COVID-19 Information

FAQs for Researchers and Graduate Students

This section will be updated regularly as information becomes available. 

For all general, health and travel-related questions on COVID-19, please refer to the Government of Canada Coronovirus disease (COVID-19) website.

 

For Researchers/Faculty

What is the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the research enterprise?

Work in all research laboratories/studios and all fieldwork are only permitted after review by the Research Risk Assessment Committee, the relevant Dean, and the Vice-President (Research). Researchers are permitted to submit requests for graduate students and undergraduate students to conduct research/creative activities both on and off campus. Research that can be done remotely (i.e. no contact with other individuals) does not need to be reviewed.

Once the decision is made to relax restrictions, how will that happen?

Any removal of restrictions is occurring through a phased approach that is in-line with the provincial plans to reopen Saskatchewan. A subcommittee of the Council Committee on Research has been working on the guidelines for each phase.

Can I still hire student research assistants?

Faculty members can hire research assistants (RAs) if the student’s wages are being paid through research funding and/or contracts. Please follow normal procedures when hiring student research assistants under the CUPE 2419 Collective Agreement.

Who should I contact in the Research Office for specific questions about my awards?

If you have questions, please contact a research facilitator directly by email:

What support is available to enable me to work from home/remotely?

  • The University has developed a guide to Working Remotely, which you can access at the following link: https://www.uregina.ca/covid-19/faculty-staff/remote-work.html. The guide contains information on Accessing University Systems and Services from Off Campus with the programs you need in order for you to work effectively on your projects either individually or as a team.
  • All of the programs required can be installed by yourself, if you have your own personal laptop/computer or University one (APEA/Other). If you have any problem setting up your system, please contact: IT.Support@uregina.ca

My research is taking place on a U of R campus. What do I need to think about? How should I proceed?

Consider alternative procedures for ongoing projects that do not disrupt scientific merit and integrity (e.g. changing in-person interviews to phone interviews). If the researcher feels strongly that their research program must continue in whole or in part, they are invited to complete and submit a risk assessment form.

My research is taking place off-campus/in the community. What do I need to think about? How should I proceed?

The Province of Saskatchewan remains under a State of Emergency. Avoid unnecessary travel. Social distancing practices are needed in order to curtail the spread of the virus in the wide variety of spaces where we conduct research. Consider delaying the research or using an alternative methodology (e.g. virtual focus group, teleconferencing, and online interviews) where they do not disrupt scientific merit and integrity. If the researcher feels strongly that their research program must continue in whole or in part, they are invited to complete and submit a risk assessment form.

Should I delay or make changes to my research because of COVID-19 precautions?

Social distancing practices are needed in order to curtail the spread of the virus in our research environments. In light of this, you may need to postpone your research or change your methodology.

My research involves focus groups. Should I proceed as planned?

Consider using an alternative methodology (e.g. virtual focus group, teleconferencing, and online interviews). Phase 2 of the Return to Research Plan allows for some face to face meetings. If the researcher feels strongly that their research program must continue in whole or in part, they are invited to complete and submit a risk assessment form as well as a Research Ethics Board (REB) application.

Will I still be able to do animal research?

If the researcher feels strongly that their research program (field, lab or both) must continue in whole or in part, they are invited to complete and submit a risk assessment form. Consider delaying new projects if circumstances warrant it.

What will happen to the animals if research is restricted/stopped for a period of time?

The University of Regina has an unwavering commitment to ensuring animal welfare continues to be maintained at all times.

What if research staff are unable to perform assigned duties for animal husbandry and care?

If research staff are responsible for animal husbandry and/or care and are unable to perform tasks (e.g. treatments, feeding, monitoring), this must be communicated to facility staff immediately so that alternative arrangements can be made to ensure animal welfare.

Who can I contact if I have questions about my animal research?

If you have additional questions, please email VP.Research@uregina.ca

How can I prepare my lab to minimize hazards and potential disruption?

If permission to conduct research is granted, then researchers should work with Health and Safety to ensure proper protocols are in place.

Issues associated with COVID-19 are affecting my ability to undertake key aspects of my funded research project within the original timeframe and budget. What do I do?

The Tri-agencies and granting agencies recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect funded research, including delays to research activities and the submission of publications, grant applications, research and financial reports. They are being responsive in supporting the research community in adapting to these challenges. Adjustments are being made and will continue to be updated as the situation evolves, including a willingness to extend deadlines and reimburse costs from existing grant funds. Please visit the various agency websites regularly for updates that may impact your research:

If my own travel or that of a member of my research team has been cancelled due to COVID-19, will this be an eligible expense?

If travel arrangements in relation to a funded research initiative have been cancelled but purchased travel fare did not include options for refunds due to cancellation, and no cancellation insurance was purchased, the travel claimant must document cancellation and financial credit details.

The Tri-agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC including New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration funding), have confirmed that the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable considering the impacts of COVID-19. This applies to the travel of both principal investigators and research personnel. Please click here to see their March 16, 2020 message.

Researchers should continue to work with the Research Office to determine eligibility on other external funding sources. If a cancelled travel expense is not eligible on an external funds source, an alternative funds source should be identified and expenses re-allocated.

For Graduate Students/Research Assistants

What about experiments? Can grad students/researchers access their labs?

Research meetings will proceed remotely through means such as email, telephone, teleconferencing, etc. Researchers are applying for permission for graduate students and undergraduate students to return to research labs and to conduct fieldwork.

How does this affect my NSERC USRA and UGRAs?

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) and the Undergraduate Research Assistants (UGRAs) will be going ahead this summer as planned. However, the supervisor has to ensure that research adheres to all health and safety guidelines. Also note that researchers may need to modify their original proposals to ensure adherence.

Questions?

Please review these FAQs and if you still have questions or concerns, fill out our email contact form.

Government of Canada FAQs