Research Re-start and Recovery Application Process

(Updated March 23, 2021)

All requests to resume on and off-campus research activities that have been shut-down or prevented from starting as a result of COVID-19 require the approval of the Vice-Dean Research in the Faculty of Arts & Science. 

Re-start requests are assessed using the following institutional documents and Principal Investigators (PIs) are required to review them before completing the A&S Research Re-Start and Recovery online application process:

New — Off-Campus Field and Third-Party Site Research

Researchers who wish to conduct research at an off-campus site or conduct on-site field research (e.g. Koffler Scientific Reserve, Hart House Farm, Gull Lake) must first complete and submit (in PDF format) the new online Face-to-Face and Off-Campus (F2FOC) COVID-19 Review Form to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) at ehs.office@utoronto.ca.

New — Face to Face (F2F) Human Participants Research (On or Off-Campus)

The University of Toronto’s Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are accepting submissions of Face to Face (F2F) human research protocols. Complete details about the process and the risk levels currently being considered can be found on the Review Of Face-To-Face and Off-Campus Research webpage and Face-to-Face Human Research Review Status webpage.  Researchers must first complete and submit the Face-to-Face and Off-Campus (F2FOC) COVID-19 Review Form with their Research Ethics submission (to be uploaded as a PDF copy to the Documents Summary (Section #13) of their My Research Human Protocols (MRHP) new submission or amendment).

New — Updates to Vice-Dean Research Approval Process

For both Off-Campus Field/Third-Party Site Research and F2F Human Participants Research, respectively, Vice-Dean Research approval will follow OHS and Face-to-Face COVID-19 Review Committee approvals, respectively.

Guidelines for On-Campus Research in Arts & Science

Arts & Science currently considers applications that fall within Stage 3 of the On-Campus Research Recovery Plan, provided that plans meet the following criteria:

  • At least two meters physical distancing within all research spaces must always be maintained
  • Occupancy in any given research space cannot exceed 50% design capacity at any time
  • Wearing non-medical masks or face coverings is required

Please Note 

  • Before proceeding with in-person human participants research planning, PIs must consult and follow the University of Toronto Guidance for the Recovery of Human Research During the COVID-19 Pandemic. New or amended PI plans cannot be submitted for review and approval until PIs and/or trainees have secured the appropriate Research Ethics Board approval (i.e. for amended or new protocols). (This applies to on-and-off campus research).
  • All approvals for new or expanded on-campus research activities must be preceded (or accompanied) by an approved Research or Unit-wide re-opening plan, inclusive of detailed safety and physical distancing plans for all shared Departmentally managed research spaces.  
  • All individuals doing on-campus research must review and follow the university’s COVID-19 General Workplace Guidelines, specifically as outlined within their respective unit’s Research/Unit Re-opening plan.

To accommodate the various approaches to research and the needs of all units in Arts & Science, there are two distinct processes to facilitate accessing on-campus research during Stage 3: 

*A research team/group is herein defined as an inter-dependent group that is led by a PI, who supervises trainees on overlapping projects, usually with shared space and equipment, which they are responsible for managing.

PI Online Application Submission Instructions

A&S Research Re-start and Recovery Application

  • The following types of PI Plans should be submitted vis-à-vis the A&S Research Re-start and Recovery Platform: 
    • New or Revised Individual PI-led On-Campus or Off-Campus Research Plans 
      • For all revised PI-plans, indicate the new date beside the old one and highlight the new information (i.e. in yellow) to distinguish updates clearly
    • New or Revised PI-led On-Campus or Off-Campus Research Teams/Groups, including plans for:  
      • research staff (i.e. Research Associates, appointed-USW staff, and/or employee postdoctoral fellows, graduate students or undergraduate students), and/or
      • research trainees (i.e. Graduate students, non-employee postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate scholarship/fellowship awardees and project course students. 
    • Note, there is a distinct process for Koffler Scientific Reserve research, outlined below).
  • To submit your A&S Research Re-start and Recovery application, follow the submission instructions on the submission platform.
  • Ensure you select the Department where you hold your primary academic appointment. 
  • Once submitted, your application will advance to your Unit Approver (i.e., Chair or Director) for review and approval, followed by Vice Dean Research review. 

Completed applications include: 

PI Instructions — Field-work Requests for Koffler Scientific Reserve

Submit your completed FilePrincipal Investigator (PI) Research Re-start Request Form — Off-campus Field & Third-party Site Research (Word) directly to John Stinchcombe, Director of KSR (ksr.info@utoronto.ca), who will review and make recommendations to the Vice-Dean Research.

Completed applications include – one single attachment (PDF), including: 

  1. Completed Off-campus application form.
  2. Attestation forms for any:
  3. *New* Completed Face-to-Face and Off-Campus (F2FOC) COVID-19 Review Form (Approved by OHS).
  4. Additional supporting documents, as required.

Unit Approver (Chair/Director) Review and Approval Instructions

  • Each time a PI submits an application, you will receive an email notification via Microsoft Flow – Subject “For Chair/Director Review…”.  
  • To review the application, follow the prompts in the message to access the file. 
  • Note: It is important that you not delete these messages until you have either approved or rejected the application via the email message. This is required in order to move the application through the approval workflow. 
  • If you approve the application, it will advance in the workflow to the Vice Dean Research for review and approval. 
  • In cases where graduate students or non-employee postdoctoral fellows have either not yet been assigned a supervisor or they undertake research activities independently from their supervisor’s research, these trainees:

Additional Stage 3 On-Campus Research Considerations for PI’s & Units

  • Trainees and PIs who would benefit from performing research activities within their offices or study carrels are welcome to apply for permission to resume on-campus research activities.
  • Likewise, as the University has advised since the research re-start process was initiated in June, we ask that Units and PIs undertake this transition gradually and continue having the majority of individuals continue performing research activities remotely.

Please contact Lisa Rumiel, Director, Research Services, (lisa.rumiel@utoronto.ca) for more information.