Latest Updates for Research Continuity

Overview of UCC & Research Business Continuity Updates – November 17th 2021

Research Continuity Business Team (RBCT) Latest - Updated 17th November 2021

  • Following the latest governmental announcement (see here), and the latest institutional guidance that on Campus delivery of teaching and research will continue unchanged, our current Research Business Continuity Team measures and guidance detailed below and on our webpages Research Business Continuity Supports, remains as is.

     

Main Guideline in Place 

Research is essential - researchers can continue all research activities on campus and can resume/commence research studies, namely non human-based studies off campus (Fieldwork) or human-focused studies (Research at Interface with Society/Volunteers-on-Campus studies). Prior approval by local Head (School/RICU) and in a limited number of cases the Head of College is required*.

  • *Instances where further approval may be required by the Head of College (or at the very least recommendations of instances where the Head of College is consulted with) are outlined in Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes. There is no 'one- size-fits-all' model - Schools/RICUs/Colleges should apply best practice, in line with institutional/national guidelines, as to what is appropriate for their area and the nature of the study/request.

Additional guidance

  • Weekly access figures for research areas/facilities must continue to be reported to UMT, forward to irene.kavanagh@ucc.ie as per the usual means.
  • Reinforce protective and cross-infection measures to the research community, as set out in the guidance in the Research Business Continuity Team webpages, Research Business Continuity Supports | University College Cork (ucc.ie), and also see COVID-19 Infection Control Measures (sharepoint.com)
  • Reinforcing the institutional guidance set out below
    • It is vital that all in our UCC Community continue to adopt the infection control measures we have in place on campus in full
    • Do not attend campus or undertake community based research/fieldwork,  if you are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19, if you are a confirmed case of Covid-19 or if you have been advised to self-isolate or restrict movements
    • the new Government guidance on household contacts of confirmed cases of Covid-19: “Household close contacts who are fully vaccinated and showing no symptoms should now restrict their movements until they have 3 negative antigen test results within 5 days.” I  acknowledge that this may cause additional worry and disruption.
    • Avail of the UCC Covid Tracker App.
    • Encourage participation in the Unicov study which provides free antigen and saliva tests for all participants acting as an indicator of any potential asymptomatic students or staff who may be infectious with Covid-19.

The Research Business Continuity Team (RBCT) updated guidance has been drafted based on the following national and institutional guidance currently available (and are subject to changes in Public Health/national guidance, see Public health measures for September and October).

  • Travel (updated Nov 17th 2021): Further national and institutional guidelines in relation to travel (domestic/international) for research purposes are detailed below

 Terms: Researchers – refers to all research personnel: research postgraduates, medical researchers, post-doctoral researchers, research technical/support staff, research assistants, research managers, PIs/supervisors/mentors, research administrators, senior research/academic staff, Heads and management of Departments/Units/Schools/RICUs/College.

Research - General Guidelines

Activity / Function

Research-General

Approval Process

Subsidiarity model for research approvals will continue.

Approval for all research access/activities is required from the Head of School/RICU Director (in a small number of cases from the Head of College).

Covid-19 Response Plan Documentation

Covid-19 Response Plans, Risk Assessments & any other associated documents must be updated as necessary or, for new studies – drafted.

Updates/new drafts for new approval requests must be submitted for prior approval to the relevant Head.

See Guidance on updating Covid-19 Response Plan documents, for research facilities on campus, available on the  Campus Business Continuity Team-Returning to Campus sharepoint.

For guidance on updating documents for Fieldwork (studies that are not human-focused) or Human-Focused studies (Research at the Interface with Society/Volunteeers-on-Campus), see Research Continuity Guidelines for Human-Focused Research or Guidelines for Human-Focused Research respectively. 

Attendance Records

Attendance records should be maintained for contact tracing purposes. All personnel accessing research facilities (research/academic staff, research support staff, students, contractors, visitors) should be recorded.

Covid-19 Infection Control Measures

Infection Control Measures must continue to be implemented and adhered to.

Induction Training/

Return to Work Forms

Prior to researchers returning to campus/resuming research, they must complete the Covid-19 Induction Training and submit a Pre-Return to Work Form, if they have not already completed them.

Research postgraduate students should undertake the Covid-19 Student Induction Training, available on Canvas.

Returning to campus

From September 2021, researchers/staff should liaise with their Supervisor/PI/Line-Manager to discuss their return to campus for the coming Academic Year.

Meetings

Conferences

See guidance on the Campus Business Continuity Team Sharepoint Guidance of meetings, conferences etc.

 

 

Local Unit FAQ (Campus Business Continuity Team)

Local-Unit-FAQ

Research-Facilities/Buildings

Activity / Function

Research Facilities/Buildings - see further info at Research continuity Guidelines for Access to Research Facilities & Buildings

Scientific/laboratory-based research

Laboratories: 2m social distancing should be maintained as much as possible. Where essential and necessary, laboratories can operate at 80% capacity with the use of face masks and other appropriate control measures.

Desk based research, research write-up areas and offices

Desk based research activities and office use are permitted with 2 metre physical distancing and other appropriate control measures. 

Ventilation

Adequate ventilation must be ensured in research areas including laboratories, write-up areas, areas for desk-based research, office spaces.

*See the national Work Safely Protocol for aguidance on ventilation.

For institutional guidance, see Mechanical Ventilation FAQs.  The Ventilation Policy provides further information.  If you have any queries after reading the guidance, contact BEreception@ucc.ie .

Congregating

Congregating must be avoided.

In research facilities/buildings where student lectures/teaching takes place, researchers should avoid corridors/foyers when students are accessing/exiting teaching areas/lecture theatres.

Eating/lunchbreaks

Use of kitchen and designated eating areas indoors for researchers is permitted – Covid-19 Infection Control Measures must continue to be implemented.

Congregational eating is not permitted.

Covid-19 Infection Control Measures in kitchen and designated eating areas indoors for researchers

Restaurants & Catering

See UCC Emergency Management Team - Teaching Delivery, Research, and On-Campus Activity for updates on restaurants and cafes on campus

Access for Performance Arts

Personnel (research/students) requiring access to facilities for performance should contact their college, CACSSS, for up-to-date advice and guidance. See Key Contacts for Research Continuity

Campus Business Continuity Team Local Unit FAQs

Local-Unit-FAQs

Research Studies - Fieldwork (non-human studies); Interface with Society (human-studies)

Activity / Function

Research Studies (Fieldwork; Interface with Society)

Fieldwork (no interface with society)

Research at Interface with Society/Volunteers on Campus

All activities can continue with appropriate protective measures in place.

Prior approval by Head of School/RICU Director.

See Research Continuity Guidelines for Fieldwork or Guidelines for Human-Focused Research

See national Work Safely Protocol for guidance on business trips, work in community settings.

Travel for Research

Activity/Function

Travel for Research

 

Travel domestic/international for research is permitted, in line with national guidelines and UCC Travel and Events.

 

National Guidelines for domestic/international travel

Covid-19 travel advice from the Dept. of the Taoiseach

Work Safely Protocol  - see guidance for business trips and carrying out work in community settings

DFA General Covid-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

Department of the Taoiseach-International Travel

  1. Where the destination country is within the EU Digital Covid Certificate system and neither Ireland or the destination country are restricting travel to essential travel only –> line manager/Head of School (or Dept.)/RICU Director approval is sufficient for the holder of an EU Digital Covid Certificate.
  2. Where either Ireland or the destination country are advising that travel to that country should be restricted to essential travel only -> approval from your Head of College/ University Management Team member is required to confirm that the travel can be categorised as essential from a UCC perspective.
  3. Where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a travel advisory of “do not travel” for a destination country -> travel is not authorised by the University during such period of designation.

 Insurance

Travel insurance coverage may not be straightforward, particularly for international travel.

Consult with the UCC Office of Corporate and Legal Affairs for further advice as necessary

 

Other guidance

Use of the gov.ie Covid-Tracker App and the UCC Covid Tracker and Day Pass App is recommended

 UCC Researchers travelling abroad are recommended to avail of and use the EU Digital Covid Certificate

Further Guidance

Activity / Function

Further Guidance

 

 

Do use the UCC COVID Tracker App daily before coming to campus;

 

Do take up of the opportunity to avail of the State’s programme for vaccination against Covid-19

 

Do consider enrolling in the UniCoV Study comparing Antigen Testing with Saliva testing to detect asymptomatic Covid-19 infection.

 

Research and Innovation

Taighde agus Nuálaíocht

Office of Vice President for Research & Innovation 4th Floor Block E, Food Science Building UCC

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