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COVID-19 Research Resources

This page will be updated as new information becomes available. Please check back for updates.

UPDATE April 2, 2020: Research laboratories and facilities have ramped down non-essential research activities on and off campus. In adjusting research operations, the University has followed three guiding principles:

  • No. 1, our highest priority is the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, visitors and the community;
  • No. 2, we will work to preserve essential research functions and activity to the extent possible; and
  • No. 3, we will use alternative research functioning that aligns with compliance obligations to our sponsors and university policies.

Essential Research Continuity

The University curated a list of essential research operations that require facility access and has identified personnel able and available to perform those essential tasks. Communicate with your supervisor, Department Chair or Associate Dean for Research to determine access. Approved personnel performing essential research tasks should take appropriate social distancing measures, frequently clean touched surfaces, and stay home when experiencing symptoms of illness. Reference to the Guidance for Essential Research Activities for additional guidelines.

Operations Guidelines for Core Research Facilities

Core research facilities set forth new access and use procedures to ensure continued research productivity in a hygienic environment to protect all facility staff and users. Priority access has been given to projects with May graduation implications, grant progress reports or upcoming deadlines.

New Proposals and Grant Management

Proposal submissions, award acceptance and financial management of grants and contracts continue uninterrupted as Division of Research staff work remotely. Staff is also monitoring federal agency sponsors for impacts on application deadlines, allowability of costs, and guidance on conducting human subjects research. The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) is hosting a useful repository of communications here to track guidance from federal agencies. Research Compliance offices are fully operational and are available to assist faculty with human subjects and animal care protocols.

Industry Engagement

Both the Clemson University Research Foundation and the Office of Industry Contracts remain fully operational. Investigators with industry-sponsored research projects should contact the Office of Industry Contracts if their project is paused or scaled back due to COVID-19 precautions.

R-Initiatives

Important Reminder: For personnel on campus to perform research functions deemed essential by the university, protect your health and the health of others by practicing the following interventions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Intervention:

  • Stay home when experiencing any symptoms of illness.
  • Implement social distancing practices.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Frequently clean touched surfaces and objects.
  • Stay at home if you fall into the CDC’s high risk or special category.
  • More information

COVID-19 Research Funding

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides federal agencies with additional funds to support research on COVID-19 prevention, preparation and response. The Office of Research Development has compiled a list of funding opportunities currently available. Check back often as new opportunities will be posted.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions related to your research that are not answered in the list of FAQs below, please email vpr@clemson.edu, contact the Associate Dean for Research in your college or call the Graduate School at 656-4172.

Facilities/Space

Can I access my lab or other research space while campus operations are modified?

UPDATED April 1, 2020: Research laboratories and facilities have ramped down non-essential research activities on and off campus. The University curated a list of essential research operations that require limited facility access and has identified personnel able and available to perform those tasks. Communicate with your supervisor, Department Chair or Associate Dean for Research to determine access.

Are students and postdoctoral researchers allowed access to labs?

Only essential personnel should be on the campus at this time, those required to be on campus will know through their supervisor. The university will approve the personnel able and available to perform essential research tasks. Communicate with your supervisor, Department Chair or Associate Dean for Research to determine access.

Do Core Facilities remain operational?

Core Research Facilities have adopted modified operational procedures. Consult the Guidance on the Use of Core Research Facilities for instructions specific to the Aquatic Animal Research Laboratory, Clemson Light Imaging Facility, Clemson Electron Microscopy Facility and Godley-Snell Research Center. Any additional guidelines or changes to modified operations will be communicated through the COVID-19 web page.

What about access for research conducted at partner institutions, such as hospitals and other universities?

Consult with the policies and procedures in place at those organizations. Consult with your supervisor if work at other institutions is still required.

Should I notify an industry sponsor if work progress is interrupted?

Yes, project sponsors should be notified. Contact the Office of Industry Contracts.

Can I attend scientific conferences?

Refer to the university’s travel guidance for the latest information.

What can I do while campus access is limited?

Work from home writing reports, publications, sections of your thesis and dissertations, reading literature, reviewing plans and timelines, developing presentations, or thinking through new research ideas and preparing proposals. Funding agencies are requesting COVID-19-related research. View the listed opportunities and consider how you might participate. Additionally, coordinate remote work with your supervisor. The Office of Human Resources encourages supervisors to be creative and arrange for employees to work remotely as much as possible.

Support Services

Is the Division of Research open?

Yes, the Division of Research is working remotely, providing services from the Office of Sponsored Programs, Grants and Contracts Administration, the Clemson University Research Foundation, the Office of Industry Contracts, Office of Export Compliance and Research Security, and the Office of Research Compliance. Additionally, essential personnel for certain functions, for example research safety, remain on campus to provide support.

What if I need assistance with research safety?

The University’s Office of Occupational and Environmental Safety (OES) will continue to provide support as normal for all safety functions, and the OES staff are available for consultations through University email and phone.

Can I continue to submit proposals?

Yes. The Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Industry Contracts are prepared to operate remotely and are working closely with your college pre-award office. Contact your college pre-award support center.

Where can I find more information on COVID-19 responses from sponsors?

The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) is hosting a useful repository of communications. Agencies are actively posting notices of application deadline extensions. Visit Institutional and Agency Responses to COVID-19 and Additional Resources for up to date information.

Do research compliance committee processes remain active?

Yes, the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) remain active. PIs should notify the respective compliance committee to any changes in approved research. Contact the Office of Research Compliance.

Can research involving human subjects continue?

Research that will involve human subjects and face-to-face interaction should be suspended or conducted virtually. Any changes in a human subjects protocol must be reported to the IRB for review and approval prior to implementation. Contact the Office of Research Compliance. Clemson faculty also should follow guidance being issued by CDC, health care organizations and health research partners.

Can materials still be shipped to my facility?

The University will continue to accept deliveries and packages (e.g. FedEX, DHL). Department Chairs or Directors at Research and Education Centers and other off-campus locations will coordinate the receipt of deliveries in their areas and locations.

Award Management

If I must work remotely, can I still be paid from a grant?

Consistent with Clemson’s charging practices, employees will continue to be paid regardless of funding source, which should continue at its normal allocation.

The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) is hosting a useful repository of communications here to track guidance from federal agencies.

Highlights from federal agencies are below:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum M-20-17 released on March 19, 2020 provides the following directions to Federal Awarding agencies: 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. Awarding agencies may allow other costs to be charged to Federal awards necessary to resume activities supported by the award, consistent with applicable Federal cost principles and the benefit to the project. Awarding agencies may also evaluate the grantee's ability to resume the project activity in the future and the appropriateness of future funding, as done under normal circumstances based on subsequent progress reports and other communications with the grantee. Awarding agencies must require recipients to maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 2 CFR § 200.302 - Financial management and 2 CFR § 200.333 - Retention requirement of records to substantiate the charging of any salaries and other project activities costs related to interruption of operations or services. Consistent with OMB’s Memorandum, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Defense (DOD) have provided consistent language with the following additions in their specific guidance:

NSF: Recipients must not assume that supplemental funding will be available should the charging of such costs or other fees result in a shortage of funds to eventually carry out the project. If a shortfall is anticipated, recipients must contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer to discuss the situation. NSF will evaluate the grantee’s ability to resume the project activity in the future and the appropriateness of future funding, as done under normal circumstances—based on subsequent project reports and other communications with the recipient.

NIH: Salaries - NIH understands that many researchers may be unable to work as a result of or related to the effects of COVID-19. If a recipient organization’s policy allows for the charging of salaries and benefits during periods when no work is performed due to the effect of COVID-19, regardless of the funding source, including Federal and non-Federal, then such charges to NIH grant awards will be allowable. Reminder: NIH awarding Institutes/Centers (ICs) may request documentation to confirm the requirements of institutional policies. Stipend - Institutions affected by COVID-19 may continue to provide stipend payments to fellows and trainees who may be unable to work as a result of or related to COVID-19. Recipients should notify the assigned grants management official, and provide documentation demonstrating the effect of COVID-19, and how long the institution will be affected.

DOD: DOD components may allow other costs to be charged to federal awards necessary to continue work on a project even if in a period where primary research activities are limited or curtailed. To the maximum extent practicable, recipients will be expected to invoke or institute any and all reasonable mitigation actions and practices to lessen the cost to the government during the crisis period. Such actions may be part of an existing program created by the recipient or may be created to respond to this crisis. Appropriate records and cost documentation must continue to be updated and maintained as required by 2 CFR 200.302 - Financial management and 2 CFR 200.333 - Retention requirement of records.

For additional questions related to sponsored expenditures, contact the Grants and Contracts Administration.

Can I receive a no-cost extension?

Federal agency sponsors typically allow for no-cost extensions. Consult with your grants manager in the Grants and Contracts Administration office. Additionally, the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) is hosting a useful repository of communications from federal agencies as well.

Are travel cancellation costs due to COVID-19 allowable as direct charges to sponsored projects?

Federal agencies are beginning to provide guidance in this area. NIH has issued NIH Notice, NOT-OD-20-086, and updated the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) FAQs that address the allowability of non-refundable cancellation fees on sponsored awards. The new updated guidance provides information that support travel cancellation costs on Sponsor, fund 20 projects. Due to the special circumstances and travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19, non-refundable travel costs may remain on sponsored awards incurred during the period impacted by COVID-19. However, as noted in the COGR FAQs, refunds or airline credits must be attempted and documented, and any refunds or credit received must be applied back to the sponsored project (i.e. not to the travelers personal or frequent flyer account). The related COGR FAQ’s are presented below (please continue to check the active COGR link above for the full list of FAQs, as well as updates as they are made available).

How should credits from cancelled travel costs be handled on sponsored projects?

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 then that trip is later cancelled, the credit must accrue to the sponsored project (see 2 CFR 200.406). Some airlines are offering full refunds for trips that need to be cancelled due to COVID-19; in these instances, the refund should accrue to the grant, either directly through the institution’s travel system or via reimbursement from the traveler. If a traveler cancels a trip and accrues a credit on their personal account, the traveler should follow institutional policy for how to track and manage the credit.

What do you know about accommodations airlines are making because of COVID-19?

Various airlines have announced special accommodations, including waiving all or certain change fees. Travelers should consult airline websites directly for the most up to date information.