Updates regarding COVID-19

Below is the current update on research activities at the Faculty of Medicine. The most recent version of this document and additional updates will be available on the Research Office COVID-19 webpage.

 

 

May 21st, 2020 Update

Return to Research Planning for Faculty of Medicine uOttawa:

The Faculty of Medicine has begun planning to support a progressive and phased approach to return to research for Roger Guindon Hall and Peter Morand sites. Each Faculty has been tasked with developing their own approach that matches the needs of their researchers while adhering to the guiding principals of the COVID-19 uOttawa Research Restart Taskforce (RRT) chaired by the Office of the VP-Research (OVPR).

The Faculty of Medicine Return-to-Research Committee (R2R) met on May 7th and May 19th 2020 to discuss possible scenarios for the first phase of return to research.  The R2R Committee was composed of stakeholders from across our research community including faculty from all basic science departments, faculty of health sciences, research services, and trainees.  Guiding principals that emerged for the remobilization of operational and research activities are:

Adherence to Government and Institutional Directives: All applicable local, provincial and federal public health directives, guidelines and direction from uOttawa, will be diligently followed.

Safety: The health and wellbeing of our uOttawa Faculty of Medicine community is a priority above all other considerations as we restart research operations. This includes incorporating newly accepted norms of hygiene, physical distancing and use of PPE in all areas of research to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Equity: The phased in approach selected must be equitable to all research teams and adequately supported by research services and facilities. 

Monitoring: The Faculty of Medicine and uOttawa will establish monitoring procedures to ensure new safety measures are being followed, with the authority to restrict onsite access privileges of individuals and/or labs in the event of non-compliance.

The R2R committee and Basic Science Chairs have been consulted regarding the tentative Faculty of Medicine Phase 1 proposal, which is in alignment with the phased approach of the RRT.  This approach is presently based on the on-site capacity of staff/trainees/faculty PER DAY and must take into account staff in research services necessary to support researchers and ensure an environment that is as safe as possible.  

Currently ≤ 10%

Phase 1 33% 

Phase 2 67%  

Phase 3 90% 

Back to normal 100% - only when Covid19 pandemic is officially complete.  

This phased approach enables Principal Investigators to ramp-up projects in order of priority within their labs, and importantly, adjust their workflows and work areas to ensure compliance with recommended safety measures.

Details on the plan, including implementation dates, training requirements and specific process, will be communicated to the RGN and PM research community as soon as it is approved by the COVID-19 uOttawa Research Restart Taskforce (RRT) chaired by the Office of the VP-Research and broader institutional guidelines and recommendations have been finalized and officially communicated to Faculties.

We want to assure you that the Research Office is presently working with all the onsite research services needed to support research including the office of health and safety, core facilities, facilities and MediStore to ensure we are prepared for a smooth and efficient transition to resume research for all our research teams on site.

(Please note: Research Institutes and affiliated hospitals are developing their own plans and research teams should consult their respective institutions for direction)

 

MediStore Update - Research Reintegration

In preparation for research reintegration, Procurement and Logistics is now allowing all laboratories to submit requisitions via Medistore for non-perishable items exclusively, until onsite lab activities resume.  

Excluded from general ordering until lab reintegration:

  • Equipment 
  • Gas cylinders
  • Perishables

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Faculty has secured and acquired important quantities of PPE supplies in order to accommodate all staff members, working in research or in service points, where the usage of PPE is mandatory.

  • COVID-19 PPE 

Designated to provide a barrier to help prevent potential exposure to infectious disease. COVI-19 PPE is provided by the Faculty of Medicine at no additional charges. 

  • Procedural Masks
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • RESEARCH PPE 

Designated to protect workers from workplace hazards that could lead to illness or injuries. Research PPE has been purchased in large quantities to prevent shortages, unusual delays and drastic price increase.  These supplies shall be purchased using a FOAP. 

  • Gloves
  • Ethanol
  • N95 Masks
  • Empty spray bottles

Additional supplies shall be added upon demand.

Until further notice, these items will not be processed for individual laboratories or offices.  Procurement and Logistics, in collaboration with the Faculty Research Office are working on regulating  PPE allocation and developing clear guidelines.  Further information will be communicated shortly.

 

May 20th, 2020 Update

Financial support for Research Staff   

All Canadian universities and health research institutes that are eligible for funding through the three federal granting agencies (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR) and ineligible for other COVID-19 emergency wage measures, will be able to access support through this temporary program. The funding will be delivered as a block grant, so institutions can access help quickly to address their most pressing needs.

For questions, please contact:

Human Resources: Melanie Miles (melanie.miles@uottawa.ca)

Research Management Services : Paul Bélanger (Paul.Belanger@uottawa.ca)

 

May 13th, 2020 Update

Return to Research Planning:

While complying with health and safety requirements and in accordance with the Province of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening Our Province, the University of Ottawa and Faculty of Medicine have begun planning to support a progressive and phased approach to return to research for Roger Guindon Hall and Peter Morand sites. The Return-to-Research Committee met for the first time last week to discuss possible scenarios for the first phase of return to research.  Importantly two key guiding principals emerged for the remobilization of operational and research activities:

  • Plans will place the health and wellbeing of our uOttawa Faculty of Medicine community above all other considerations and will comply with all health and safety recommendations.
  • The phased in approach selected must be equitable to all research teams and adequately supported by research services and facilities. 

As the working framework and additional details become available, we will consult with the broader research community.   

Reminder:  Onsite access to uOttawa facilities and research service remain limited to research staff and trainees who have derogations.  Access to RGN and PM remain on card-key access only.  

COVID-19 Alliance:

The COVID-19 Alliance is an initiative of the Faculty of Medicine and affiliated institutions (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, uOttawa Heart Institute, CHEO-Research Institute, Royal Institute of Mental Health Research, Bruyere Research Institute, and Montfort Research Institute) assembled in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

The purpose of the COVID-19 Alliance is to align policy and processes to rapidly assess and support new COVID-19 research projects that require onsite access to uOttawa facilities and research services.  Such projects are expected to contribute to urgent efforts to accelerate the development, testing and implementation of countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of the SARS CoV-2 virus and its negative consequences on Canadians and globally.

This process will remain in place until the Province and University of Ottawa initiate a back-to-work plan.

For more information regarding the COVID-19 Alliance and Derogation Criteria and Process, please see below:

Scope:

  • All COVID-19 projects that require access to onsite research facilities including Level 1, 2 and BSL2+ laboratories, on-site data access points, Animal Care and Veterinary Services and Core Facilities (this includes new projects and existing projects requiring extensions to their original end dates)
  • Research projects that can be done 100% remotely do not require submission to this committee.
  • For ALL projects, compliance must be obtained through appropriate channels.

Derogation Assessment Criteria:

The following guiding principles were created to facilitate alignment and allow member institutions to move rapidly to assess and support projects that will move forward during the COVID-19 restriction period. Specifically, new COVID-19 studies that require access to onsite research facilities including Level 1, 2 and BSL2+ laboratories, on-site data access points, Animal Care and Veterinary Services and Core Facilities, must meet the following criteria and follow these guiding principles to be approved for derogation to perform research onsite:

  • Have secured peer-reviewed funding and/or approved contracts specifically dedicated to COVID-19 research activities;
  • Have obtained appropriate approvals (E.g. Ethics), and have the resources (equipment, space) and relevant expertise to conduct the planned research;
  • Have submitted a biosafety application for COVID-19 associated activities to the uOttawa Office of Risk Management;
  • Where required to complete the research, the principal investigator must obtain written confirmation from the relevant core facility and/or Animal Care and Veterinary Services directors that services can be provided, with the understanding that at this time, core facilities are operating with reduced staffing and access hours and no face-to-face training is available; 
  • Research groups must keep personnel to a strict minimum required and should favor senior research staff in lieu of junior trainees.  If trainees need to be involved in the project, applicants must provide a strong rationale and clearly demonstrate how the proposed work for the trainee(s) will contribute to the completion of their thesis;
  • Applicants must provide a detailed plan that outlines how approved research activities are to adhere to increased security measures such as physical distancing (e.g. have no more than one or two people in the lab at a time), good laboratory safety and microbiology practices (e.g. wearing adequate PPEs, sterilization, etc.) and cleaning/sanitizing protocols.

Please contact resmed@uottawa.ca for the "Derogation to conduct new COVID-19 research" form

 

Application/Review Process:

  1. As relevant, all research teams must first obtain derogation approval their host institution (for researchers located in affiliated hospital research institutes)
  2. Derogation to conduct new COVID-19 Research forms, host institution approval (for institute-based research teams) and written confirmation from core facilities and/or ACVS must be submitted to resmed@uottawa.ca
  3. Requests will be reviewed by the COVID-19 Alliance Committee (at least once per week)
  4. Approved derogations will be forwarded to the Office of the VP Research for final approval and Notice of Decision will be issued to research teams
  5. Those approved by the Office of the VP Research will receive authorization letters confirming ‘Essential Employee Status’ and granting onsite access to personnel approved to perform the work

 

 

Update: May 8th, 2020

COVID 19 Research News, Updates and Related Funding Opportunities

 

Tri-Agency Announcements (SSHRC/NSERC/CIHR)

NSERC Active Discovery Grant Extensions (1 Year)

CIHR’s COVID-19 Page

CIHR Spring 2020 Project Grant Cancellation

NSERC COVID-19 Grants

NSERC – CREATE LOI and Steacie Fellowship Submission Deadlines Extensions

COVID-19: Impacts on SSHRC’s Policies and Programs- Update

NSERC Alliance Grants – Postponed Webinars and Workshops & New Resources Available

Tri-agency: Message on COVID 19

Tri-Agency: COVID-19 pandemic affect on various policies, programs and operations

Tri-Agency: Eligibility of Travel Fees for disruptions caused by COVID 19

Canada Foundation for Innovation

CFI Special Notice: CFI Activities are Continuing with Some Changes

Government (Including Provincial and Municipal)

•As part of the larger pan-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program is participating in a multi-departmental initiative seeking innovative solutions to help in the fight.

In order to assist in this effort, IDEaS has launched its first set of COVID-19 related challenges.

Innovators will have until June 23, 2020 to submit their proposals to the IDEaS program.

  1. Rapid response: Real-time insights for pandemic decision-making
  2. Scrubbing your scrubs: Finding ways to re-use Covid-19 protective gear
  3. Super sanitize: Cleaning sensitive equipment and workspaces

Prime Minister announces new support for COVID-19 medical research and vaccine development

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced more than $1 billion in support of a national medical research strategy to fight COVID-19 that includes vaccine development, the production of treatments, and tracking of the virus. This new funding builds on the $275 million investment for coronavirus research and medical countermeasures announced in March.

CanCOVID

CanCOVID is an expert network of Canadian COVID-19 researchers, clinical collaborators, and healthcare stakeholders from across the country. Canada’s Chief Science Officer mandated the creation of CanCOVID to expedite communication and collaboration between the scientific, healthcare and policy communities during the COVID-19 crisis.

Ontario Together: help fight Coronavirus 

The Government of Ontario welcomes help from businesses, researchers and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support the response to COVID-19. 

***Please note that researchers must submit through their primary institution. Please contact your grants office for application forms and more information on institutional submission process 

PANdemic THreat Response (PANTHR) Project

The province of Ontario is developing a new health data platform: Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR) Project. This new platform will hold secure health data that allows researchers to better support health system planning and responsiveness, including the immediate need to analyze the current COVID-19 outbreak.

•Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) – COVID-19 Update

Ontario Centres of Excellence – Program Extension Request. Please note that researchers may continue to pay students that cannot work due to the COVID-19 shut down, provided that the budget change is no more than $5,000 or they file a budget change request.

Ontario Genomics: COVID-19 Update

NRC COVID-19 Response

Resources Canada: Resources for researchers and clinicians fighting COVID-19 in Canada

Compute Canada: Support for COVID-19 research projects

Other

PSI Special COVID-19 Funding Stream

Weston Brain Institute Extended Program Deadlines

Mitacs Links Companies, Organizations, Networks and Researchers for COVID-19 Solutions

MITACS ACCELERATE

Mitacs is supporting academic researchers and their partners engaged in COVID-19 related research and development with enhanced leveraged funding and fast-track review. 

GENOME CANADA

COVID-19 Regional Genomics Initiative

Genome Canada leads $40 million genomic initiative to addess COBID-19 pandemic

Genome Canada has launched the Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), an initiative that will generate accessible and usable genomics data to inform our public health decisions in the time of a pandemic.

Roche Canada COVID-19 Open Innovation Challenge

Roche Canada is committed to working in partnership with the Canadian community to develop solutions to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

International Funding Responses to COVID-19

International Development Research Centre

European Commission

National Institute of Health

Government of the United Kingdom

Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals to Aid in Global Fight Against Coronavirus Pandemic

Pfizer Announces COVID-19 Competitive Grant Program

Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany) RESEARCH GRANT FOR PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS

 

 

 

Update: March 31, 2020

On behalf of the Faculty of Medicine, we would like to thank the research community for the tremendous efforts and sacrifices they have made over the past three weeks to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and to comply with public health guidance and social distancing measures. 

Faculty and University researchers, together with community donors, have come together with an outpouring of donations to support frontline workers, including more than 263,000 gloves, 24,000 face masks, 2,119 N95 respirators, and several hundred donations of PPE clothing (shoe covers, aprons, etc.). This remains an ongoing effort! We would like to thank these research teams for their phenomenal support along with a special thank you to Dr. Laura Trinkle-Mulcahy, the staff from the Common Equipment and Technical Core, and Gillian Lord for collecting, packaging, and transporting these critical supplies to the healthcare workers who need them most! 

Many of you have been ramping down research programs, temporarily closing labs, adjusting to remote supervision and moving educational programs online. This has presented tremendous challenges, and we are humbled by the resilience and selflessness you have shown with each contribution. We know this temporary closure impacts each lab, but not only will the global research community adapt to the situation, we will come out stronger, healthier, and more innovative. 

Despite this unprecedented situation and disruptions to research operations, teams across the Faculty of Medicine and affiliated institutes have met this challenge head on, with amazing efficiency and great compassion for their clinician colleagues battling at the frontlines of the pandemic. We will not forget the part you have played—and continue to play—in this all-hands-on-deck effort to save lives.

 

Update: March 23, 2020

Please see below for updates on the following:

· Clarifications on what may constitute essential vs. non-essential research

· What your lab can do to help (critically needed donations and volunteer coordination)

 

What can your lab do to contribute to the fight against COVID-19?

Donate critically needed items. The Faculty of Medicine in partnership with our regional hospitals are presently identifying critical items that may become urgently needed by our frontline health care workers. We will be organizing a coordinated effort to collect items donated by labs starting with the first identified items. Wherever possible these items will be collected by the Common Equipment & Technical Services staff who remain on site.

 

Items presently needed:

· Unopened boxes of gloves

· Unopened boxes of masks

· Unopened Hydrogen Peroxide

· Unopened Glycerol

· Unopened Isopropanol

· Safety Glasses

· Tissue Wipes

· Cotton Tipped Applicators (sterile)

 

We are also seeking the loan of any alcoholmeters.

If your lab is willing to donate any of these items please contact Techsupp@uottawa.ca They will work with you to identify the location of items in your lab and will pick these items up. Alternatively if your lab still has staff onsite, please drop off items to 4201 (Glasswashing facility). Please respond as soon as possible as we are attempting to provide the hospitals with a list of items we have by Wednesday March 25, 2020.

Coordination of Volunteers. We are presently working with our partner institutions to coordinate any volunteer efforts of skilled staff. In the upcoming days we will be reaching out to our community to organize a list of potential volunteers.

If you have any questions, please contact Gillian Lord, the Faculty of Medicine Covid19 Volunteer Coordinator – glord@uottawa.ca

 

What constitutes essential and non-essential research?

For greater clarity, we are providing examples below that illustrate what is viewed as essential versus non-essential on-site research activity.

 

Examples of essential on-site research activities:

· Maintaining animals that are not readily available commercially.

· Animal studies that have been ongoing for many months where to terminate the experiment may be considered unethical. (However, because of restrictions currently on ACVS surgeries and procedures, interventions may have to be minimized or cancelled.)

· Maintaining primary cells critical to the research program (e.g. iPSCs, stem cells) that are no longer viable once frozen down.

 

Examples of non-essential research activities:

· Culturing of cell lines that can be frozen down.

· Experiments of harvested tissue or genetic material that can be frozen/stored (e.g. qPCR of harvested RNA).

· Microscopy of fixed cells that can be stored.

· Any laboratory analysis of collected tissue, cells or other samples.

· Any new experiments whether in animals or cells, which can be postponed.

· Experiments in response to reviewer requests for publications or grants.

In alignment with Public Health Agencies recommendations, staff and trainees (e.g. TMM students, undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) must be offsite as much as possible and working from home. Trainees must transition to remote research activities such as data analysis, literature review, paper reading, manuscript review and article writing, thesis writing (e.g. introduction and methods section for early stage trainees) by Friday, March 27.

PIs and supervisors, are responsible for establishing approaches for their teams to work remotely. Mentorship for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows is expected to continue through online and other tools. It is the responsibility of supervisors to communicate expectations to trainees for the short to medium term. Lab meetings should be virtual using platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype.

When personnel/trainees who are required for essential research activities or for the ramping down of research activities must come to the lab, they must adhere to preventative measures such as social distancing (e.g. have no more than one or two people in the lab at a time), good laboratory safety and microbiology practices (e.g. wearing adequate PPEs, sterilization, etc.) and cleaning/sanitizing protocols.

We understand that you are concerned about how your research program will be affected. For some PIs, this includes worry about seeking tenure at uOttawa, grant applications such as renewals that depend on progress and preliminary data, grant budgets and institutional performance expectations. We fully understand your concerns, and we will work with the University and granting agencies over the coming weeks and months to find solutions to help our researchers and their teams. We re-iterate that public health has to take priority at this time and we support you in stopping all non-essential research activities.

This directive is consistent with many of our peer organizations across the world. It is also consistent with the current public health directive for school and other business closures.

We will continue to assess the situation on a real time basis and prepare for scenarios that allow restoration of research activity as soon as possible.

The situation is evolving rapidly and we ask that you refer to this website and the Faculty of Medicine's special website dedicated to COVID-19 for further updates.

 

Update: March 20, 2020 - 6:00 p.m.

Further to our communication of March 19, 2020, laboratories in Roger Guindon Hall and Peter Morand who believe they fit the category of critical or time-sensitive research can request permission for key personnel to continue working on site for a limited time by filling the form sent by the VP Research Office. Forms need to be received by the Research Office at the absolute latest by noon on March 24, 2020 to allow time for review prior to sending to the VP Research Office.

To clarify, the derogation request must first be approved by the Chair of the Department and your request to the Chair should include written consent from personnel or students who volunteer to do lab management tasks (email will suffice). The Chair will review requests and forward to the Vice-Dean, Research, with final approval at the level of the Vice-President, Research.

Please keep in mind that, as instructed, it is important to cease all non-essential, non-critical lab-based research on campus as soon as possible and by March 27, 2020 at latest.

 

 

Update: March 19, 2020 - 6:00 p.m.

Further to our communication on March 18, 2020, we wish to emphasize the necessity to cease all non-essential, non-critical lab-based research on campus as early as possible in order to meet the deadline of March 27, 2020 at 5:00pm as communicated by the Office of the Vice-President Research. By critical research, we mean urgent/critical work required for the preservation of irreplaceable samples and/or reagents as well as COVID-19 research. Laboratories in Roger Guindon Hall and Peter Morand who believe they fit the category of critical or time-sensitive research can request permission for key personnel to continue working on site for a limited time by filling the form sent by the VP Research Office which must first be approved by the Chair of the Department and Vice-Dean, Research or Dean of their Faculty. Once approved by Faculty of Medicine, requests will be forwarded through the Dean’s Office to the Office of the Vice-President, Research at: innovation@uottawa.ca. Please send requests no later than Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM.

All students (TMM students, PhD and MSc students, MD/PhD students and other trainees), Postdoctoral fellows and Research Staff should not be coming into the workplace. They should be working from home in following with Public Health Agency recommendations. Any work onsite must be with the intent of ramping down research activities and preparing for temporary closure.

Supervisors are asked to contact their lab members regarding expectations for immediate-term directives along those lines. Supervisors, trainees and research staff should agree on optimal teleworking procedures for research trainees and staff working from home. If remote access (VPN) is required to access a research drive to work from home supervisors will need to fill the following form from the Central IT site in order to create account for their trainees. This would then allow installation of VPN and MedMapDrive and access to research drives remotely.

During this time of uncertainty in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are worried or scared. This is a stressful time for everyone. Please take the necessary health precautions but also take care of your mental health. Reach out to friends and family and look after yourself and others. Social distancing is not equal to isolation. If you feel anxious, scared or have any other mental health concerns, please contact the Faculty Wellness Program by phone at 613-562-5800 x 8507 or by email at wellness@uottawa.ca. Here are some additional ways you take care of your mental health and well-being in the face of uncertainty.

The situation is evolving rapidly and we ask that you please visit the uOttawa coronavirus website as well as the Faculty’s special website dedicated to COVID-19 updates for further updates.

 

 

Update: March 18, 2020
 

Updates from the FoM Vice-Dean, Research & Innovation

Please see below for updates on the following:

  1. Update on Research Activities
  2. HR guidance
  3. Tri-agency guidance
  4. Statement on Cores
  5. Procurement & Logistics
     

Please visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies COVID-19 webpage for their updates.

 

Update on Research Activities:

As stated in our communication of March 16, we would like to reiterate that the goal is for all non-essential wet-lab research activities to be ramped down and stopped as soon as reasonably possible.

All non-essential laboratory trainees (TMM students, undergraduates, graduates students and Postdoctoral fellows) and staff should be working from home in following with Public Health Agencies recommendations. The exception is the limited number of personnel who are required for the ramping down of research activities and preparing lab infrastructure for temporary closure.

We ask essential laboratory staff and research personnel that remain in labs be vigilant in adhering to preventative measures such as social distancing (e.g. have no more than one or two person in at a time), good laboratory safety and microbiology practices (e.g. wearing adequate PPEs, sterilization, etc) and cleaning/sanitizing protocols.

Supervisors are asked to contact their lab members regarding expectations for immediate-term directives. Supervisors, trainees and research staff should agree on optimal teleworking procedures for research trainees and staff who will work from home. Depending on individual project stage, this might be a good time to start writing manuscripts, reading foundational papers, or conducting a literature review. If remote access (VPN) is required to access a research drive to work from home supervisors will need to fill the following form from the Central IT site in order to create account for their trainees. This would then allow installation of VPN and MedMapDrive and access to research drives remotely.

We would also like to remind professors who have not submitted their emergency contingency plans to do so ASAP and at the absolute latest by the end of the week.

During this time of uncertainty in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are worried or scared. This is a stressful time for everyone. Please take the necessary health precautions but also take care of your mental health. Reach out to friends and family and look after yourself and others. Social distancing is not equal to isolation. If you feel anxious, scared or have any other mental health concerns, please contact the Faculty Wellness Program by phone at 613-562-5800 x 8507 or by email at wellness@uottawa.ca. Here are some additional ways you take care of your mental health and well-being in the face of uncertainty.

The situation is evolving rapidly and we ask that you please visit the uOttawa coronavirus website as well as the Faculty’s special website dedicated to COVID-19 updates for further updates.

 

HR guidance:

Those who are able to continue their research off-campus should continue and supervisors should assign appropriate work to trainees and staff. For research staff who cannot be assigned remote tasks, the University, HR and funding agencies will provide guidance as they continue to monitor and evaluate adjustments to programs, application deadlines, reporting, and additional measures as needed.

We would urge supervisors to exercise patience until more information becomes available on measures to be put in place in response to the COVID-19 situation impact on research activities.

 

Tri-Agency Guidance:

CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC are closely monitoring the evolution and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and are taking action to support their grants, scholarships and awards recipients, as well applicants, peer reviewers and employees. They are also contributing to the efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and, like other organizations in Canada, are putting in place appropriate social distancing measures and other modifications to their business operations. The situation continues to evolve rapidly, and they will make further adjustments as needed.

Over the coming days and weeks, the Tri-agency will provide agency-specific information (program by program), as they continue to monitor and evaluate adjustments to program application deadlines and reporting due dates, as needed. These will be communicated by each agency, for each program, as they make those adjustments. Please consult the CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC websites regularly for updates.

The Agencies will continue to make adjustments and put in place additional measures. If you have already submitted a grant application, they will strive to provide you with a timely response; however they do anticipate that the coronavirus will have an impact on the ability of reviewers to participate in planned peer review activities. They will advise you if significant delays are foreseen. Grant and grant application extensions are part of the measures being considered due to the exceptional circumstances. The details for each program will be shared in the coming days.

Once again, the Agencies encourage you to regularly consult the relevant agency webpages for further updates. Please do not hesitate to contact your university administration or the Agencies if you have any questions.

 

Statement on Cores: 

Please be advised that in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Core Facilities are currently limiting all on-site activity to essential services. This means that all new projects will be suspended for the time being. Priorities will be given to on-going essential projects on a case-by-case assessment. Please note services available may change at any time. We suggest you contract directly cores to discuss your needs.

Autoclave and Glass Washing Facility. Facilities are operating with skeleton staff. There will be NO pickups or deliveries of glassware or sterilized items by autoclave staff. Our top priority is decontamination of solid biohazard waste (orange bags), which should be brought to the facility as usual. Sterilization (autoclaving) and glass washing will be done on a reduced basis, upon request. Fully trained users are welcome to do their own autoclave runs, as usual. If you have not been trained, you CANNOT use the autoclaves.

Technical Support. Our top priority is maintenance of shared equipment that is required for essential research activities ONLY. Users are reminded that they should NOT use equipment if they have not been trained on it. If you have need technical support or would like to report an issue with common equipment, please contact techsupp@uottawa.ca or phone our pager # 613-719-0317.

 

Procurement and Logistics: 

Medistore /Biobar will be moving to minimal staffing and orders will only be placed for essential research activities or those necessary to implement lab closures. Please note that many suppliers are slowing down or limiting shipments. For more information please check the Medistore dashboard for up-to-date information.

 


Supervisors are asked to finalize their own contingency plans if they have not already (as instructed in the Faculty’s statement from March 13) and non-essential laboratory trainees (TMM students, undergraduates, graduates students and Postdoctoral fellows) and staff have been asked to stay home Monday, March 16, as a critical social distancing measure. Starting March 17th and until further notice, all non-essential research activities should be stopped and no new experiments started. Ongoing experiments should be ramped down as soon as possible. Essential experiments (e.g. animal work and cell culture) should be slowed down if possible. All non-essential laboratory trainees and staff should work from home. We ask laboratory staff and research personnel that remain in labs be vigilant in adhering to preventative measures such as social distancing (e.g. have no more than one or two person in at a time), good laboratory safety and microbiology practices (e.g. wearing adequate PPEs, sterilization,etc) and cleaning/sanitizing protocols.

Supervisors are asked to contact their lab members regarding expectations for immediate-term directives. Supervisors, trainees and research staff should agree on optimal teleworking procedures for research trainees and staff who will work from home. Depending on individual project stage, this might be a good time to start writing manuscripts, reading foundational papers, or conducting a literature review.

During this time of uncertainty in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are worried or scared. This is a stressful time for everyone. Please take the necessary health precautions but also take care of your mental health. Reach out to friends and family and look after yourself and others. Social distancing is not equal to isolation. If you feel anxious, scared or have any other mental health concerns, please contact the Faculty Wellness Program by phone at 613-562-5800 x 8507 or by email at wellness@uottawa.ca. Here are some additional ways you take care of your mental health and well-being in the face of uncertainty.

The situation is evolving rapidly and we ask that you please visit the uOttawa coronavirus website as well as the Faculty’s special website dedicated to COVID-19 updates for further updates.

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