UBC to curtail most on-campus research activities starting March 24

UBC announced today that it will be curtailing most research activities on both its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses until April 15 at the earliest, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The decision comes as an extension of the social distancing protocols already in place at the university concerning remote teaching and working.

The only activity that will be allowed to proceed in person is “critical research” or “maintaining critical research resources,” according to a broadcast message from President Santa Ono and VP Research & Innovation Gail Murphy.

Critical research is considered to be research related to COVID-19, “essential clinical trials,” “time-critical research” and research that — if suspended — would result in “significant data loss,” according to the university’s exemption guidance.

All research teams whose activities are not exempt must develop plans to work remotely, suspend all in-person activities on university campuses and fully implement those plans by the end of the day on March 24.

Researchers are being encouraged to remove anything they may need to continue their work remotely from university workspaces before that date, as access after March 24 is “discouraged.”

The decision to curtail research activities follows an announcement earlier today that all UBC libraries will be closing starting March 20.

A checklist for researchers and additional information about the curtailment are available at research.ubc.ca/covid-19.

“We understand that this curtailment will have a significant impact on research programs and research personnel. The university is in active discussions with funding agencies and other bodies to identify ways to mitigate these impacts,” wrote Ono and Murphy.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. For updates on UBC’s response to COVID-19, visit ubc.ca/campus-notifications/