COVID-19 Response: Guidance for Researchers
This page contains information about research operations during the University of Calgary's COVID-19 response.
This page is for: faculty, postdocs, students, and staff engaged in research
Last updated: July 31, 2020, 11:06 a.m.
- We ask our campus community to continue working from home
- Buildings are secured and require key card access
- Only those researchers with Expanded or Critical Research Designation may operate on campus
- Researchers returning to campus must follow the UCalgary Re-Entry Protocols, and complete a Workspace Safety Plan with their Department.
Please review the Re-entry section below for information about exemptions for research, scholarly, or creative activities.
Email communications sent by the Office of the Vice-President (Research) will be listed here.
- 13 March 2020: Human Ethics Guidance
- 17 March 2020: Guidance for ALL Researchers
- 18 March 2020: Animal Care Update (secure)
- 21 March 2020: Identify Critical On-Campus Research
- 22 March 2020: External requests for COVID-19 supplies
- 23 March 2020: Postdoctoral scholar hires during COVID-19
- 25 March 2020: NSERC/SSHRC Grant Extension Requests
- 26 March 2020: Clinical Research during COVID-19 Response
- 1 April 2020: Seeking Study Coordinators to support COVID-related research
- 2 April 2020: Seeking Study Coordinators to support COVID-related research
- 2 April 2020: Clinical Research Fund (CRF) Rapid Response Fund: COVID-related grants
- 2 April 2020: CIHR Update: Spring 2020 Project Grant competition and extensions
- 9 April 2020: Resources: Collaborate on COVID-19 research activities
- 20 April 2020: Critical Research Designation webform now available
- 24 April 2020: Impacts on Early and Mid-Career Researchers
- 24 April 2020: Weekly Digest
- 27 April 2020: Please advise: have you concluded your Critical Research activities?
- 1 May 2020: Weekly Digest
- 7 May 2020: Disinfectant supply for critical researchers
- 8 May 2020: Weekly Digest
- 15 May 2020: Expanded criteria for research
- 15 May 2020: Weekly Digest
- 22 May 2020: Clinical Research Town Hall
- 22 May 2020: Weekly Digest
- 22 May 2020: Update from the Vice-President (Research)
- 3 July 2020: Research update: Undergraduate research, workspace safety plans
- 3 July 2020: Weekly Digest
- 16 July 2020: Funds available; Apply by July 24 for Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund
- 12 July 2020: Weekly Digest
- 30 July 2020: Biogeoscience Institute resuming activities August 2020
- 31 July 2020: Weekly Digest
Re-entry for the research community
Please review these steps carefully before returning to campus:
Secure a research Exemption
A research exemption is required to work on campus, in the field or in the community.
Read the criteria and apply for a Critical or Expanded Research Designation.
Understand the re-entry protocols
Familiarize yourself with the latest version of the UCalgary Re-Entry Protocols.
Submit your Workspace Safety Plan
Faculty members who receive a research exemption must submit a Workspace Safety Plan. Be sure to review the instructions prior to submitting this plan.
CAS login required.
Read the latest campus updates
Visit the main UCalgary COVID-19 Response page for the latest information for students, faculty and staff.
Summer research students
Clinical research settings
Lab and community research settings
Grants and contracts FAQ
Updates from funders
Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund
Research Guidance FAQ
A research exemption approved by the VPR office (Critical Research Designation or Expanded Research Designation)
Workspace Safety Plan approved by your Department
Any postdocs, graduate students, or undergraduate students identified in your research exemption application must consent to be on campus (these individuals will be contacted directly by the Postdoc Office, the Faculty of Graduate Studies, or the Office of the Provost, respectively)
If we are forced to further restrict activity on campus, Expanded Research Designations may be revoked, while Critical Research will be permitted to continue.
The supervisor (a faculty member) must submit an Expanded Research Designation application.
All supervisors who receive an approved ERD must complete the Workspace Safety Plan. This plan must include a description of safety precautions specific to up-close training and guidance.
See specific eligibility requirements for summer undergraduate researchers.
No. High school students participating in summer research programs will not be permitted in labs / on campus for Summer 2020.
No, you also require a research exemption. The research exemption provides the necessary information about the research activities to confirm whether this is the appropriate time to open your research workspace. Your Department Head will not approve your Workspace Safety Plan if you do not have a Critical or Expanded Research Designation.
University protocols do not require PPE to be used on campus. PPE that would normally be required for labs and other work tasks must be used in those situations. Note that the university has not made masks mandatory, nor should your Workspace Safety Plan make masks mandatory. Please follow the provincial guidance, and read the statement from the Cumming School of Medicine on the topic.
Please visit the Clinical Research Settings page for full details. Ensure you follow AHS site-specific guidance. Also consider whether there is any cross-over with university spaces/resources. Contact EHS at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marcello Tonelli, AVPR at email@example.com to discuss if you are unsure.
Guidance for all researchers
Please stay up to date with rules and guidance from the Government of Alberta and AHS.
If you must conduct research, creative or scholarly activities on campus, in the field, or in the community, review the research exemption section and apply for the appropriate exemption.
If you are working on Main or Foothills Campus, you can contact Staff Wellness at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to pick up disinfectant wipes.
- Be aware of current guidelines from AHS on how to protect others and yourself.
- Be prepared for the possibility of core facilities and other fee-for-service resources becoming unavailable.
- Be prepared for delays in supply chain, including shortage of Personal Protective Equipment.
- Be prepared for delays in services provided by vendors.
- If you returned from travel abroad after March 12, be aware that a 14-day self-isolation period is required upon your return. Check Alberta’s current isolation requirements.
- Even in cases where you have a research exemption, please continue to work from home whenever possible and limit your presence in research facilities and in the workspaces on campus.
- Maintain a 2-meter separation between active work areas.
- Any in-person group activities including thesis defenses, mentorship committee meetings, seminars, journal clubs, laboratory meetings and hiring interviews should be canceled or held as virtual meetings by telephone, Skype, Zoom or similar. UCalgary now has an institutional license for Zoom.
- Although there are currently no plans to close the university, this could change in the future with very little or no notice. Further, individual COVID-19 cases could lead to closure of University buildings with no notice at all. Therefore, please take measures to ensure that your unit is prepared for the possibility of a closure at the end of each day.
- Visit the ‘Working and Learning from Home’ website for information about ensuring you are set up to be productive from home.
- Think carefully before initiating new experiments: consider the time required to complete them as well as the cost and inconvenience if they were interrupted before completion.
- Unit leaders should consider communicating with each other about opportunities to mitigate the impact of illness or self-isolation, such as by sharing staff between units.
We know that determination of urgency vs. non-urgency of your potential research activities may not be straightforward. Furthermore, we recognize that you may have concerns relating to funding agency timelines.
External requests for COVID-19 Supplies
In the interest of efficiency and to avoid duplicating efforts, the Office of the Vice-President (Research) will be coordinating institutional contributions for requests from external agencies for COVID-19 supplies, including reagents and personal protective equipment (PPE).
If you receive or have received a request of any kind for COVID-19 supplies, please contact Eoin O’Grady, Manager, Laboratory Safety, with details of the request and any timelines associated.
Personal Protective Equipment
We are recording "bulk" stocks of PPE. If you have a stock of PPE items, please contact Eoin O’Grady with a list of the PPE items that you have, and the number of units.
There is now an urgent need for reagents for use in provincial COVID-19 testing. If you have any of the reagents listed below, contact Eoin O’Grady and Benedikt Hallgrimsson specifying the name of the PI, location and quantities available.
Reagents, Product ID, Supplier
- Magmax Lysis/Binding solution concentrate, AM8500, LIFE TECHNOLOGIES
Magmax Wash Buffer 1, AM8504, LIFE TECHNOLOGIES
5X Magmax RNA beads, AMB18365, LIFE TECHNOLOGIES
ABI Magmax mirvana total RNA isolation kit, a27828, ThermoFisher