COVID-19 & Research at PSU

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. Level 1 Modified Research Operations are in effect as of Monday, June 7, 2021. Most employees, including researchers, are encouraged to work remotely. We are asking all researchers to develop a plan for operations that meets the requirements of Level 1 operations. 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.

Return to Research Requests

RGS accepts urgent requests to return to research from faculty and staff members via department request forms. Department request sheets should be sent to research@pdx.edu every other Friday beginning 1/8/21. Faculty members who would like to submit new urgent requests (i.e., requests for individuals who have not previously been submitted) should follow established procedures (see below) by submitting their requests to their unit spreadsheets. MCECS faculty should continue following the requirements of those departments. Questions? Contact research@pdx.edu.

Please do not submit renewal requests for individuals who RGS has previously approved to work in a given lab, studio, or field location. Only new requests (for new personnel or for access to a new location, must be submitted.

How will the new restrictions impact research at Portland State?

    • PSU will continue working at Research Operation Level 1 with the following alterations:

      1. Please continue to use departmental request form for submitting research requests.

        1. Only submit requests for new personnel or access to new locations.

      2. Most face-to-face human subjects work can resume if the HRPP or IRB approves the protocol and after approval by the Restarting Research Committee.

      3. Remote work is still encouraged, but work in offices, laboratories, studios, or other workspaces is permitted.

      4. Workspace density limits are relaxed, provided physical distancing (six feet between individuals) is maintained.

      5. People may meet indoors in groups of up to 25, provided everyone wears a face mask or covering and six feet of physical distancing is maintained.

      6. Essential travel is possible with supervisor approval using the normal travel authorization process.

      7. Masks or face coverings are still required indoors while on campus.

      8. Conduct pre-shift/meeting symptom checks and stay home if presenting symptoms.

      9. Continue following cleaning and disinfection protocols.

      10. Prepare for the potential of a return to Level 2.


More information is available on RGS's Summer 2021 Research Operations Guidelines & Resources webpage.

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

    • Essential travel is possible with supervisor approval using the normal travel authorization process.

    • RGS does not need to approve travel. Visit Viking Travel's website for their Pandemic Travel Update and Travel Guide, etc.

    • If the travel is for field research, then a plan should be submitted to RGS as per our normal COVID-19 procedures so RGS can ensure proper planning for safety and help with contact tracing if a COVID-19 exposure occurs.

    • If traveling out of state, review the specific state and country guidelines and COVID-19 requirements.

    • Remember that depending on local conditions and conditions where you are traveling that you may be required to self-isolate for 10-14 days.

    • 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

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 unless an exception is approved.

  • Visit PSU's Biosafety Program website for forms and guidance on the biosafety protocol review and amendment process.

Human Subjects Research

  • PSU has developed guidance for conducting human subjects research during a pandemic. Go to Human Subjects Research During the COVID-19 Pandemic for additional information.

  • All in-person/face-to-face research activities with human subjects must be suspended unless an exception is granted. 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.