Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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COVID-19 Research Update: April 9, 2020

Memo from Interim Vice Chancellor for Research Matthew Mench regarding research continuity during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

New guidances have been posted on the Office of Research and Engagement’s COVID-19 Research FAQ regarding:

  • Pursuing lab-based research off campus
    There should be no transfer of equipment off campus outside of basic computer and connectivity equipment without first acquiring approval through the Exception Request Form. Note that exceptions will be very limited, and only for cases where the personnel will face a sufficiently reduced risk by moving the laboratory-based research off campus. In some limited cases, temporary transfer of some items could be approved to facilitate safe research.
  • Guidance for conducting field research during the COVID-19 pandemic
    To ensure the safety of field personnel during the present pandemic, UT has developed guidelines for conducting field research activities while reducing risk and exposure to COVID-19. If you wish to continue existing fieldwork projects or initiate new field research, you must submit a plan requesting fieldwork approval.

More information on these guidances is found at the COVID-19 Research Facilities FAQ.

Summer REU students

The university will not be housing any incoming students on campus this summer, so any Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) which would have come in under this situation must be converted to virtual experiences, cancelled, or deferred. To date, funding agencies have allowed no-cost extensions and deferrals for these activities if desired. Summer REUs are allowed if they can be converted, with sponsor approval, to a remote work experience. All other summer research REU students would fall under the research activity guidelines established.  Currently, we continue to operate at a reduced on campus state, limited to research operations which are defined at research.utk.edu/tag/covid-19/

New research opportunities

New opportunities continue to emerge and are posted on ORE’s COVID-19 Funding Opportunities page. Fastgrants.org has set aside $10 million for research related to COVID-19 science. Researchers can apply for $10,000–$500,000 grants, with decisions made in 48 hours. Please contact ORE staff via email for more information regarding these and other grants posted on the funding page.