COVID-19 Guidance for Research, Scholarship and Artistry

Please refer to this webpage frequently for evolving guidance on research and scholarly operations. The Division of Research and Innovation Partnership offices are now largely remote but remain open. In addition to monitoring this page for information, please continue to see the Coronavirus Updates website for campus-wide information.

Communication and Connectivity Tips

The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly, and we understand the difficulty of planning in such a dynamic environment. The below tips may be useful as you consider your contingency plans and research activities.

  • Have an updated list of your project team's cell phone numbers.
  • Designate points of contact in your research, service or work group so that everyone receives timely information about your plans.
  • Make sure your communication plans identify your essential personnel for stay-at home-purposes.
  • Test your technology; be sure you can connect with others in your research or work group when meeting remotely.

All NIU laboratory documentation and safety procedures are maintained in the electronic research administration software, InfoEd. If at any point you have trouble with the process, please contact erahelp@niu.edu for assistance.

Every facility and space requesting approval to reopen must create a basic facility record in InfoEd. The steps below will guide you through this quick process. You will then be required to fill out a single mandatory e-form detailing your plans for reopening, which will route for approval to your chair and dean.

Login to InfoEd to begin the approval process for reopening facilities and spaces.

Several documents have been created to inform and assist in creating a facility record and submitting the required e-form for approval.

Sponsored Programs Administration has compiled an FAQ to address common questions. These FAQs will be updated as additional agency and university information is released.

  • The Office of Research Compliance, Integrity and Safety is open and continues to provide services to researchers.
  • All work is being done remotely – please email or use the online submission portal when making new, annual renewal, or amendment submissions.
  • Office phones are checked daily to ensure timely responses.
  • IRB, IBC, IACUC and other review board meetings will continue to take place using teleconferencing.
  • The IRB meeting schedule is available on the ORCIS Human Subjects Research page.
  • The IACUC meeting schedule is available on the ORCIS Animal Research page.

Human Research Considerations

  • Travel restrictions are in place.
    • All university-sponsored air travel is suspended. See the NIU COVID-19 resource site for detailed travel guidance in place during the stay-at-home order.
    • If your research is impacted, please use alternative data collection methods (e.g., online surveys, virtual interviews).
  • Data collection
    • Many data collection procedures (e.g., in-person lab studies, interviews, focus groups, school observations) will be impacted by social distancing.
    • Please use alternative procedures for collecting data (see below) or modifying your research questions. The IRB is available to amend protocols to accommodate necessary changes. The amendment form can be found on our website.
    • Guidance for resuming face-to-face data collection is now available.
  • Alternatives to face-to-face data collection
    • Use of online surveys
      • Qualtrics
      • Survey Monkey
    • Use of teleconferencing programs
      • Blackboard Collaborate
      • Zoom
    • Guidance

Class Presentations

  • ORCIS staff will continue to provide presentations to classes when relevant.
  • If you would like to incorporate a presentation on human research protections and review processes into your class content, please email pwallace@niu.edu.
  • If you would like to incorporate a presentation on the responsible conduct of research, please email sstoker@niu.edu.
  • If you would like to incorporate a presentation on laboratory safety, please email mcrase@niu.edu.
  • To follow the recommended social-distancing practices, presentations may be recorded in advance or presented live using a teleconferencing platform, such as Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom.

Personal Protective Equipment Inventory and Donation

Numerous departments and units at NIU use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for operations. During the challenging COVID-19 crisis, organizations and individuals may make requests for donations of these items. Each department or unit has the authority to donate equipment to healthcare providers, first responders and other front-line organizations.

If a donation is made, please record the following:

  • The recipient of the donation.
  • The date of the donation.
  • A list of donated items, including exact amounts of each item.
  • The estimated or known cost of each item.
  • The funding source for the original purchase (university funds, grant funds, etc.)

This information will be used to track costs at the request of the state and federal governments and seek reimbursement, if possible.

Please send the information to the Office of Research Compliance, Integrity and Safety at sstoker@niu.edu.

Note: these guidelines are subject to change. Please check for updates.

The Graduate School has compiled information for graduate students and faculty advisors.

Graduate Student Employee Information

  • Salaried Graduate Employees – assuming that salaried graduate employees are continuing to work, they will be paid their semi-monthly pay rate.
  • Hourly Graduate Employees – Employees in the classifications of Hourly Student Employees and Extra Help that want that want to work can continue to work and will be paid for hours worked.

Dissertations and Theses

With the extended spring break and movement of classes to alternative modes of delivery, NIU does not want thesis or dissertation defenses to be delayed as a result. There are multiple methods (Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect, Zoom, Skype, etc.) available to conduct remote defenses, and you should feel free to utilize any of those methods or others with which you are more familiar. Please contact the Graduate School at gradsch@niu.edu with any questions regarding dissertations and theses.

  • The Office of Innovation remains open and continues to provide services to the NIU ecosystem.
  • For general inquiries about the Office of Innovation and its services, please email lsebby@niu.edu.
  • For questions related to disclosures and the patent process, please email mhankins1@niu.edu.
  • For questions related to Discover code_orange and the 71North facility, please email kbredberg@niu.edu.

Administration for Children and Families

Council on Governmental Relations Resources

Department of Defense

Department of Education

Department of Energy

Department of Justice

Institute of Museum and Library Services

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Institutes of Health

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Office of Management and Budget

State of Illinois Agencies

USDA

COVID-19 Funding Searches Available in InfoEd SPIN Funding Database

InfoEd has established two funding searches in its SPIN funding database for results specific to COVID-19 funding. To access the searches, login to InfoEd and proceed to SPIN. For login, please visit the Electronic Research Administration at NIU (InfoEd) webpage.

  • At the top navigation bar, the first option is 'search'. Use the pull-down menu under the search option and you will see two searches are already formed: "COVID-19/Coronavirus all resources" and “COVID-19/Coronavirus funding opportunities."
  • After selecting one of those automatic searches, you may have the option to confirm the search and click on the 'Continue'
  • The results will display in a chart. Click on the hyperlink in the 'opportunity' title for link to guidelines. Importantly, review the eligibility section of the information.

After the search, you will have the option to 'save' that search and apply settings to receive email updates of additions to the searches. To set up email notifications:

  • Click the 'save' button at the top right of the results.
  • The resulting pop-up box will ask you to name the search (the name will be the subject line of the emails you receive).
  • Select the format of the emails (HTML recommended).
  • Select how frequently you would like to receive search result emails:
    • None (no alerts; login to SPIN required to view updates).
    • Daily (emails every day for each search; there may not be additions every day).
    • Weekly (one email per week per search).
  • Click on 'save changes'.

Funding Opportunities

Sponsor Title Description Deadline
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ARHQ) Notice of Intent: New Funding Opportunity Announcement to Support Novel, High-Impact Studies Evaluating Health System and Healthcare Professional Responsiveness to COVID-19 – NOT-HS-20-008 AHRQ intends to publish a new funding opportunity announcement using the R01 mechanism to support novel, high-impact studies evaluating health system and healthcare professional responsiveness to COVID-19. AHRQ is working to publish the FOA in early May 2020 with submissions due in June 2020.
Department of Defense Newton Award for Transformative Ideas During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Department of Defense (DoD) seeks proposals from single investigators or teams of up to two investigators to develop a "transformative idea" to resolve challenges, advance frontiers, and set new paradigms in areas of potential benefit to DoD and the nation. The objective of this program is to generate proposals that are novel and pioneering. Approaches can include analytical reasoning, calculations, simulations, and thought experiments.

Data collection/production is allowed but supporting data should be generated without laboratory-based experimentation or instrumentation. This FOA should be viewed as an opportunity to propose work outside the bounds of traditional proposals.

May 15, 2020, 4 p.m. Eastern Time
Economic Development Administration FY 2020 EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs including CARES Act Funding

EDA's CARES Act Recovery Assistance intends to assist communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic via an addendum to the FY 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Notice of Funding Opportunity. EDA’s EAA program provides investments that support a wide range of activities in regions experiencing severe economic dislocations, such as those brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding will also support projects that qualify for EAA funding but are similar to the kinds of projects funded under other EDA programs (e.g, Public Works, Research and National Technical Assistance, Planning, Local Technical Assistance, University Centers, and Build to Scale).

Rolling
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) SOLVE Health Security and Pandemics MIT Solve seeks proposals that address infectious disease emergencies, including both immediate solutions to slow and track the spread of existing pandemics like COVID-19, and proactive longer term preventative and preparation solutions addressing the root causes of pandemics and improving our ability to respond. June 18, 2020
National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) NOT-AI-20-031

Note: Links to existing funding opportunities to which applications may be submitted are included in the notice.

NIAID is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to highlight the need for research on SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, in particular projects focusing on viral natural history, pathogenicity, transmission, and projects developing medical countermeasures and suitable animal models for pre-clinical testing of vaccines and therapeutics. Applications in response to this NOSI must be submitted to existing NIH funding opportunity announcements specified in the Notice. Submission deadlines vary and are noted in relevant funding opportunities.
National Institutes of Health

Open Mike blog post: COVID-19 funding and funding opportunities

In this Open Mike blog post, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer informs the research community of funding available for COVID-19 related research.

Please note: eligibility for these funding opportunities varies; please review eligibility criteria carefully for any opportunities of interest.

Various
National Science Foundation

Dear Colleague Letter: Request for SBIR/STTR Phase I Proposals Addressing COVID-19

NSF seeks proposals to develop and deploy new technologies, products, processes, and services with the potential to positively impact the nation's and world's ability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. NIU must partner with a small business to apply; the small business would be the lead applicant. Rolling; submission windows for initial stage "project pitch" detailed on NSF site.
Dear Colleague Letter on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Frequently Asked Questions

NSF seeks proposals for non-medical, non-clinical-care research that will immediately explore how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19, inform and educate about virus transmission and prevention, and encourage the development of processes and action to address the crisis. No specific deadline. Submission via existing funding opportunities and the RAPID mechanism; interested PIs should follow guidance in Dear Colleague Letter and FAQs and work with SPA to determine target submission deadline
Dear Colleague Letter: Provisioning Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Further Research on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – RAPID The Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure at NSF invites RAPID proposals and supplemental funding requests that address COVID-19 challenges through data/software infrastructure development activities. This DCL is complementary to DCL NSF 20-052 above. No specific deadline; follow guidance for RAPID or supplementary funding requests. PIs must first contact one of the OAC program officers listed in the DCL.
Russell Sage Foundation Amendment to Funding Priorities to address COVID-19 The Foundation, which funds social science research, is changing its immediate priorities for letters of inquiry for the May 21, 2020 deadline due to the effects of COVID-19. Effective for the May 21, 2020, LOI deadline

Nonfinancial Resources for Research on the Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19

Department of Energy Dear Colleague Letter

Through its user facilities, computational power, and enabling infrastructure, DOE has unique capabilities that the scientific community may leverage for the COVID-19 response and recovery. This Dear Colleague Letter solicits ideas about how DOE and the National Labs might contribute resources to help address COVID-19.

Scientific questions that will address COVID-19 and would benefit from DOE user facility support should be submitted via email; responses will be reviewed beginning March 18. No deadline for submission of scientific questions is currently noted.

View the full letter.

The COVID-19 High Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium

The COVID-19 HPC Consortium is a unique private-public effort spearheaded by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Energy and IBM to bring together federal government, industry, and academic leaders who are volunteering free compute time and resources on their world-class machines. Researchers are invited to submit COVID-19 related research proposals to the consortium to be reviewed for matching with computing resources from one of the partner institutions.

Learn more about the consortium, including how to apply for access to user facilities.

View Q&A on the initiative with the Department of Energy Under Secretary Paul Dabbar.

Elsevier COVID-19 Resources

Elsevier has released access to multiple resources related to COVID-19 free of charge via the below web portal, including thousands of journal articles.

National Academies Press Resources

The National Academies has established a Coronavirus Resources Collection and announced specific COVID-19 articles and reports in their recent April 6 email.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Resources
Open COVID Pledge

The Open COVID Pledge is a call to organizations around the world to make intellectual property freely available to support the fight against COVID-19. The movement was developed by an international coalition of scientists and attorneys with the goal of quickening the pace of development of solutions to the crisis.

Introduction

The Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships recognizes that the COVID-19 crisis may offer recipients of intramural funding challenges completing projects and utilizing funds. Therefore, we are providing guidance for submitting requests to extend the availability of intramural funding based on COVID-19 related disruptions.

Furthermore, as the University navigates the financial impact that COVID-19 has had, and will continue to have, on the University, the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships has been asked to assess all remaining purchases and expenses for FY20 in order to maintain a working cash flow. Faculty with intramural funding are urged to pause purchasing items that are not essential to NIU's critical operations and mission for the remainder of FY20.

Presidential Research, Scholarship, and Artistry Professorships (PRSAP)

Recipients may request a one-year extension for expenditures delayed due to COVID-19. Please submit your extension request to the RIPS budget office, Cara Carlson, at ccarlso2@niu.edu as soon as you encounter delays. The

Principal Investigator Academy (PIA)

Faculty whose mentor visit to campus has been disrupted due to COVID-19 may postpone the visit until the 2020-2021 academic year. Please contact Dara Little at dlittle@niu.edu to discuss your plans.

Startup or Retention Support

All recipients will be granted an automatic one-year extension to complete expenditures. If an extension is planned; please submit a new funding profile to Cara Carlson, with an email subject line "COVID-19 extension request to assist RIPS with budget planning.

Examples of current COVID-19 related restrictions that may impact your ability to conduct research are listed below. We recognize that other factors may apply as well.

  • Travel: Non-essential University-sponsored travel is currently prohibited through August 1, 2020. Learn more about travel restrictions updates. If your research requires travel that cannot be completed, please specify the details in your extension request.
  • On-campus research: All research that can be performed remotely should continue to be performed remotely. On-campus research may now resume pending completion and approval of the application for opening of facilities and spaces for research, scholarship and artistry. The application can be found on the NIU Facilities Re-Opening Application and Approval Process section above.
  • Undergraduate employment: Effective March 20, work by undergraduate students was halted for the remainder of the spring semester. Exceptions may be granted for students who are able to fulfill their duties remotely and where the work is related to the student's academic program. Approval from the vice president for research is required. If you have not already done so, please submit the following information to Cara Carlson:
    • Name(s) of the student(s) who will work.
    • Confirmation that students will work remotely.
    • How the activity is mission-critical for research.
    • How the work is related to the student's academic program.
    • Confirmation of approval from your department chair.

Research and Artistry Program

Awardees who experience project delays related to COVID-19 may request up to a one-year extension. Please submit your extension request as soon as you realize that you will not be able to complete your project within the originally designated award period (6/30/2020 for 2019 awards, 6/30/2021 for 2020 awards).

Submit your extension request to resart@niu.edu, with an email subject line "COVID-19 extension request". The request should describe the specific factors related to COVID-19 that are preventing completion of the project and provide a plan to complete the project under an extended award period. Include a description of any changes to the originally planned project objectives, activities, or budget.

Examples of COVID-19 related restrictions that may impact your ability to conduct research and artistry funded projects are listed below. We recognize that other factors may also apply.

  • Travel: Non-essential university-sponsored travel is currently prohibited through August 1. This includes travel required to complete research and artistry projects. Please see NIU's COVID-19 FAQ webpage for updated information related to travel restrictions. If your Research and Artistry project requires travel that cannot be completed and will delay your project completion, please specify those details in your extension request.
  • On-campus research: All research that can be performed remotely should continue to be performed remotely. On-campus research may now resume pending completion and approval of the application for opening of facilities and spaces for research, scholarship and artistry. The application can be found on the NIU Facilities Re-Opening Application and Approval Process section above.
  • Undergraduate employment: Effective March 20, work by undergraduate students was halted for the remainder of the spring semester. Exceptions may be granted for students who are able to fulfill their duties remotely and where the work is related to the student's academic program. Approval from the vice president for research is required. If you have not already done so, please submit the following information to resart@niu.edu:
    • Name(s) of the student(s) who will work.
    • Confirmation that students will work remotely.
    • How the activity is mission-critical for research.
    • How the work is related to the student's academic program.
    • Confirmation of approval from your department chair.

As noted in your award letter, any extension to the end date of your research and artistry award requires approval. Please note that extension requests not based on COVID-19 related delays or other circumstances beyond the PI's control will not be approved.

Research and artistry awardees who have not received approval from the vice president for Research and Innovation Partnerships for an extension under this guidance will not be allowed to spend funds after the end date of their current award.

Contact Us

Office of the Vice President for Research
Jessica Cima
jcima@niu.edu

RIPS Business Office
Cara Carlson
ccarlso2@niu.edu

Sponsored Programs Administration
Dara Little
dlittle@niu.edu

Research, Compliance, Integrity and Safety
Shannon Stoker
sstoker@niu.edu

Innovation
Luke Sebby
lsebby@niu.edu