Guidelines for Access to Research Facilities (for all Researchers)

General Guidelines

  • All areas where research is being carried out /research facilities require Covid-19 Response Plan (CRP) Documentation. 
  • Prior approval is required for all researchers to gain access to research facilities. 
  • For Access during national Covid-19 Level 5 Restrictionsin addition to CRP Documentation researchers (PIs) must complete a Justification for Continuation of Essential Research during Level 5 Restrictions 2021 form (see Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates) to obtain prior approval. 
  • All CRP Documentation must be approved/signed by Head of School/RICU, or where delegated by the Head of Department/equivalentIn some instancesadditional approval must be obtained from the Head of College (i.e. visitors-researchers from abroad, students from other HEIs, see RBCT Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes). 
  • During national Covid-19 Level 5 Restrictions further/additional approval may be required from Head of College for access for desk-based research. This additional approval is at the discretion of the Head of College (see Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes) and the Implementation of Principles of Access for Desk-Based Research & Write Up Areasaccessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates).

Drafting a New or Updating Covid-19 Response Plan (CRP) Documentation for Access to UCC Research Facilities

In drafting a new, or updating an existing, CRP consult with the CBCT Returning to Campus on the following: 

Other important templates to complete/update your Unit Covid-19 Response Plan are available on (the CBCT) Returning to Campus guidelines and include the following: 

For research purposes, in addition to the CBCT Resumption of Activities Procedurethe following guidelines and templates are to be included to draft a new/update an existing CRP as necessary: 

Content of the Template Covid-19 Response Plan-Access to UCC Research Facilities (accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates) must be referred to in drafting the CRP, which includes the following:

  • name/location of your research facility 
  • The revision number of the CRP (ie Revision 1/2/3 etc.) 
  • The author/s of the CRP Document 
  • The name, signature of the authorised approving person - Head of School/RICU, or where delegated the Head of Department/equivalent, and in some cases the Head of College, as outlined in Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes) 
  • A Signed Statement of Assurance from the Head of School/RICU and (if required – see Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes) a Letter of Assurance from the Head of School/RICU to the Head of College (a general template for a Letter of Assurance from Head School/RICU to the Head of College, accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates.
  • A Policy Statement 
  • Details of Covid-19 Response Team and Persons of Responsibility 
  • Details of Lead Workers 

CRPs for Access to Research Facilities must take note of the following: 

  • Covid-19 Infection Control Measures 
  • Commonly used surfaces, shared equipment are to be visibly clean and cleaned regularly with products containing 70% ethanol, except in areas in and around Bunsen Burners. 
  • Virkon should not be used as it is an irritant. 
  • Shared equipment should be cleaned with 70% ethanol before and after each use. 
  • Regular cleaning is the responsibility of all researchers/personnel to clean commonly used surfaces (touch points) and shared equipment. 
  • Research facilities should be cleaned by professional cleaners on a daily basis. 
  • Face Masks 
  • See HSE Guidelines on Face Masks 
  • Face Visors are not acceptable substitutes for Face Masks, but some research protocols may require the use of face visors in addition to masks. 
  • Researchers must wear face masks in communal areas and where circulating the building. 
  • During national Covid-19 Level 5 Restrictions face masks must be worn by all researchers/personnel throughout the research facility. 
  • Breaks and Eating 
  • Detail in accordance with the CBCT template for a Unit Covid-19 Response Plan. 
  • During national Level 5 Restrictions, communal eating or any congregation in communal areas is not permitted. 
  • If applicable, the CRP for Access to Research Facilities should include the following: 
  • Visiting Researchers: For visiting researchers CRPs should take into account the necessary protocols and procedures for visitors requiring access to the research facility and insurance considerations). Protocols for visiting researchers include: 
  • Research Students from other HEIs 
  • Visiting Researchers from abroad which should take into consideration the  Travel Guidelines for Research-Related Activities (accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates and facilitating access to the UCC Covid-19 Tracker and Day Pass APP. 
  • Desk-based Research: Where access to research facilities is required for desk-based researchCRPs must include a section relating to the protocols and procedures relating to this activity. Details should refer to the Implementation of Principles of Access for Desk-Based Research & Write Up Areas. A template Protocol for Desk-Based Research and Write-up Areas should be incorporated into your CRP as/if necessary, as outlined in the Template Covid-19 Response Plan-Access to UCC Research Facilities. The relevant guidelines and templates can be accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates. 

Additional Links


Research and Innovation

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