Research

Important updates

March 24, 2020
Message from Vice-President Research: UVic will be temporarily suspending all on-campus research and creative project activities as of 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26. Read update.

March 20, 2020
Message from Vice-President Research: In-person behavioral research involving human participants at locations on or off campus is suspended and we are reviewing our ability to safely support research conducted on campus in university laboratory and related facilities. Read update.


Research laboratories

What are some general considerations to safely close out experiments and shut-down your lab?

A checklist is available to assist labs that are in the process of shutting down. If your lab has already closed, check against items on the list.

Are Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) services still available on campus or remotely?

For research safety support please contact your OHSE consultant or email ohs@uvic.ca. OHSE staff working from home will respond to requests remotely via email or phone. For any issues that require on-campus support we will make the appropriate arrangements on a case-by-case basis.

Can I work by myself if I need to access the lab during the suspension period?

The laboratory principal investigator/supervisor must have a documented check-in procedure for any individuals working alone.  If you are conducting critical approved work that involves the use of hazardous materials, it is recommended that at least two people are nearby to help in case of an emergency, while at the same time exercising social/physical distance (minimum six feet or two metres) during their research.

Are the lab safety procedures and expectations different during the suspension period?

It is expected that all required safe work procedures (SOPs) are followed, and that individuals are wearing the appropriate PPE based on the hazards of the research (e.g. lab coat, safety goggles, closed-toed shoes, gloves, etc.).  If the supply chain is disrupted during this suspension period and the required safety equipment or PPE is not available, the research must not proceed until it can be made safe.  

If there is an accident or injury, the researcher must immediately report it to their supervisor.  In the event of a medical emergency call 911.  For first aid or chemical spills that require assistance call Campus Security at 250-721-7599.

Will lab hazardous wastes still be picked up?

OHSE will continue to coordinate hazardous waste disposal as required.  At this time, labs should continue to follow the usual procedures to request a pickup.  Should that situation change we will make alternate arrangements for the safe storage and removal of hazardous wastes.

What if I have equipment that will require maintenance during the suspension period?

Each lab should identify any critical maintenance activities and the individuals who will be responsible to provide support, ensuring the established check-in procedures are being followed if working alone.  Researchers should also check with suppliers on the availability of critical laboratory products (e.g. liquid nitrogen, gas cylinders, chemicals, personal protective equipment, etc.) as the supply chain for products may be variable and could have an impact on the sustainability of research activities.

How do I request an exemption?


General FAQs

I am conducting a research study with human participants. Should I continue to conduct face-to-face interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic?

No.  Effective immediately and until further notice, all in-person behavioural research involving human participants at locations on or off campus is suspended. In-person research includes research where participants come to campus to engage on computers.

Research activities not involving, or no longer involving, participant recruitment or where the contact is through remote (online, telephone) methods may continue. Researchers working with Indigenous Nations should seek direction from those Nations about acceptable modes of remote contact as well as the feasibility of continuing a research project at this time.

The UVic Human Research Ethics Board (HREB) will continue reviewing and approving ethics applications, where appropriate.

Please check the Human Research Ethics website.

I have a research ethics approval that involves face-to-face methods for recruitment and/or data collection. If I change my current in-person behavioural research from face-to-face to remote methods, what is required?

Please submit a research ethics amendment for review. The HREB will assess amendments on a case-by-case basis, using up-to-date public health directives and the standard operating procedure during publicly declared emergencies for the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards. Please check the Human Research Ethics website.

Is research activity continuing at UVic?

While the university remains open, UVic is temporarily suspending all on-campus research and creative project activities as of 4:30 pm on Thursday March 26. This includes on-campus research activity performed by all faculty, students, post docs, staff, and visiting scientists. The exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in allow for continuity of only the most essential research operations on campus.

For more details please see the March 24 update from VPR Lisa Kalynchuk on the COVID-19 Research site.

I am proposing to conduct research about, or arising from, the COVID-19 situation that will involve human participants and/or human biological materials.

Researchers must submit a human research ethics application for review. Please contact the Human Research Ethics Office for special instructions ethics@uvic.ca.

Time sensitive review processes may be followed by the research ethics board, and if applicable, in coordination with BC health authorities and/or other BC post-secondary institutions.

Is the Office of Research Services (ORS) operating?

Yes. Many of our staff are working remotely so please use our email directory to connect https://www.uvic.ca/research/contact/index.php

For approval and online submission of research funding proposals, please email your full grant application with the completed research application summary form to your faculty grant officer, chair, dean and grants@uvic.ca. We will accept email confirmation from the required signatories during this period. We will continue to provide grant facilitation remotely for upcoming competitions as time and resources permit.

Please be sure to submit by the ORS internal deadline, which is ordinarily one week in advance of the external deadline.

We will provide updates on upcoming tri-agency competitions through our listservs. (Please sign up to the following appropriate group: Natural Sciences & Engineering; Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities; and Health & Medical Sciences Research).

For the time being, all meetings and capacity building events will be conducted via phone/Skype or web-conferencing.

For review and approval of research contracts and agreements, please send your scanned documents to contractsassistant@uvic.ca. We will arrange for the required signatures once the review process has been completed.

For queries related to institutional programs (Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chair, etc.), please contact sridirector@uvic.ca.

Is Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization (RPKM) operating?

Yes. Many of our staff are working remotely so please use our email directory to connect.

Will I get my new research account set up?

Yes, the ORS and research accounting will work with you to get your new research account set up. There may be some delays in the processing of appointment forms.

Please contact Debra Anderson at orsfince@uvic.ca.

With the potential scenario where the campus is closed with critical services only, what does Animal Care Services operations at critical services level mean?

Critical services refers to the maintenance of services on campus required to keep people on campus safe and campus facilities secure. We are working with affected researchers to determine how best to maintain critical research and animal lines. Please contact the animal ethics liaison (animalethics@uvic.ca) if you have questions.

Animal Care Services operating at a critical service level focuses on supporting animal health and welfare.

  • Animal health technician phone line (250-853-3682) will be monitored for voice mail messages related to urgent animal health and welfare queries
  • Call Campus Security (250-721-7599) if you require immediate assistance. They can reach key emergency personnel at animal services

Will I be reimbursed expenses if I hold a Scholarly Conference and Artistic Performance (SCAP) travel grant and my conference is cancelled due to COVID-19 related concerns?

Yes, you will be reimbursed for any expenses on the submission of receipts and a confirmation that the conference was cancelled by the organizers due to COVID-19-related concerns. 

Due to the limited nature of this fund, only direct costs related to travel and attendance at the event are eligible. Eligible expenses include conference fees, travel, accommodation and meals. All expenses must be supported by original receipts. Credit for airfares can be used for alternate conference attendance if eligible under the SCAP guidelines and used within the year of award.

Please refer to UVic's travel policy and internal grants web page for more information.

Will I be reimbursed for expenses if I hold a Scholarly Conference and Artistic Performance (SCAP) travel grant and cancel my attendance because of government travel advisories?

Please check the Government of Canada's website for the latest information on government travel advisories. If there are government-issued travel restrictions, you may be entitled to reimbursements for non-refundable expenses for cancellation.

Due to the limited nature of this fund, only direct costs related to travel and attendance at the event are eligible. Eligible expenses include conference fees, travel, accommodation and meals. All expenses must be supported by original receipts. Credit for airfares can be used for alternate conference attendance if eligible under the SCAP guidelines and used within the year of award.

Unexpended SCAP funding cannot be carried over into the following year. Faculty can reapply for SCAP grants in the next year.

Please refer to UVic's travel policy and internal grants web page for more information.

If I have expenses on my external research account related to cancelled travel due to COVID-19 related circumstances, will I be reimbursed?

This will depend on the source of funds used for the research travel.

The tri-agencies have confirmed that the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable considering the impacts of COVID-19. This applies to the travel of both principal investigators and research personnel, when cancellation occurs for various considerations and factors such as cancelled conferences, travel advisories (including those from Health Canada and Global Affairs Canada), or personal choice due to health or other concerns.

Given the uncertainty of the situation with COVID-19, the agencies suggest that those travelling for agency-funded research consider purchasing either cancellation insurance, or tickets that are at least partially refundable. In this specific situation, some additional cost could still be viewed as economical if it allows for partial or full reimbursement/credit in the event of cancellation.

For expenses on external funding other than tri-agency, please contact ORS orsfince@uvic.ca with the details of the research funding to check eligibility of the expenses for reimbursement.


For the latest UVic information, please check this website for updates. If you have further questions not covered by these FAQs, please email .