- Research Reactivation Blog
- Rice COVID-19 Research website
- Rice University Coronavirus update (March 25)
- Message from Vice-Provost for Research Yousif Shamoo and Interim Provost Seiichi Matsuda regarding Rice's new research policy during the outbreak (March 17)
(Updated 5/3/2021) Based on current vaccination rates on campus and the strong culture of adherence to our campus public health programs, the Office of Research is rescinding Research Stage 3, effective May 3. Research buildings and spaces will be governed by the campus-wide Covid-19 guidance. More information on campus guidelines, weekly communications, and resources can be found on the Return to Rice site. We would consider returning to earlier Research Stages if conditions were to change for the worse in our region. My hope is that as campus-wide vaccination levels continue to increase, we will be able to continue moving towards relaxing campus Covid-19 precautions. I urge you all to get vaccinated!
(Updated 2/26/2021) While the COVID-19 pandemic is still an urgent concern, local conditions in Houston suggest that the Christmas-New Year’s wave has peaked and is in steady decline. Taken together with the promising distribution of vaccine and the continuing low level of campus cases, we are announcing that the university will loosen research restrictions by resuming Research Stage 3 (RS3) practices, as of March 1. A copy of those guidelines is here for your review. Please share the update and guidelines with your lab members.
(Updated 1/8/2021) Due to worsening pandemic conditions, the Office of Research is alerting researchers that research activity will need to return to Research Stage 2 (RS2) on Friday, January 15. The Crisis Management Advisory Committee and the Office of Research are closely monitoring trends at the local and regional level. In RS2, research activity will continue; but with an emphasis on reducing the overall campus population and contingency planning should there be a need to transition back to Research Stages 1 or 0.
(Updated 9/28/2020) Research Stage 3 will go into effect September 28. RS3 directs research spaces to follow the general campus guidance with regard to COVID-19 safety. Please review the Research Stage 3 Guidelines for Research Reactivation.
(Updated 8/3/2020) Please read the Guidelines for Research Reactivation for Research Stage 2, effective August 3. Some of the previous restrictions have been lifted as the campus prepares to welcome students back for the Fall semester. In order to maintain a safe environment, it is important that everyone continue to remain vigilant towards physical distancing, self-health assessments, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) on a daily basis.
Faculty reactivating research or scholarly mentorship on campus must submit an Attestation Form to the Chair, Dean, and the VPR's office (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to resuming activities. (Faculty with an approved research plan from Research Stage 1 should also submit the Attestation Form by August 3.) Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
(Updated 5/15/2020) The Crisis Management Advisory Committee and the Office of Research have been assessing the conditions and processes that would allow for a phased reopening of our laboratory spaces for on-campus research. Based on the data for Harris County and the City of Houston, we will begin Research Stage 1 of our reactivation plan starting Tuesday, May 26, 2020. All aspects of RS1 will be governed by the concept of “essentiality”; thus, only research that requires the use of on-campus research infrastructure will be permitted on-campus during RS1. Please be aware that if circumstances change for the worse, we will immediately revert back to our previous policies that allow only for COVID-19 research and laboratory sustainability operations. We anticipate that Research Stage 1 will be in effect until at least July 1, 2020, at which time we will re-evaluate.
This guidance includes instructions on lab safety and best practices that can be used to develop a COVID-19 reactivation plan for each faculty member's research group and building. These plans are a necessity, and they must be vetted carefully by your chair, dean, and the vice provost for research prior to re-entering campus.
(Updated 4/10/2020) Rice University has launched a COVID-19 Research site. As part of a coordinated effort to combat COVID-19, Rice University is committed to conducting pathbreaking research — in biomedicine, engineering, social sciences, humanities and other fields — to help end the pandemic and prepare for similar outbreaks in the future. Updates for the site can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Updated 4/6/2020) The COVID-19 Research Fund is open to Rice faculty working on COVID-related work and will be highly flexible allowing for bursts of supplies needed for immediate use by research groups, developing partnerships within the city of Houston and the Texas Medical Center, as well as projects designed to help our community deal with both the immediate and long-term effects of this global crisis. Supported work may include collaborations with other institutions in the Texas Medical Center. The highest priority will be to accelerate research or the production of materials/reagents that can have immediate impact on our community.
(Updated 3/25/2020) The only research activities allowed until further notice will be COVID-19 related research and activities that sustain research animals, cell lines and plants that cannot be readily reproduced. Maintenance of critical equipment and animal welfare operations will continue under the Shared Equipment Authority and Animal Resource Facility respectively.
(Updated 3/17/2020) Consistent with the social distancing guidance from the CDC to reduce transmission of the virus, we must reduce campus population density and physical proximity of faculty, staff and students engaged in research. To accomplish this goal, we substantially ramped down university on-campus research, effective March 20. At this point, nobody knows how long these restrictions will last or whether more stringent constraints will be needed, but we are actively monitoring the situation. For more information, please read the full message regarding the research policy, and do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns that we can help you with.
Seiichi P. T. Matsuda
Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
E. Dell Butcher Professor of Chemistry
Professor of BioSciences
Research Policy During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Each faculty member with a research group has developed a research de-intensification plan to address issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak for their specific research group. Check directly with your faculty lead for their specific plan.
Essential maintenance/sustainability activities are allowed only with the permission of the chair, dean, and vice provost for research.
Maintaining a safe working environment requires each PI to take the following steps:
- Working safely begins with public health fundamentals such as thoroughly washing your hands, practicing social distancing (six-foot separation between individuals), and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces as appropriate.
- You must ensure that you and others in your working group stay home if you or they feel even slightly ill.
- Reduce the number of active staffing in your on-campus facilities by at least 75% so that no more than two to three people are present at any given time.
Provide accommodations as needed. Faculty should be cognizant of the needs of their students and research team members during this period. Faculty should allow special accommodations for their students and research team members who are medically at higher risk for COVID-19.
It is essential that mentors and peer researchers respect and have empathy for their co-workers. Rice University will not tolerate the use of pressure or any form of coercion to compel postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduates or research scientists to be endangered. We expect all of our faculty, students and staff to display the highest levels of professional behavior throughout this crisis. Failure to respect the legitimate concerns of our students and staff will be subject to university measures that may include sanctions of individuals involved and/or require the Office of Research to close a laboratory. Graduate students, postdocs and staff who feel inappropriate pressure to work in these circumstances should note their concerns at the EthicsPoint site: https://rucompliance.rice.edu/reporting-concerns.
Concerns about funding, proposal submission and reporting. The Office of Research will move to online mode, and submission and reporting will be performed as usual. Each agency will determine the particulars of their implementation and PIs should continue to look for updates. The OR will provide updated information as we receive it.
Questions. If you have any questions about your sponsored project agreements or concerns regarding compliance or reporting issues, please contact SPARC.