Research Exemptions

COVID-19 Guidance for Researchers: Research Exemptions

This page contains information about research operations during the University of Calgary's COVID-19 response.

Visit the Emergency Management website for general campus information.

** NOTICE August 31, 2020 ** 

We are pleased to share that we are concluding the Expanded Research Designation (ERD) process, effective September 1, 2020.

The ERD process was designed to enable researchers to continue their work while campus was secured. Now that campus buildings are opened and there are robust safety protocols in place, we are able to conclude the requirement for research exemptions.  

Visit the Guidance for Researchers page for more information.

Last updated: June 29, 2020

Apply for a Research Exemption: Critical and Expanded Research Designation

Faculty members may apply to receive an exemption to work on campus, in the field, or in the community. 

Applications must be submitted by a faculty member. Applications from students or postdocs are NOT eligible for consideration.

If you need to:

  • Conduct COVID-19 related research
  • Conduct clinical research where participant health may be at risk
  • Avoid significant data loss
  • Carry out contract work in which deliverables must be met

If you need to:

  • Enable students or postdocs to complete work on campus required to advance their program or appointment
  • Conduct time-sensitive research or activities on campus
  • Conduct time-sensitive data collection activities in the field or in the community


  • You must submit a new or revised form if the details of your work change.
  • Critical or Expanded Research Designation is required if you wish to continue working on campus or in the field/community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The University of Calgary may withdraw either designation if conditions change. Note that a campus shut-down may occur abruptly, particularly if an order comes from government.

Contact with questions about the Critical or Expanded Research Designation processes.


Working outside of your home

As of March 21, 2020, all members of the university community have been asked to work from home. No one is obligated to work on campus or in the field, even in cases where there is a Critical or Expanded Research Designation. Be sure that you communicate this point to your team, and support those who do not feel comfortable to work on campus.

 If any individual is feeling inappropriately pressured to conduct research, scholarship, or creative work outside of their home, they should contact one of:

  • Office of the Vice-President (Research) at
  • Dean of Graduate Studies at,
  • Or, if they prefer to report the concern confidentially, they can do so through the Office of Equity, Diversity and Protected Disclosure:


Postdoctoral scholars and graduate students

Postdocs and graduate students who are included on accepted Expanded Research Designation requests are required to provide proof of consent before returning to in-person activities. Please read more about the consent process for Postdocs and Graduate Students


Undergraduate Student Research

Undergraduate students are now eligible to be considered to participate in summer research activities on campus. Please read more about Summer Student Research


Field and Community Work

Research where data are collected in the field or in the community MUST receive Critical or Expanded Research Designation to continue. This decision aligns with several institutional, provincial, and federal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Suspension of research and teaching activities at the Biogeoscience Institute until June 30, 2020;
  • Suspension of activities and visitors at the Kluane Lake Research Station until June 30, 2020
  • Suspension of vehicle access to Alberta’s provincial parks and recreations areas;
  • Closure of national parks;
  • Various travel restrictions and advisories;
  • Various Indigenous communities taking steps to limit access to their communities.

Additionally, when health care supports are strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must carefully consider the risk of injury or illness in remote locations. We must ensure the safety of members of our university and members of our communities.