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Research and innovation activity will continue, primarily on a remote basis, until further notice. The process for reopening research facilities is underway with progress be made in a phased basis, guided by public health advice and in compliance with national protocols.

Information on the process and requirements of reopening research facilities are being made available on a dedicated SharePoint site here.  

Support services such as the Research Office, the Innovation Office, Research Accounts and Graduate Studies are providing a full complement of services. However, response rates may vary due to remote working challenges.

REOPENING OUR RESEARCH FACILITIES: update from the VP Research, Wed 25 June

Dear colleagues,

We are in the process of restoring access to our research facilities and I wish to provide an update on the process, progress and timelines of this as a follow-on to previous alerts on the matter. While I had hoped to share this information with you before now, our plans continue to evolve, and the delay was to allow us time to consult with colleagues and to present you with the fullest picture possible. Thank you for your ongoing patience. 

Over the last number of weeks the focus has been on providing access to buildings with research facilities (i.e. labs and other specialist facilities) to enable research that cannot be undertaken remotely – in accordance with the general Government guidelines on returning to work.

Process for Reopening Research Facilities

The following four-step process is being followed by a team comprising Buildings and Estates, the Health and Safety Office, Building Liaison Managers and local COVID-19 Coordinators to ensure the safe return to research in each building. 

  • Step 1: Capacity Planning
  • Step 2: Services Restoration Planning
  • Step 3: Mobilisation and Set-up
  • Step 4: Operations Resumes

As the team plans for the reopening of each facility they are considering both the broader issues relating to the full opening of the building in which the facilities are located and issues relating to the expanded opening of our campus more generally. Once a building has reopened, operations are continuously monitored by local COVID-19 Coordinators to ensure that health and safety measures are maintained in a consistent and ongoing basis. At all times the reopening of buildings is guided by public health advice as a priority and in compliance with the Government’s Roadmap to Reopening Society and Business and Return to Work Safely Protocol.

Progress and Next Steps (see Link)

  • Our first building – Biomedical Sciences building – reopened on 8 June.
  • Since then, research has recommenced in an additional six buildings.
  • Over the next few weeks research activity will resume in a further 11 buildings to the schedule set out here.

The learnings from the initial buildings are helping to inform the reopening of other facilities across campus.

The COVID-19 Operations Working Group is taking a whole-of-campus approach to reopening our campus beyond immediate research facility requirements. This means that, with the advice of the Academic Planning Group and in consultation with Buildings and Estates, a roadmap for reopening beyond research facilities will be planned for on a building-by-building basis. Where research facilities within some of those buildings have already been reopened, that may shorten the reopening cycle. Larger building may be more complex and may take longer.

Library

Preparations for the reopening of the Library on a phased basis are underway – with a ‘click and collect’ service for books available during week starting 13 July. Thereafter, additional services, including access to special collections/archives, will come on-stream. Please check www.library.nuigalway.ie for information on click and collect service. 

Further Information

A dedicated Returning to Research SharePoint site provides information on the requirements for research groups returning to their facilities – including:

  • Guidance Document on the principles and process
  • Research Facility Access Request Form
  • Return to Work Declaration Form
  • A short Covid-19 Induction Training Video
  • Advice for PIs on Risk Assessments
  • Building Roles
  • FAQs

The safety of our community has been paramount throughout this lockdown and will remain so through the reopening process. To prioritise safety, the pace of opening has had to necessarily be steady and phased. Understandably, for many individuals and teams, this has meant the timeframe for returning to campus presents its own pressures and challenges in terms of delays to activities and projects. Your understanding, patience and collegiality throughout this process, despite such pressures and challenges, is greatly appreciated.  Please bear with the process and trust that you will be able to get back to the necessary facilities as quickly as the university can possibly safely achieve it. 

Regards,

Lokesh

Professor Lokesh Joshi

Vice-President for Research

BUDGETS: How do I prepare a budget for approval?

Please use the budget calculator tool available on the Research Accounts Office (RAO) website http://www.nuigalway.ie/research-accounting/forms.html

BUDGETS: How do I get my budget approved?

Please e-mail a draft budget to the relevant Research Accounts Office team.

BUDGETS: Does the two- week internal deadline apply to current calls?

It is acknowledged that during the current crisis, it may not be possible to meet normal RAO internal deadlines, but we ask that you contact RAO with a draft budget as early in the process as possible.

BUDGETS: How do I get my budget reports?

Please contact your RAO Team contact from the list at http://www.nuigalway.ie/research-accounting/aboutus/ourpeople.html

ETHICS: Can I still get ethics approval for my research?

Yes. While the Research Ethics Committee (REC) will continue to accept applications, it may not be possible to undertake the same volume of applications.  The Research Ethics Committee (REC) will continue to accept applications, however, with the new restrictions in place and the challenges of remote working, it may not be possible to undertake the same volume of applications. This may result in a longer processing time than usual for some applicants.

Cognisant of this, please consider whether your application can be deferred until a later date – e.g. if the application relates to work that is not due to commence in the short to medium-term. Also, please consider the nature of your research within the context of government guidelines on social distancing and whether, in fact, the research can be carried out whilst these practices are in place – e.g. does your research require direct contact with participants; including for the purposes of obtaining consent?

Visit the Research Ethics Committee website for more https://www.nuigalway.ie/research-office/policiesandprocedures/researchethicscommittee/

ETHICS: Is there fast-tracked ethics approval for COVID-19 related research?

Some funders have released calls specifically regarding COVID-19 related research. Successful applications under these schemes may require ethics approval and the Committee will endeavour to prioritise these for review/approval.

Visit the Research Ethics Committee website for more https://www.nuigalway.ie/research-office/policiesandprocedures/researchethicscommittee/

FUNDING: Can I still apply for funding?

Yes. The Research Office is still supporting funding applications and issuing a regular funding e-zine. There is also a special page focused on COVID-19 funding calls which is available here.

Visit the funding section of the Research Community Portal for more about funding.

FUNDING:  Is there specific funding calls for COVID-19 related projects?

Yes. The Research Office has a page dedicated to COVID-19 funding calls which is available here.

Visit the Build your Proposal section of the Research Community Portal for more about proposals and here for contacts within the Research Office.

FUNDING: Have the funders extended deadlines or changed their guidelines?

National funders issued a joint statement which can be found here - Joint Funders' Statement on Covid 19
 
SFI have issued guidance on the post-award management of grants during the COVID-19 crisis.
 
Additional Guidance for IRC-funded Researchers
 
Revised Schedule for IRC Calls 2020
  
Additional Guidance for HRB-funded Researchers
 
Revised Schedule for HRB Calls 2020
 
 
 

Wellcome has updated a page for anyone applying for one of their research grants, or who holds a Wellcome grant. https://wellcome.ac.uk/grant-funding/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-grant-applicants-and-grantholders

NUI GALWAY’S BUSINESS INNOVATION CENTRE: I am interested in applying for an office/lab in the Centre, can I still apply?

Yes. If you are interested in applying for space in the NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre, please email the BIC Business Development Manager at Kerry.ward@nuigalway.ie for more information.

RESEARCH CONTRACTS and ACCOUNT SET-UP: I have been awarded a contract, will my contract be reviewed?

Yes. We are providing as normal a services as possible, although there may be some delays, we are still reviewing contracts and opening up accounts.

RESEARCH STUDENTS: Where should I direct my questions?

There is a dedicated Q&A for research students, visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/alert/studentfaqs/postgraduateresearchstudentsfaqs/

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: Can I still pursue my commercialistion fund, patent technologies or file an invention disclosure?

Yes, the Innovation Office, while working remotely, is still operating its usual functions. Contact the relevant team member by email for more information.

TRAINING: Can I still avail of training?

Yes. In fact, Sinead Beacom and Marina Ansaldo at the Researcher Development Centre recommend getting some online training done if at all possible, during this period.  RDC staff are also working from home but feel free to contact via e-mail with any training / professional development queries.Some of the courses are now available online – so please visit the website for more detail.   https://www.nuigalway.ie/rdc/

Online training:  You should be able to access Blackboard (see pg. 17 of the Researcher Handbook for instructions and information.  In addition to the teaching and learning materials there is online training in Research Professional Development and Leadership.

It might also be a good time to do the online Integrity Training course which is becoming a requirement for the majority of funding agencies - to access integrity training contact marina.ansaldo@nuigalway.ie (you need a token to gain access).

Online training also available via the library.