Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Field Research Activities at Queen’s University

Updated April 23, 2020

Faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students who feel their field research should be deemed “essential,” and that it must be conducted in the spring/summer term, are asked to fill out a Request to Continue Critical Field Research Form.  Principal Investigators must sign the form, then a) in departmentalized faculties submit to the department head and then the faculty dean, or b) in non-departmentalized faculties, submit directly to the dean. Should the department head and dean agree that the work must continue, the request will then be forwarded to the VP (Research) for review and approval. Investigators will be informed of the decision within a week of submitting the request.

Please review the criteria carefully when determining if your field research is critical, time-sensitive and able to be performed in a manner that does not jeopardize the health and safety of the broader community or person performing the work.

The following criteria will be considered in the deliberation:

  • The time-sensitive nature of the project will be considered (i.e. the variable of interest can only be observed, measured, evaluated during the spring/summer season)
  • The variable of interest is time-sensitive and part of a longitudinal study
  • The field research can be conducted while complying with physical distancing and hygiene protocols as required by Public Health, Government of Canada, and Province of Ontario. The following should be considered:
    • Transportation plan (location will be a driving factor in deliberations)
    • Accommodation/lodging plan
    • Accommodations and food preparation if the research is to occur at a field station
    • The requirements of some protocols to require multiple people working together, or the safety considerations of potentially working alone
    • The possibility of injury in the field
  • The project does not require face-to-face interaction with human participants
  • The project does not require new animals to be cared for in the Animal Care Facilities
  • Mitigation plan to return safely from the field if any member of the research team becomes ill or injured 
  • Travel can be domestic only, given current suspensions on international travel
  • OCASP, animal care, etc. approvals are required as with normal field research activities.

Although we recognize the serious and long-lasting impact this may have on research projects and personnel, our priority at this moment is the health and safety of our researchers, staff, and students.  We appreciate the creative conversations between faculty supervisors, trainees, the school of graduate studies, and unit heads to seek ways to transform research activities so that productivity and forward progress is maintained. 

This policy was drafted based on discussion with university research portfolios across Ontario.


Download a copy of this policy and the Request to Continue Critical Research Form.