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.

Understanding the Stay-at-Home Order

Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order permits educational institutions to continue operating "for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible." Accordingly, all non-essential on-campus research activities should cease immediately. No new on-campus research may be initiated. All laboratories and research facilities not performing essential research will be closed. This directive supersedes previous guidance.

Examples of essential research include research that has the potential to address the COVID-19 crisis; human-subjects research that would endanger research participants if stopped; or projects where termination of the activities would lead to loss of long-running experimental data including longitudinal studies, loss of critical time-series or time-sensitive data, loss of equipment or loss of research-related organisms.

See Office of the Provost, Graduate School and RIPS coordinated guidance for responding to the Executive Order.

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 wind down your 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.

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 through May 9, and all other air travel is discouraged. 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.
    • All face-to-face data collection must be replaced with remote or virtual collection. If you believe this will seriously impact your research, you may contact for an exemption.
    • 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.
  • 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
  • If you would like to incorporate a presentation on the responsible conduct of research, please email
  • If you would like to incorporate a presentation on laboratory safety, please email
  • 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.

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 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
  • For questions related to disclosures and the patent process, please email
  • For questions related to Discover code_orange and the 71North facility, please email

Council on Governmental Relations Resources

Office of Management and Budget

Administration for Children and Families

Department of Defense

Department of Energy

Department of Justice

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Institutes of Health

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF Funding Opportunities


State of Illinois Agencies

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.
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 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.
N/A 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
N/A 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.

Contact Us

Office of the Vice President for Research
Jessica Cima

RIPS Business Office
Cara Carlson

Sponsored Programs Administration
Dara Little

Research, Compliance, Integrity and Safety
Shannon Stoker

Luke Sebby