Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

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

Queen’s University Research Facility Start-Up and Requests for On-Site Access

Updated August 26, 2020

As you are aware, we have had a Research Impact Committee that has been approving various aspects of the research start-up process. When we moved to Priority 2 research requests, approvals were delegated to the Faculties with approvals for field research and research involving human subjects remaining under the purview of the committee. We are now at a point where it is appropriate for field research and research involving human subjects to be approved at the Faculty level.

The Research Impact Committee is now morphing to a Research Response Team which will be preparing various response plans and communications to support the appropriate continuity of research in the event of an outbreak. We will continue to consult with Faculties in the development of these plans.

Please contact your Associate Dean of Research or Department Head if you have any questions or concerns.


Updated June 11, 2020

On April 23rd, we released a process to help guide requests for on-site research access. The process outlined three priority timelines by which facilities could be opened in order, from immediate priority to long term priority, and in a manner which ensured the safety of researchers and the communities in which the research is undertaken. Since this time only Priority Timeline 1 (Research requiring immediate on-site activity to minimize negative impacts which would occur by the end of the summer) requests have been reviewed and approved, with a significant portion of the approvals related to supporting timely COVID-19 research and long running research in which a serious loss of research material, data, or equipment could occur.

Through this process over 300 research personnel in 28 buildings have received access. These approvals have not granted access to office spaces or the complete return of full research programs, but rather are focused on specific tasks and requirements. The process has been overseen by a committee chaired by me, and with participation from the Faculties and shared service providers including Physical Plant Services and Environmental Health and Safety. We have been ahead of many other Universities in granting access and I want to thank those researchers who have worked through the process.

We are now at a point where we can begin to consider Priority Timeline 2 (Research requiring on-site activity to minimize negative impacts that would occur by the end of 2020) requests, however, it has become apparent that these decisions are going to be constrained by physical distancing requirements in buildings and potentially by other activities, as the Provincial legislation allows the University to open more fully. In order to facilitate a timely response to Priority Timeline 2 requests, we are transitioning from approval through the University level committee chaired by the Vice-Principal (Research), to the Faculties in coordination with the recently formed Campus Operations Group chaired by the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). 

We anticipate this transition will be complete by approximately June 5th. During the transition only Priority Timeline 1 requests will continue to be accepted and reviewed by the committee chaired by me (request form). In addition, we are piloting Priority Timeline 2 requests in three buildings: Botterell Hall, Ellis Hall and Chernoff Hall. Learnings from this pilot will help to inform Faculty processes.

Faculty of Arts and Science Associate Dean Research Nick Mosey has prepared a chart, which is a useful visualization of the phases we have undertaken, and plan to undertake, to bring back on-site research activity.

It is important that I state clearly: requests for on-site access are to be done so judiciously and that undertaking research remotely is still the preferred option. On-site access is challenging to facilitate and requires significant resources of building managers and custodial staff. This is not the process to gain access to your office or meet with students; those details will come as a broader reopening of the campus is planned.

One additional point for clarity: Requests to Continue Critical Field Research and Requests for Access to Library Print Material via Curbside Pickup, will continue to be reviewed independently of the requests for on-site research. Given the implications to communities external to Queen’s, field research requests will be approved by the central committee chaired by me. Print material access will continue to be guided by the Library.

Given the evolving situation and the trajectory of the pandemic, researchers should anticipate that facilities, including University properties outside of Kingston, could again be shutdown at any time.

Public Health and Building Preparation Guidance FAQ for Research Priority Timeline 1 and 2 have been made available to assist faculty, unit heads, and building managers/officials in preparing for on-site research facility start-up following approval of a research access request

Research Priority Timelines

As stated above, opening of Queen’s research facilities and on-site access will be initiated through research priority timelines in order to ensure a systematic and well supported restart. The facilities will be opened in order from immediate priority to long term priority, in a manner which ensures the safety of researchers and the communities in which the research is undertaken.

Priority Timeline 1: Research requiring immediate on-site activity to minimize negative impacts which would occur by the end of the summer

  • Research related to SARS-CoV–2/COVID–19 that cannot be undertaken remotely;
  • Long running research/field research in which a serious loss of research material, data, or equipment could occur if the work was disrupted, is at a critical stage or close to an end-point;
  • On-going studies that require regular care, conditioning or inspections (e.g., maintenance of cells, animals, breeding colonies, or tissues);
  • Equipment which must be inspected regularly;
  • Research specifically to address reviewer requirements to complete manuscripts in revision;
  • Research required to meet a contract deadline which cannot be renegotiated;
  • Research that, if paused, would negatively impact the ability of a graduate student to complete program requirements within the next three months and requires minimal on-site work/time to complete;
  • Highly unique research circumstances.

Priority Timeline 2: Research requiring on-site activity to minimize negative impacts that would occur by the end of 2020

  • Research that, if paused, would negatively impact the ability of a student to complete program requirements within the next six months;
  • Research that is needed to address critical career and grant applications prior to Dec 30/2020.

Priority Timeline 3: Research where the impacts of being unable to conduct on-site activities start after the end of 2020

  • New and early stage projects and experimental directions;
  • Research that is being/can be undertaken remotely due to the nature of the research.
  • Please review the criteria carefully when determining if your 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.
Process for the Priority 1 Timeline Requests:

Principal Investigators/faculty members must prepare and sign the Request to Undertake Research On-Site Form, then:

  • In Departmentalized Faculties submit to the Unit Head.  If the Unit Head recommends the request, they will then forward the signed request to the Faculty Dean (or delegate).
  • In Non-Departmentalized Faculties, submit directly to the Dean.

Should the Dean recommend that the work continue, the request will then be forwarded by the Dean to the VP (Research) for review and approval. The VP (Research) will only consider recommendations received from Faculty Deans to research@queensu.ca; Principal Investigators should not make requests directly to the VP (Research).

Please note: Postdoctoral Fellows and graduate students must work with their Principal Investigator/faculty member/Supervisor if requesting access. The Principal Investigator/faculty member/Supervisor will be responsible for all activities of Postdoctoral Fellows, graduate students and research staff who report directly to them.

Download the Request to Undertake Research On-Site form.

Public Health Resources