FAQ - Impact of COVID-19 Closures on R+I Services 

Frequently Asked Questions

General

 

Are you open?

The University is operational, although on-campus activities are very limited, including the physical offices of Research and Innovation (R+I). R+I has moved its functions to online and phone-based platforms. All R+I units therefore will continue to provide regular services remotely in support of the University research community. This applies to the Office of the Vice-Principal (R+I), Office of Sponsored Research, Office of Innovation and Partnerships, Ethics and Compliance Office, and Strategic Initiatives.

 

What is the best way to stay in touch?

We will update the FAQs frequently over the next few weeks. Please consult it on a regular basis. At the same time, we will convey any urgent information via your Dean and Associate Dean of Research and, when appropriate, via the OSR Funding Alerts Listservs.

 

How can I reach you?

General inquiries and Strategic Initiatives: research [at] mcgill.ca.

Office of Sponsored Research: info.osr [at] mcgill.ca

Office of Innovation and Partnerships: innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca

Ethics and Compliance: animalcare [at] mcgill.ca (Animal) or deanna.collin [at] mcgill.ca (Human)

 

My research is relevant to the fight against COVID-19. What funding opportunities are available? *Updated May 27, 2020*

To learn about the COVID-19 funding opportunities currently available, please log in to the R+I Funding Opportunities database and select “COVID-19” from the options at the top of the page, or search for COVID-19 by entering this in the “Keyword(s)” field. You can also download a list of COVID-19 funding opportunities HERE.

 

How can I join the CanCOVID initiative to help fight COVID-19?

McGill faculty with relevant expertise are encouraged to join the CanCOVID  initiative, a virtual network of Canadian COVID-19 researchers, clinical collaborators, and healthcare stakeholders from across the country. The goal is to optimize Canadas’s collective response to this public health crisis. Please note that participation in the network is currently restricted to verified experts in COVID-19 research and response. If you are interested in joining the network, please click HERE.

 

I have developed an invention that I think could help the fight against COVID-19. Who can I speak to about getting this patented?

You can reach the Innovation and Partnerships team at innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca. They will be happy to help.

 

What are the COVID-19 related research projects currently underway at McGill? How can I view the list of McGill researchers with expertise related to COVID-19? *Updated May 5, 2020*

Visit McGill’s COVID-19 directory of researchers who have expertise in relation to COVID-19 and a list of COVID-19 research projects currently underway at McGill.

Information about regularly scheduled research funding programs

 

My group is working on a New Frontier Research Fund – Transformation program application. Are there any updates? *Updated May 7, 2020*

Updates to deadlines have been communicated to researchers. The Strategic Initiatives team will contact researchers regarding any additional updates. Researchers can also email research [at] mcgill.ca.

 

I have an application with the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) pending. What is the status of these applications?

For questions concerning CFI applications and/or activities, contact kristina.ohrvall [at] mcgill.ca (subject: CFI%20Inquiry) or nathalie.foisset [at] mcgill.ca (subject: CFI%20Inquiry) .

 

I have a grant deadline approaching. What can I do?

The Office of Sponsored Research and the Office of Innovation and Partnerships are providing all their regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Grants and Agreements Officer or your Industry Partnerships Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please consult the R+I Funding Opportunities database or email info.osr [at] mcgill.ca.

 

I just received an award and need to disburse funds. Is there any delay to processing of already awarded research projects?

The Office of Sponsored Research and Office of Innovation and Partnerships are providing all their regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Grants and Agreements Officer or for industry-partnered grants, work with your Industry Partnerships Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please email awards.osr [at] mcgill.ca

 

Is the office accepting applications for funding proposals for projects later this year?

Yes, the Office of Sponsored Research and Office of Innovation and Partnerships are providing their regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Grants and Agreements Officer or for industry-partnered grants, work with your Industry Partnerships Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please consult the R+I Funding Opportunities database or email info.osr [at] mcgill.ca.

Information about research activities + labs

 

Which labs will be reopened for research purposes? *Updated May 1, 2020*

As announced elsewhere, research activities are being progressively phased in at the University. However, all researchers are required to read and abide by the University’s directives for facilitating a safe and efficient transition back to on-campus research activities. The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) developed these directives in collaboration with the faculties. These directives apply to any activity that will progressively resume on our campuses. For the first stage of the progressive phase-in, currently set to start the week of May 11, the University will reopen the following buildings on the downtown and Macdonald campuses:

  • Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry Building
  • Wong Building
  • Maass Chemistry Building
  • Pulp & Paper Building
  • The Macdonald-Stewart Raymond Complex, including the Barton Building
  • Parasitology Institute

 

Are there any resources offered to help find solutions to safely reopen research core facilities at McGill and operate with proper social distancing measures in place? *Updated May 6, 2020*

The Canadian Network of Scientific Platforms is organizing on May 12-14, 2020 a series of three online workshops to brainstorm and collectively find solutions to safely reopen and operate scientific platforms during the continuing COVID-19 situation. Click here to learn more.

 

I have received approval to continue my research. Whom do I contact for services and support?

Facilities Management and Ancillary Service (FMAS) will continue to provide infrastructure services and support for approved research and activities on campus. To help them do so, we ask that researchers/Principal Investigators fill out this questionnaire.

 

What can I do if I have safety questions concerning my research lab during this period of research suspension?

For those whose laboratory research activities have been limited or shut down, we encourage you to take some time to review the safety practices in your labs. To learn about safety-related administrative tasks that can be completed even if you are away from the laboratory, please read this message from Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).

 

I had a CFI-project involving a construction or renovation component. What can I expect to happen? *Updated May 7, 2020*

Construction and renovation will gradually resume on campus. We will provide updates as they are available.

For any questions about your CFI project or upcoming applications, please do not hesitate to contact Nathalie Foisset, Associate Director, Strategic Initiatives, Research and Innovation, at nathalie.foisset [at] mcgill.ca.

For specific questions about CFI-related renovation, you may also want to contact Anaëlle Perez, Senior Project Planner, Laboratory and Research Facilities, Facilities Management and Ancillary Services, at anaelle.perez [at] mcgill.ca.

 

 

According to the terms of an agreement, data is only supposed to be used on the premises of the university or in accordance with specific data security requirements. How should I avoid a breach of McGill obligations while working remotely due to COVID-19 situation?

a) If there is technological solution that enables the research to continue in accordance with all data security obligations (i.e., in the research protocol, contract, informed consent documents, etc.), you may continue to access the data with the understanding that McGill IT has not modified any configuration compared to previously available services. If you were previously accessing your research equipment remotely from another computer (McGill or personal) in accordance with your data security obligations, you should know that nothing has change. If you were previously accessing from a McGill computer and are now using a personal computer, you should reconfirm the specific obligations defined to ensure if the use of such equipment complies with the requirements. However, if the protocol mentions or states that data is to be accessed or processed on a secure computer and has no specific or additional restrictions (encryption, McGill-owned device, etc.), you should ensure that your personal computer is compliant with the guidance provided in the IT Work remotely website.

b) If specific security requirements are indicated in the agreement, you should interrupt your research. Or, if you doubt using a personal computer is acceptable, submit your specific case to the itsupport [at] mcgill.ca (IT Service Desk) for review and guidance. However, IT has limited capacity to review individual and specific requirements, and they therefore ask that cases escalated are only “critical and urgent in nature,” i.e. driven by imminent deadline, risk of data loss, etc.

c) Eurostat: Access to European Microdata: According to the terms of use of confidential data, it is only allowed to access the European microdata (scientific use files) in the premises of your organisation. However, in these excep­tional times, it is possible for you to request permission to work with the scientific use files from your home environment, provided that:

· Due to the Coronavirus pandemic you are obliged to work from home;

· Your organisation has a safe remote access VPN or similar connection for teleworking which can be used for microdata access.

A request for permission should be sent by the principal researcher of the project to estat-microdata-access [at] ec.europa.eu (Eurostat’s microdata team)

Information from funding agencies

 

What are the Canadian federal funding agencies doing during this situation? *Updated May 1, 2020*

The Tri-Agencies issued this statement about their operations on March 16. For information about individual funding programs and competitions, please consult the website of the relevant agency. It will have the most up-to-date information. Program-specific details concerning adjustments to the deadlines and other COVID-19 information, can be found here:

NSERC website

SSHRC website

CIHR website

CFI website

Check those pages often because further updates will be made as they become available.

 

What are the provincial funding agencies (Quebec) doing during this situation?

Regarding Quebec agencies, please refer regularly to FRQ page for COVID-19: measures and funding.

 

The federal government, Tri-Agency and FRQ announced some grant extensions due to COVID-19. How is this implemented at McGill? *Updated May 19,2020*

Please read how McGill is implementing some Tri-Agency and FRQ grant extensions due to COVID-19 (as of May 15, 2020). This document aims to summarize how announcements from the federal granting councils on various dates in April, 2020 (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC), the announcement from the federal government on April 22, 2020 titled “Support for students and new grads affected by COVID-19”, May 15, 2020 titled  “Prime Minister announces support for research staff in Canada” and announcements from the FRQ may mitigate the effects of the research closure on research grants, and, in turn, on principal investigator support for research trainees and staff at McGill.

 

What are US funding agencies doing during this situation?

For information about US Federal agencies, please refer to COGR's FAQs and Resources on COVID-19's Impact to Federal Awards or this summary of all US federal agency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact on research with animals + humans

 

My research involves animals. How will the campus closures affect my work?

The campus is closed so no animal related procedures can be performed in research labs or animal facilities except if:

  • It received an exemption from the Dean or Associate Dean;
  • It is related to COVID-19;
  • It is with wildlife off campus or at another facility.

Also, some of the protocols and amendments require practical training of research staff, which is currently not available at McGill facilities,

There will be no lab or animal facility inspections performed during campus closure.

Contact the Dean or Associate Dean of Research for your Faculty for all issues related to your labs and how to ramp down your research.

 

My animal protocols will be expiring soon. What can I do?

Animal protocol review and approval proceed online as usual. Protocols under McGill Animal Care Committees that were due to expire in March and April, but not already in progress, have all been granted a three-month extension on the expiration date. Darwin software user support continues.

 

What is the University doing for animals during the closure? Who will be taking care of them?

Animal facilities give essential services to animals currently in place to ensure clinical and husbandry care. Minimal mice colony breeding continues to maintain valuable strains.

 

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

If you have questions or concerns, please email animalcare [at] mcgill.ca.

 

My research involves working with human participants. How will campus closures affect the ethics review process?

The Research Ethics Board (REB) office continues to maintain all regular services, to the best of their ability, remotely and/or virtually. Turnaround time for some reviews may be delayed, as Faculty who are also REB members are busy dealing with changes to their teaching and research responsibilities. Requests for just-in-time research directly related to COVID-19 will be prioritized and dealt with as efficiently as possible. For more details about changes to projects involving human participants, please click HERE. Please also check the REB website.

 

Can I continue to submit new, renewal and amendment requests for research involving human participants?

Yes, all types of submissions continue to be accepted as per the regular submission process. New applications involving the study of COVID-19 and amendments including COVID-19 research questions will receive priority consideration.

 

How will the campus closures affect my ongoing research that involves in-person interaction with human participants?

As per University directives, all on campus or any in-person interactions with research participants is not permitted until further notice. Consult with the relevant REB for consideration of any proposed exceptional circumstances. Contact your Dean or Associate Dean of Research of your Faculty for additional directives concerning your labs and continuance of research.

 

Whom can I contact if I have other questions about the ethics review process for research involving human participants?

For inquiries related to REBs1,2,3,4 please send inquiries to deanna.collin [at] mcgill.ca or lynda.mcneil [at] mcgill.ca.

For inquiries related to the Faculty of Medicine ethics board, please contact ilde.lepore [at] mcgill.ca.

Working with industry partners

 

I have an industry partnership grant deadline approaching. Will the Innovation and Partnerships (I+P) office still provide assistance in preparing my application?

I+P is providing all regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Industry Partnership Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please email innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca.

 

Is the office accepting applications for funding proposals for projects later this year?

Yes, I+P is providing its regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Industry Partnership Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please email innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca.

 

I have a patent application deadline approaching. What can I do?

I+P is providing all its regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Technology Transfer Manager, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please email innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca.

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