for slowing the spread of Covid-19. This changes will include disruption to research activities both on campus and in the field.

  • We are asking that you develop your plans and discuss them with your Dean and as needed, the Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity Office (SRCA Office –

2. External Funding Sources, Deadlines and Deliverables:

  • If you hold a tri-agency grant, please review this notice sent March 16, 2020 and observe notices from each agency.  NSERC - SSHRC - CIHR
  • If you are undertaking contract based work and have deadlines or pending deliverables that may be interrupted, connect directly with your funders to explore approval for delayed deliverables and informal end date extensions, where needed and appropriate.  Written confirmation from the funder should be forwarded to the SRCA Office so we can record these in our files. If our current fiscal year-end is impacted in any way (e.g. project was to end March 31st we need to know so we can direct finance appropriately.
  • It is important to note that some changes may require Contract Amendments, so notify the SRCA Office as soon as possible. If a formal extension is required, funders will need to be patient to allow our contracts facilitator time to respond.
  • Based on type of funding, what is outstanding, and needs to be done or moved forward, faculty may be asked to develop revised work plans for external funders.

3. Internal Grants/Travel Awards

  • Please observe VIU notifications on travel and federal travel advisories. It is highly advisable to limit travel for meetings, data collection and knowledge mobilization for the foreseeable future and identify alternate modes of communication.
  • The SHARE grants for travel funding will be adjudicated at the end of March but faculty receiving funds should delay booking travel as long as possible. If you have incurred a cost for non-refundable travel for a SHARE grant, you will still be reimbursed.
  • Use of funds for travel canceled within this fiscal year can be extended if the event is being rescheduled into next year.

4. Research Involving Human Subjects

  • Investigators are encouraged to consider if their research protocols should be modified or delayed, to limit personal contact
  • In-person participant interactions should be reduced and/or replaced with telephone or online communication where possible
  • Faculty supervising graduate students should work with them to identify contingency plans for any work involving human subjects.
  • Please see REB Guidance during COVID-19 Outbreak for more information.

5. Research Involving Animals

Emergency planning is underway to ensure our animal care services are able to continue as they are essential services.

  • Please avoid all non-essential animal use activity
  • Please follow directives from the Animal Care Committee (ACC) and ensure any required amendments to your protocol are communicated to the ACC immediately.
  • Please Refer to CCAC for updates
  • Please ensure active communication with the Animal Care Committee and monitor changes on the ACC website.
  • Ensure you discuss your plans with your Dean and, if Science and Technology facilities are involved, Carl Butterworth.

6. Lab/Research Experiments:

  • Any ongoing tests, procedures etc. that can be interrupted should be considered
  • For any work that needs to be conducted during the next few weeks, please talk with your Chair and Dean to develop a plan for ongoing access.

7. Labs/facilities: (on campus and remote):

  • Faculty are asked to not start new lab experiments until further notice
  • Faculty are asked to determine what can be shut down, what needs to be monitored (and by whom) and to communicate their plans with their Chair, Dean and if using VIU science and technology centers, Carl Butterworth.
  • Faculty should consider the use of virtual meetings for research teams
  • Review facility protocols for disinfecting surfaces to reduce the risk of surface transmission; this would include, but is not limited to, lab benches, fume hoods, instrumentation panels, taps, etc.
  • For remote fieldwork or attending to work at off site research facilities, special considerations may be needed. Please connect with your Chair and Dean and if relevant, the SRCA Office to assist with any arrangements for off-site activities.
  • If your research involves external partners, you will also need to work with host institutions and any procedures they may have in place.

8. Research Support Staff:

  • Research Staff, including students need to be advised of any changes to work (HR protocols should be followed).
  • For work that can be done remotely, develop and communicate these plans to all members of your research team.

9. Research Materials/Supplies

  • All efforts should be made to limit unnecessary deliveries.
  • Shipping and receiving functions will remain open. Please ensure you connect with suppliers or others if there is to be interruptions.
  • Please also notify shipping/receiving if there are any special circumstances with respect to shipments and delivery locations.

For any other question, please connect with the SRCA Office at