Research Restart

This site provides guidance on SBS Implementation of RII's Research Restart Plan, which facilitates phased restarting or commencing of research that has been paused in light of the COVID19 pandemic.  To minimize mass emails, this site will be the primary means of communicating research restart guidance and policies within SBS.  Further content including FAQs will be coming soon. Please check frequently for updates (last updated July 2, 2020).

SBS implementation is led by SBS Associate Dean for Research (ADR) Jane Zavisca.

Both university and external conditions related to the pandemic are changing rapidly. Many UA policies and guidance relevant to research restart are in draft form, or subject to change (e.g. PPE and hygiene training, protocols, and provisioning; field research guidance; travel restrictions and authorizations; campus research facility reopening schedules such as labs, libraries, and museums). 

Note that guidance for approval of field research and research-related travel has been drafted but is not yet approved (as of July 2). This guidance is under review by the UA President's Senior Leadership Team. In the meantime you may submit an RII checklist, which will expedite approval once the guidance is finalized. Until the guidance is approved, field research requires an approved essential research waiver, and research travel requires both an essential research waiver and extraordinary travel approval from the Provost (contact SBS ADR Jane Zavisca for further instructions if this is urgently needed).

No approval is needed for research conducted in a 100% remote environment (off-campus, no face-to-face interaction, no travel, etc.).

Steps to seek approval

SBS researchers seeking approval to restart, modify, or commence research that has been paused or deferred in light of COVID19 must do the following:

  1. Check with your Department Head or Director on any unit-level requirements or guidance for restarting research (in addition to those provided by SBS and RII).
  2. Develop written documents/plans for COVID19-related research safety protocols (the RII checklist in step 2 will ask for verification that these have been created).
  3. Submit an RII Research Restart Checklist (administered via a Qualtrics survey--see guidance below before initiating).
  4. Submit the SBS Research Supplementary Form and any written research safety protocols via email to Note: form updated to v2.1 on 7/2/20. 
  5. Complete any additional compliance processes required for your research (e.g. IRB approval, travel authorization). 

Getting Help

Guidance on RII checklist

Plan your responses before submitting. Researchers are advised to plan responses to the RII checklist prior to opening the Qualtrics survey. Once the survey is started, it cannot be restarted from the same ip address before completion and submission, and it is not possible to back up to previous pages to revise responses. The RII website contains links to pdf and docx versions of the checklist (they may be slightly out of date as the qualtrics survey continues to be edited).

Consult with your Department Head or Director (DHD) before submitting. The checklist will be automatically forwarded to your DHD. SBS' ADR will confirm that your DHD is aware and supportive of your application prior to approval. (Note: In some units the DHD may delegate management of the approval process to a faculty Research Director.)

For student-led research: Consult with your advisor before submitting. SBS' ADR will also confirm that your advisor is aware and supportive of your application prior to approval.

Be judicious in selecting "No" vs. "N/A" for items on the checklist. 

  • Select N/A only if the question is not applicable to your research context. For example, the question block on "holding a research team meeting to discuss safely commencing work" is irrelevant for projects with only one researcher.
  • If a question is possibly relevant, but you cannot confidently answer yes at the time of submission, answer "No."  For example, on the question block on "establishing cleaning and disinfection routines for all unique resources and environments," answer "No" if you have not yet been able to acquire necessary supplies, signage, etc. The ADR will follow up with you to understand the rationale for the No response, and approval could be granted conditional on addressing those items prior to commencing). 

Guidance on SBS Supplementary Form

The supplementary form gathers additional information beyond the checklist to expedite ADR review. 

Question 7 identifies categories of research that RII has indicated should be prioritized for approval in phase 3 (student/postdoc completion, advancement of early-career researchers, completion of grants with inflexible end dates, seasonal/deadline-driven data collection, COVID-19 related research). if your research does not fall into one of these categories, you may still apply for approval in Phase 3. This information will be used by the ADR to prioritize review of checklists, if the volume of requests for approval exceeds timely response on a first-come first-served basis. Directors of research labs or facilities requiring scheduled access are also  encouraged to prioritize projects in these categories.

Question 9 identifies research that entails human participants in studies that are not technically  human subjects research, but where research methods may entail similar in-person interactions, such as oral history, journalism, and some evaluation research.  The latter are not subject to review by IRB and do not have access to HSSP resources for assessing and mitigating risk to participants. SBS' ADR, in collaboration with colleagues in other colleges, will be developing resources to assist researchers doing such work.

Question 11 requests information about grants, contracts or fellowships. Please list all such support, whether from sources internal or external to UA.  Some common sponsors have requirements and resources related to COVID19, so it is useful for the ADR to be aware of them. SBS' ADR recognizes that much research in SBS is not sponsored, and will not prioritize approvals on the basis of sponsorship (except in cases of time-sensitive sponsor requirements related to COVID19). 

Question 12 requests a list of all UA members of the research team. If you are expecting to build a team but have not yet identified all members (e.g. GRA), indicate the role and put TBD for name.

Question 13 requests a list of all external collaborators. If you are expecting to engage external collaborators/partners, but have not yet identified them, indicate the type of collaborator/partner you are seeking, and put TBD for name.

Question 14 requests a list of partner entities such as other organizations, institutions, government authorities. If there are any, list them in 14a, and then answer additional questions 14b-d on partner entity authorizations, capacities, and protocols.  

Question 17 requests a project description describing the research and proposed timeline; rationale for restart on proposed timeline; and summary of COVID19 risk mitigation strategies. The purpose is to provide narrative context that cannot readily be communicated via RII's checklist, which will have uneven applicability to the wide variety of research in SBS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I need to travel for my research? What travel is allowed, and how do I get approval? (posted 6/9/20)

A. All research involving travel will require an approved checklist. Travel out of the state of Arizona or to Native Nations / Tribal Lands (even if within Arizona) will require additional approval. RII is working on a new research travel authorization process in light of COVID19 (I will notify researchers in SBS when it launches). In the meantime, you may submit an RII Checklist and SBS Supplementary Form, which may be conditionally approved pending travel authorization. If you urgently need to travel in for your research, contact ADR Jane Zavisca at to explore options for obtaining an essential research waiver and extraordinary travel approval (will likely only be granted in extremely urgent circumstances).

Q. How can students apply for approval to restart research? (posted 6/9/20)

A. If the student is participating in faculty-led research, the faculty member should submit the request for approval for their broader research project (list student researchers as part of the research team on the SBS supplementary form). If the student is leading an independent research project such as an independent dissertation, the student should be named as the PI/Project Leader, and the advisor contact information should also be provided. Either the student or the advisor may submit the form, but in either case the student is expected to work with the advisor on completing the checklist, SBS supplementary form, and any additional written plans and protocols needed for safe conduct of the research. 

Q. RII's website indicates that guidance on Field Research is "coming soon." How does RII define field research, when is the guidance coming, and do I have to wait for it before I can submit a checklist for approval? (updated 7/2/20)

A. For purposes of restarting research, RII's definition is as follows: "Field research includes but is not limited to all research taking place off-campus, in settings that involve human co-location or interaction, or that require travel (including locally) to reach them. This could include, but is not limited to, environmental and agricultural research at field stations, social science research in community settings, humanities research in off-campus archives, and creative productions in off-campus arts or related venues." 

 Draft guidance on resuming field/off-campus research is under review by the UA President's Senior Leadership Team and not yet approved. In the meantime you may submit your checklist on the basis of draft guidance, which will expedite approval once the guidance is finalized. The draft field research guidance is here. 


Q. Who is responsible for covering the cost of PPE and sanitation supplies for research? (posted 6/9/20)

A. Further guidance will be coming soon (hopefully the week of June 15). The general plan is that researchers with grants should first ask the sponsor to cover costs (either through reallocation of current budget or through a budget supplement -- contact ADR Jane Zavisca for advice on approaching sponsors). When sponsored funds are not available, SBS will endeavor to cover costs from college resources (up to a limit TBD). For this to be feasible, all researchers need to carefully assess what they need (with guidance from RLSS), and endeavor not to order more than they need. The college may not be able to cover extraordinary PPE or space configuration costs, and will work with researchers on a case by case basis to identify potential sources of support.