COVID-19 and Research

Impacts of Response to COVID-19 on Research at PSU

The University has decided to reduce research activities to a level that will ensure the safety and health of our faculty, students, staff, and the greater community. Modified Research Operations are in effect as of Monday, March 23. Most employees, including researchers, will work remotely until further notice. We are asking all researchers to develop a plan for operations that minimizes the need for people to be on campus and maximizes the ability for people to work remotely. Please develop this plan and share it with your department chair or center director.

Research and Graduate Studies is actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation to keep PSU researchers informed about its impact on research projects at PSU. We are tracking sponsor and regulatory agency actions associated with impact on proposal deadlines and administrative requirements for award management and are updating this site with information about research at PSU during this unprecedented time.

Sponsored Projects Administration and Research Integrity staff are working remotely and coordinating with our campus partners to maintain continuity of services to PSU researchers for key activities.

RGS has developed Research Continuity Guidance, a Ramp Down Checklist, and an emergency contacts template for faculty, students and staff to help assure their safety during ramp down on campus research activities.

On this page:

Federal Administrative Relief Exceptions

The following flexibilities were made available to Federal sponsors. Each sponsor will develop and announce its own guidance for implementing these exceptions which will be posted on this page in the Sponsor Guidance section below as they become available.

Agencies that have issued guidance: NIH, NSF

Go to Sponsor COVID-19 Guidance for agency-specific details

Proposal Deadlines: Awarding agencies may provide flexibility with regard to the submission of competing applications in response to specific announcements, as well as unsolicited applications.

Reporting Deadline Exceptions: Awarding agencies may allow grantees to delay submission of financial, performance and other reports up to three (3) months beyond the normal due date. If an agency allows such a delay, grantees will continue to draw down Federal funds without the timely submission of these reports. However, these reports must be submitted at the end of the postponed period. In addition, awarding agencies may waive the requirement for recipients to notify the agency of problems, delays or adverse conditions related to COVID-19 on a grant by grant basis.

Non-competing continuation requests: For continuation requests scheduled to come in from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, from projects with planned future support, awarding agencies may accept a brief statement from recipients to verify that they are in a position to:

  1. resume or restore their project activities; and
  2. accept a planned continuation award.

No Cost Extensions: Awarding agencies may extend awards which were active as of March 31, 2020 and scheduled to expire prior or up to December 31, 2020, automatically at no cost for a period of up to twelve (12) months.

  • Project-specific financial and performance reports will be due 90 days following the end date of the extension. Awarding agencies will examine the need to extend other project reporting as the need arises.

Salary charges: Awarding agencies may allow recipients to continue to charge salaries and benefits to currently active Federal awards consistent with the recipients' policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, Federal and non-Federal. PSU's COVID-19 response policies allow employees who can't work because of measures taken to curb the virus to use sick leave, which is an allowable charge to sponsored projects.

Cancellation Charges: Awarding agencies may allow recipients who incur costs related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award, or the pausing and restarting of grant funded activities due to the public health emergency, to charge these costs to their award. Awarding agencies must advise recipients that they should not assume additional funds will be available should the charging of cancellation or other fees result in a shortage of funds to eventually carry out the event or travel.

Waiver of Prior Approval Requirements: Awarding agencies are authorized to waive prior approval requirements as necessary to effectively address the response

Closeout Requirement Extensions: A warding agencies may allow the grantee to delay submission of any pending financial, performance and other reports required by the terms of the award for the closeout of expired projects, provided that proper notice about the reporting delay is given by the grantee to the agency. This delay in submitting closeout reports may not exceed one year after the award expues.

Sponsored Project Activities

Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) staff will continue to support sponsored projects activities remotely. During this time, staff will prioritize proposal submissions and other sponsor-driven deadlines and requirements.

Charging Sponsored Projects - PSU Specific Guidance:

  • SALARIES & WAGES
    • PIs and current project staff:
      • In general, effort may be charged to existing project(s) provided the employees remain engaged in the project(s).
      • Sick leave and other paid absences taken in accordance with PSU policy may be charged to sponsored projects.
      • Sponsor prior approval requirements regarding changes in effort remain in effect. Many federal sponsors require PIs to obtain prior approval if they will disengage from the project for three (3) months or more or reduc effort of key personnel by 25 percent or more.
      • Send an email to spa@pdx.edu if significant project scope and key personnel changes are necessary due to the campus response to COVID-19.
      • Additional information about remote work and leave is available on PSU's Human Resources website.
    • New Hires: New appointments are allowable if the work can be performed remotely. All offer letters must include specific language about work location and plan for how remote work will be conducted.
    • Students and Postdocs: Principal Investigators should work with each of their students and postdoctoral trainees to develop a plan that allows them to conduct research remotely to the fullest extent possible, e.g., performing data analysis, literature review, modeling and computation, writing manuscripts and applications.
  • PURCHASE OF GOODS & SERVICES
    • All purchases should be limited to only those items deemed essential for remote operations during the spring quarter
    • PSU has relaxed normal rules that allow some purchases to be shipped directly to your home. If you can safely receive orders at your home to support approved remote work, we will allow these orders.
    • Exceptions may be made for purchases that require a long lead time (greater than 6 weeks.)
    • Service contracts for consultants or other project related needs that can be performed remotely are allowable.
    • All other purchases must be only for the maintenance of essential operations and maintenance of equipment. These orders must be delivered to campus. Investigators must coordinate with the appropriate people on campus to ensure the delivery can be received properly at PSU prior to placing orders.
  • TRAVEL
    • As of March 11, PSU has suspended all non-essential travel.
    • If a traveler has charged (e.g., through prepayment or a travel advance) an airline ticket or other travel cost to a sponsored project and that trip is later cancelled, the credit must accrue to the sponsored project (see 2 CFR 200.406).
    • For this temporary period, PSU will allow departments to decide whether they will refund travelers for airfare purchased with personal credit cards or to reimburse for cancelation fees. Specific questions can be addressed to vikingtravel@pdx.edu
    • Subawards - Guidance in development

Research Integrity and Compliance Activities

Animal Research

  • All investigators with active IACUC protocols must provide the IACUC with an update on the status of each protocol, including whether there are currently any live animals being housed on campus or being monitored in the field.
  • If animals are being housed on campus or being monitored in the field, an emergency plan must be submitted. (The PSU IACUC Administrator will email a template to protocol Principal Investigators)
  • Animal field study activities, such as wildlife observation, may continue, but investigators must develop and submit a plan for continuing this work safely, adhering to animal welfare requirements, and following recommendations for social distancing.
  • No new specimens or samples should be collected or brought to campus.
  • Visit PSU's Animal Care & Use Program website for forms and guidance on the animal care and use protocol review and amendment process.

Biological Safety

  • All campus laboratory experiments will be suspended effective March 23.
  • If there is a need to continue on campus research activities during limited campus operations, develop a plan to manage these laboratory activities with minimal staffing and have these plans approved by your Department Chair and Dean.
  • All BSL2 laboratory activities must be suspended while PSU is operating with limited on campus activity.
  • Visit PSU's Biosafety Program website for forms and guidance on the biosafety protocol review and amendment process.

Human Subjects Research

  • All in-person/face-to-face research activities with human subjects must be suspended at this time. To continue human subjects research, all activities must be performed via remote data collection methods (online or mail surveys, Zoom or other online meeting platforms, telephone, etc.).
  • If you wish to continue your research during this time, you must submit an amendment request to transition your in-person research activities to a remote/virtual data collection process. Data collection will need to stop until approval to transition the study to proposed online/remote methods is secured.
  • The Human Research Protection Program will continue to accept and review protocol submissions; however, approvals will only be issued to protocols that include remote/virtual data collection methods.
  • Visit PSU's HRPP website for forms and guidance on the human subjects research protocol review and amendment process.