The information below is intended to communicate COVID-19 impacts on specialized activities within the CU Boulder research community, including faculty, postdocs, staff, students, researchers and partners. We will continue to add relevant information as it becomes available. This information is intended to augment the comprehensive campus-wide guidance provided at colorado.edu/coronavirus.
FAQs & Updates by Topic
- Research Continuity Guidance for Laboratories and Research Facilities
- Travel Considerations
- Office of Contracts and Grants / Funding Guidance
- Laboratory Facility Ramp-Down Guidance
- Research Involving Human Subjects
- Vivarium Considerations
- Research & Innovation Office Events
- Innovation & Entrepreneurship
- Venture Partners at CU Boulder
- Postdoctoral Affairs
CU Boulder’s coronavirus webpage has updated FAQs on: research, teaching and learning continuity and options for faculty, staff and students; athletics; and human resources guidance.
- Prioritize critical laboratory activities. Identify which research projects may be delayed if necessary
- Plan for having a significant percentage of your laboratory workforce out sick or unable to come to work
- Keep in mind that orders for critical supplies may be delayed
An important first step is to stay home if you are sick, and to communicate that request to your teams. In general, contingency planning could include:
- Identify essential personnel and ensure they know what to do in the event of suspended operations
- Remind personnel of your communication plan or create one if not in place, including sharing cell phone numbers, etc.
- Identify priorities in case of restricted access
- In advance, inventory and test to ensure remote access to files, data, servers, etc
- Prioritize experiments as appropriate
- Plan for the potential need to separate research animal breeding pairs to suspend breeding
- Plan for potential disruptions to research animal orders, imports, exports and transfers
- Plan for remote proposal submission
- Check travel restrictions before making travel plans
CU Boulder’s coronavirus webpage has updated FAQs that define Critical Services/Employees.
Guidance on institutional and agency responses to COVID-19 continues to develop. At this time, the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) is providing information on federal awards.
Researchers who can work remotely should do so. For those who have a critical need to be on campus, meaning where there is a risk of disruption, catastrophic loss or animal care requirements, should be listed with your department or institute as critical personnel.
Yes. CU Boulder’s indirect cost rate with the federal government includes sick leave and other paid absences that are permitted under university policy.
Unfortunately, we do not yet have an answer; we will let everyone know as soon as we do.
Researchers are not eligible for the 10% critical pay. It is being limited to those employees who handle the safety, health and support of our students. These individuals will be in contact with students on a daily basis and may not be able to adhere to social distancing at all times.
Effective Wednesday, March 11, the campus suspended all university-funded travel—foreign or domestic. CU Boulder’s coronavirus webpage has updated FAQs that address Travel and Study Abroad.
Additionally, we recommend reaching out to the conference organizer about the logistics of the event such as cancellation, relocation or virtual participation. If you are the organizer, you may wish to consider developing contingency plans. Follow the State Department and CU Boulder guidelines on foreign travel.
NSF is currently working with federal partners on a number of travel proposal and award-related issues pertaining to COVID-19. NSF will release that information and provide guidance as information becomes available. In the meantime, please continue to follow all relevant policies and procedures. As we learn more about other funding agencies, we will share that information.
The Office of Contracts and Grants is well prepared with the technology and remote work policies and practices to carry on business as usual remotely. OCG has been paperless with remote work structures for 6 years, so support for research administrators and researchers should be seamless and comport with our campus leadership's commitment to research continuity.
OCG staff is submitting proposals, accepting awards, issuing subawards, and addressing Sponsor, PI, department and other sponsored research needs, as usual.
If and when funding agencies issue COVID-19 related guidance, those updates are posted here.
The Council on Government Relations (COGR), an association of Research Universities and Affiliated Medical Centers and Independent Research Institutes, is compiling Federal Agency Guidance, Institutional Guidance and Additional Resources.
If your sponsor sends guidance to the Office of Contracts and Grants, that notice will be forwarded to you via email by OCG. Please contact your OCG team member with specific questions or concerns.
NIH issued a notice on March 16, 2020 stating that if unanticipated costs related to clinical trials or human subject research are identified due to impacts of COVID-19, and unobligated balances are not available to rebudget, recipients may request administrative supplements from NIH.
In general, yes, provided you remain engaged in your project. Current NIH and NSF prior approval requirements regarding disengagement from the project for three (3) months or more, and effort reductions of 25 percent or more, remain in effect.
Yes. Proposals are being submitted by the Office of Contracts and Grants and all staff are working remotely. Please give your proposal to your proposal analyst at least the standard 5 business days in advance of your submission deadline. More time would be greatly appreciated.
At present, all federal agencies are accepting proposal submissions as usual. In the event a COVID-19 outbreak closes a federal agency that is currently accepting proposals, we expect the agency will continue to accept proposals; however, the proposals will most likely remain in a queue (e.g., within the Grants.gov system), pending resumption of agency operations – as has been the case during recent federal budget-related shutdowns.
The Council On Governmental Relations developed a webpage that features comprehensive links to key federal agencies' COVID-19 operations.
Most sponsors do not accept late proposals, and if they grant extensions, they do so on a case-by-case basis. It is recommended that you check the Sponsor’s solicitation deadlines to determine if they have made any adjustments to their submission schedule. Some Sponsors are modifying deadlines for specific solicitations.
Given that most campus staff and researchers, including those within the Office of Contracts and Grants, are now working remotely, and operational, it may prove difficult to convince a sponsor that your circumstances warrant granting an extension past the published deadline. Faculty who are working on a proposal now should plan on submitting by the sponsor’s stated deadline regardless of whether there is an active COVID-19 outbreak, unless the PI is experiencing unique circumstances and/or personally affected. If you personally experience impacts from COVID-19, reviewing the sponsor's standard exception policies may be warranted.
With respect to proposal submissions, on March 9, 2020, NIH published the following notice related to COVID-19.
“When delays occur because the applicant or recipient organization is officially closed or unable to submit grant applications due to the effects of COVID-19, the NIH will consider accepting applications late, on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section 2.3.9, under the following circumstances:
- Institutions must submit applications or reports as soon as possible after reopening or resuming operations so that grant applications can be submitted, not to exceed the number of days the institution was officially closed or unable to submit grant applications.
- Institutions must submit a cover letter with the applications with enough detail about the delay so that NIH staff can make a determination whether circumstances justify accepting the application late.
- Institutions need not request advance permission to submit late due to this declared emergency.”
On March 10, 2020, NIH also published the following notice related to COVID-19:
“This Guide Notice intends to address general questions associated with proposal submission and award management that may arise in relation to COVID-19. NIH is providing this information as a service to our applicant and recipient communities in the hopes it will address high-level questions that may arise in this regard. Please note that given the fact that COVID-19 and associated impacts continue to evolve, applicants and recipients are strongly encouraged to monitor this website for updates. NIH intends to publish detailed guidance related to administrative flexibilities and associated FAQs.”
On March 12-13, 2020, NIH published the following notice and FAQ related to COVID-19:
NIH-funded researchers are strongly encouraged to read this NIH notice, which provides a number of important flexibilities for managing NIH awards during this public health emergency. Highlights include:
- Expanded use of allowable pre-award costs
- Extended due dates for Financial and Other Reporting (e.g. RPPRs)
- Waiver of certain prior approval requirements
- Allowance of certain costs that would normally not be allowable (e.g., stipends, salaries and benefits when no work is being performed on the project, cancelled travel costs, etc.)
This document provides clarifying answers surrounding the newly authorized flexibilities, particularly with respect to:
- Application Submission
- Delays in Research Progress
- Financial and Performance Reporting (RPPR)
NSF has a webpage for the research community with detailed guidance regarding COVID-19. This includes guidance for awardee organizations, researchers and reviewers of NSF proposals. Learn more
“In the event of a natural or anthropogenic disaster, or when NSF is closed due to inclement weather or other reason that interferes with an organization’s ability to meet a proposal submission deadline, NSF has developed the following guidelines for use by impacted organizations.
- Natural or Anthropogenic Disasters: Flexibility in meeting announced deadline dates because of a natural or anthropogenic disaster that impacts a proposer’s ability to submit a proposal to NSF may be granted with the approval of the cognizant NSF Program Officer. Where possible, such requests should be submitted in advance of the proposal deadline. Proposers should contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer in the Division/Office to which they intend to submit their proposal and request authorization to submit a proposal after the deadline date. Proposers should then follow the written or verbal guidance provided by the cognizant NSF Program Officer. The Foundation will work with each impacted organization on a case-by-case basis to address its specific issue(s). Generally, NSF permits extension of the deadline by up to five business days.
- To submit the proposal after the deadline date, proposers must check the “Special Exception to the Deadline Date Policy” box on the NSF Cover Sheet, indicating NSF approval has been obtained. A statement identifying the nature of the event that impacted the ability to submit the proposal on time should be uploaded under Nature of Natural or Anthropogenic event in the Single Copy Document section in FastLane. If available, written approval from the cognizant NSF Program Officer also should be uploaded under the Additional Single Copy Documents in the Single Copy Document section in FastLane.
- Closure of NSF: When NSF is closed due to inclement weather or other reason, deadline(s) that occurred during the closure automatically will be extended to the following business day after the closure ends."
With respect to proposal submissions, on March 16, 2020, the DOE Office of Science stated in a notice related to COVID-19 that: “If the lead principal investigator (PI) or the applicant institution are subject to a quarantine or a closure, deadlines for submitting pre-applications, letters of intent, or applications may be extended by no more than fourteen (14) days from the applicable due date.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services updated a broad agency announcement (BAA) on March 6, 2020 to focus specifically on products to diagnose, prevent or treat coronavirus infections. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) issued the BAA to solicit proposals for advanced development and licensure of COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines or medicines, such as therapeutics or antivirals. BARDA will provide funding, as well as expertise and core services to support development projects selected through this BAA. These products include diagnostic tests (assays); vaccines; therapeutics; medications to help regulate or normalize the immune system (immunomodulators); therapeutics targeting lung repair; medicines that prevent infections either before or after exposure to the virus (pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis); respiratory protective devices; and ventilators. Learn more
The National Science Foundation, as of March 4, 2020, is funding 20 research projects across the agency involving COVID-19. In response to the urgency of COVID-19 and increasing inquiries from the research community, NSF issued a letter to researchers inviting additional proposals for rapid response grants related to the virus. This letter welcomes research to help understand COVID-19, inform and educate the public about virus transmission and prevention, and develop effective strategies for addressing this challenge at the local, state and national levels. Support for these efforts is made through NSF’s Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism, which enables the agency to swiftly process and support research that addresses an urgent need. Learn more
The Department of Energy (DOE) is soliciting ideas about how the department and the National Laboratories can contribute resources for science and technology efforts around COVID-19. From the DOE:
“Through its user facilities, computational power and enabling infrastructure, DOE has unique capabilities that the scientific community may leverage for the COVID-19 response and recovery. DOE does not provide medical and clinical work; instead, the department's mission complements the efforts of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and other federal partners by helping to understand the scientific phenomena contributing to COVID-19, from the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease, to models that can mimic its spread. The department encourages researchers to consider scientific questions that underpin COVID-19 response and that the research community may answer using DOE user facilities, computational resources and enabling infrastructure. Any research questions that the scientific community may address with DOE resources can be emailed to SC.DCL@science.doe.gov.”
Yes. All IRB staff are able to work remotely and will continue operations as usual with the exception of office hours, which have been cancelled until further notice. The IRB office staff can be contacted via email at IRBAdmin@colorado.edu.
At this time, the IRB will prioritize Amendments to research studies that address changes required for COVID-19 protection measures. This means that other submissions, including Initial Applications and non-protection related Amendments may be delayed. If you are making changes to your study for COVID-19 protections, please explicitly note this in the HRP-213 Amendment Form.
During the current COVID-19 outbreak, changes to your research studies may be necessary to protect your study participants, your study staff, and yourself. Federal regulatory and CU Boulder Policy requirements must still be met during this time. Any changes in the ways in which you interact with study participants–to include in-person recruitment, Informed Consent, and data collection procedures–must be reviewed and approved by the IRB before being implemented unless the change is to eliminate an apparent immediate hazard to participants. Please note, this would be a very unusual occurrence at CU Boulder.
Be thoughtful and give complete information as to how you are providing updates to your study. Consider and address how you will update current research subjects if you are changing the procedures for which they originally provided their Consent. Ensure you submit all supporting documents needed to make these updates
Yes, we are reviewing new studies that will not start until the campus is operating normally again. We encourage you to continue submissions through this time so there is not a backlog when everyone returns to campus.
Requests for access to lab and vivarium space are handled separately, so to gain access to both, investigators must submit two requests.
- Requests for access to lab space must be approved by deans/institute directors and the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation. In most cases, department chairs are compiling this information for all users in their department, for submission to the appropriate approvers. Contact your department chair for specifics on how to submit these requests.
- Requests for access to animal vivaria must be approved by the OAR Director. To request access for lab members, send an email to Sara Hashway (firstname.lastname@example.org) identifying the personnel, the essential work that must be done in the vivarium, and as much detail as possible about anticipated timelines for work (number of days per week, hours per day, specific time of day, etc).
The university’s Office of Animal Resources (OAR) and Department of Environmental Health & Safety will maintain critical functions.
- Identify any research experiments or animal breeding that can be potentially ramped down, curtailed or delayed, should the need arise.
- Breeding colonies should be limited to maintenance levels only in order to ensure continued availability of valuable strains. If possible, separate breeding pairs that are not required for maintenance levels.
- Clearly label important breeding pairs at the cage level so that OAR staff can identify them in case further restrictions to the vivaria need to be put in place
- Labs should choose young breeder pairs that have had successful litters to help with ramping breeding back up as quickly as possible once restrictions are lifted
- A goal of 4-8 cages per line for maintenance is the recommended maintenance level
- OAR will euthanize unnecessary breeders for you, free of charge, in order to prevent crowds near euthanasia stations. Please contact your OAR facility manager for guidance on the best way to mark cages that can be euthanized. OAR has sufficient food, water and supplies and cross training of staff to cover normal vivarium operations in the event of a university closure (health monitoring, basic husbandry and facility maintenance).
- No new animal research studies until further notice. At this time, we will work with investigators providing justifications (see above) to finish existing animal studies at the earliest time point so as not to waste valuable animal resources.
- Animal orders from vendors are suspended. No new animals will be permitted to be ordered unless a strong justification is provided to the Director of OAR.
- Rodent imports and exports (suspended until further notice): While we can assure appropriate care for all rodents while under our roof, we are unable to ensure the same level of care during animal transport under these unprecedented conditions.
- Rodents in quarantine (normal operation): Currently, we do not anticipate delays in the release of current rodents in quarantine to research staff at the end of their quarantine period. We will work with labs regarding how to handle these animals when they are released.
- Rodent transfers (suspended until further notice): We will complete any transfers that have already been approved, but no new requests will be processed unless a strong justification is submitted to the Director of OAR.
- Veterinary technical services (no new requests accepted until further notice): We will continue to perform previously scheduled fee-for-service veterinary technical services, but will not accept new requests unless a strong justification is submitted to the Director of OAR.
- In the event significant staff shortages, only essential functions required to maintain the health and well-being of the animals will be performed, including maintenance of unique genetic lines.
- All biosecurity measures and PPE requirements will remain in effect to protect colony health. Any changes or modifications in standard procedures will be communicated with research staff.
- Research essential functions such as breeding and administration of experimental agents that are not able to be completed by lab staff due to illness or quarantine should be communicated with OAR as early as possible. OAR will assist with these as staff time permits.
We anticipate this event will be rescheduled for sometime in the fall. We will update this information as soon as a new date is confirmed.
The March 18 Frontiers in Energy Research Blitz is cancelled.
The March 19 Philanthropic Funding Workshop is cancelled.
As the university continues to monitor the status of COVID-19 and potential local impacts, the New Venture Challenge (NVC) 12 competition is in the process of moving to a remote format, hosted virtually instead of in person.
Stay tuned for more info to come regarding the New Venture Challenge 12 Championships on April 7.
For any questions or concerns, feel free to email NVC Director Sara Jennings at email@example.com.
The campus is encouraging employees to work remotely whenever possible as part of our efforts to enact social distancing and mitigate the spread of the virus. As such, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative team is transitioning to working remotely at this time.
For general inquiries related to innovation and entrepreneurship at CU Boulder, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently, the Innovation Station will be operating on limited hours until further notice as part of the university's efforts to enact social distancing and mitigate the spread of the virus. We apologize for any inconvenience and will be sure to update you on when we begin operating on a regular schedule.
For general inquiries related to innovation and entrepreneurship at CU Boulder, feel free to email email@example.com.
The campus is encouraging employees to work remotely whenever possible as part of our efforts to enact social distancing and mitigate the spread of the virus. As such, the Venture Partners team is transitioning to working remotely at this time and the office will be closed untili further notice.
As the university continues to monitor the status of COVID-19 and potential local impacts, Venture Partners at CU Boulder events (including those hosted by the Commercialization Academy and Commercialization Network) have been cancelled for the forseeable future. We apologize for any inconveniences and will update you if we are able to rescheduled our events.
For any questions or concerns, please reach out to Programs Manager Collin Bunch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OPA will update the postdoc community via the Doc Report if a new date is confirmed.