For COVID-19 updates and guidance, visit coronavirus.rutgers.edu. For research-related updates, visit ored.rutgers.edu/coronavirus.

Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19 Preparedness

PLEASE NOTE: We will continue to update the Frequently Asked Questions as more information becomes available. Last update - March 12, 2020

LABORATORY RESEARCH

How are graduate students and postdocs affected?
Research by graduate students and postdocs should follow the same general guidelines as the work activities of other university personnel, following guidance from UHR. However, extra flexibility should be offered to allow for individual circumstances (e.g. increased childcare needs, lengthy commute on public transportation, chronic health conditions, etc.). Whenever possible, tasks such as manuscript preparation, data analysis and writing of grants should be carried out from home.

Are group meetings or external research affected by the COVID-19 guidance?
Both onsite and offsite work activities such as group meetings, seminars, training workshops and community outreach involving gatherings of 15 or more persons are forbidden. Such meetings should be carried out remotely.  

How should Principal Investigators manage their research groups?
Each PI will provide his/her Chair or Director with the emergency contact information of personnel critical for the operation of the respective laboratory. Specifically, at least one person in addition to the PI should be fully prepared to carry out onsite oversight and/or safe shutdown of the respective laboratory and instrumentation should it become necessary. Emergency contact information should be posted on lab doors and large equipment.

How is undergraduate research impacted?
Research participation by undergraduate students should follow University directives for campus/class closings.  

How are graduation and thesis defenses affected?
Announcements regarding class completion and graduation events will be forthcoming on the COVID-19 website. Masters and doctoral defenses may continue as scheduled; however, they should include only the committee members and persons essential to the event. External committee members can participate remotely.

How do I manage delays in research projects? 
Keep records of any significant delays in sponsored project research and contact Research Sponsored Programs to determine whether the sponsor needs to be notified. Plan experiments carefully and consider the potential for disruptions in resources including staff, building access and supply chains.

RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION

Research and Sponsored Programs (Pre-Award)

If everyone is working from home, can we submit proposals remotely? 
Yes, Grant Specialists in Research and Sponsored Programs can submit grant applications from remote locations. The Rutgers Research Administration and Proposal Submission System (RAPSS) will remain unaffected and continue to be accessible from non-Rutgers computers through the RAPSS portal

How can we interact with the pre-award office if we are working from home?
We expect business to proceed normally. Your Grant Specialist will be available via Rutgers email or office phone, as calls will be forwarded. A list of Research and Sponsored Programs’ Grant Specialists and their department assignments can be found online.

Are there any pre-award functions that will be suspended or limited as a result of people working from home?
We anticipate business to proceed with limited interruption. Documents requiring a “wet” signature on a hard copy by the sponsor will be most be affected. Most sponsors accept an electronic signature or a scanned signature on their legal documents, which can be provided remotely. Documents that are sent via mail or other overnight service for signature may also experience process delays if further developments only allow mail to be retrieved occasionally.

If I anticipate decreasing effort on my project, should I contact the sponsor? If yes, how?  
If you anticipate a decrease in effort on your project(s) due to university closures, please contact your Grant Specialist in Research and Sponsored Programs to discuss the need to contact your sponsor for approval.    

Grant and Contract Accounting (Post-Award)

How can I get help from the post-award office if staff are working remotely? 
Your team member in the GCA office will be available via Rutgers email or office phone, as calls will be forwarded.  A list of GCA contacts and department assignments can be found online

If staff are working from home, how will this affect award set up?
Awards can and will continue to be set up remotely with no anticipated disruption.

If staff are working from home, how will this affect invoicing and financial reporting?
Invoicing and financial reporting will be done remotely with no anticipated disruption.

Will the post-award office be able to perform drawdowns remotely?
Yes, a process has been developed that will allow us to perform drawdowns remotely.

Are there any post-award functions that will be suspended or limited as a result of people working from home?
We do not anticipate that any of the post-award functions will close or be limited.

How can I handle expenditures on federal grants related to emergency planning associated with COVID-19, like fees incurred as a result of canceling travel plans?
These costs would be considered exceptions per the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It’s up to the federal agencies to review and provide approval on a case-by-case basis. Please speak with your grants management officers to confirm allowability as it pertains to your award. Also, you can refer to the guidance provided by the OMB

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

In the event staff are working from home, can I still submit my protocol to the IRB?
Yes, eIRB will continue to be available online 24 hours a day and the IRB staff will be monitoring activities. Our office phone numbers will be active and any voice recordings will be sent to the staff directly. All messages will be responded to in a timely manner.

Will the IRB Boards still meet if the University administration is working from home?
Yes, IRB members can continue to meet via teleconference.

Will IRB training still take place?
No. It is not recommended to conduct eIRB training remotely. Nonetheless, all training documents are available on our website. In the event anyone has questions or concerns, the IRB staff can be reached via email.

How can I get help from the IRB office if we are all working remotely?
The IRB staff will have access to their email. In the event that an investigator is trying to reach a member of the staff, our office numbers will still be active and an email will be sent with your voicemail recording. All messages will be responded to in a timely manner.

Corporate Contracts

How will corporate proposals be managed? 
Principal Investigators and departments should continue to submit corporate proposals in the manner prescribed in the proposal. If a corporate proposal specifically requires the attention of Corporate Contracts and/or the proposal requires the signoff of certain representations and certifications (e.g. corporate subcontracts to Rutgers), please continue to use RAPSS, which will function as normal and remain accessible from non-Rutgers computers online

What happens to the development and negotiation of my agreements if University staff are working remotely?
We expect business to proceed as normal. Contract managers are available via Rutgers email or office phone and a listing can be found online. If you aren’t sure who your Contract Manager is, please contact Melissa Matsil, J.D., Director, at 848-932-4462.

How can I get help from the Corporate Contracts team if we are working remotely?
We anticipate business to proceed with limited interruption. Documents requiring a “wet” signature on a hard copy by the sponsor will be most affected. Most sponsors accept an electronic signature or a scanned signature on their legal documents, which can be provided remotely.  Documents that are sent via mail or other overnight service for signature may also experience process delays if further developments only allow mail to be retrieved occasionally.

Export Control

What will happen to all the import/export reviews if the administration of these is taking place remotely?
We anticipate business to proceed normally and such reviews to be unaffected.

How can I get help from the Export Control team if we are all working remotely?
The Export Control team will have access to their email.

Conflicts of Interest (COI) and Research Misconduct

Can I still submit my COI information?
Yes, the electronic platform, eCOI, will be available for you to use online, with email support available via the eCOI site.

What will happen to research misconduct inquiries and investigations, both ongoing and new ones?
Current research misconduct inquiries and investigations will continue as usual. New allegations of research misconduct will be handled as usual via the process described on our website.

How can I get help from the Responsible Conduct of Research team if we are all working remotely?
The team will have access to their email, and they will be checking their office phone messages. Moreover, information about Responsible Conduct of Research at Rutgers, along with contact information, is available online.

ANIMAL CARE

Frequently Asked Questions related to Animal Care's emergency preparedness in response to COVID-19 can be found on animalcare.rutgers.edu