Research, scholarship, and creative activities (RSCA) continue to be an essential component of CSUN’s mission. In support of that, CSUN is re-opening research labs and design space as health and safety allow. The first priority is opening the research labs supporting instructional activity, followed by opening labs supporting funded research and activities, and as public health guidance allows, opening research labs and creative activity studios that enable our faculty to continue their work in support of the campus’ primary instructional, research and artistic mission.
Research labs and essential field research projects are continuing to be reviewed and approved according to our phased approach to RSCA adaptation and restart. Although most classes at CSUN are virtual for Fall 2020, some exceptions have been made for a limited number of in-person courses and labs that require on-campus experiences. All supported research activities have been reviewed and approved as consistent with state, local, and CSU health and safety guidance, and CSUN has worked aggressively to address public health guidelines in preparing facilities for the fall semester.
Laboratory SafetyThe campus has conducted assessments of research laboratories and other spaces that may be used to support necessary research activities that cannot be conducted virtually. These rooms have been prepared for the fall semester through enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, posting room use and hygiene protocols, altering seating arrangements for social distancing, and installing directional signage. In addition, specific safety protocols for research activities have been developed and implemented, including the determination of new maximum occupancy limits.
Maintaining FundingFunding agencies, including federal, state, and local funders, have shown considerable flexibility with proposal submission deadlines as well as allowable spending, project extensions, and required reports for current awards. If you have an upcoming proposal or an already-funded project and you’d like to see what options are available, the most important thing you can do is reach out to the program officer at your funding agency and begin that conversation. CSUN is maintaining updated guidance from many of our agency partners here. If you need help navigating the new rules or just have questions and want to talk to someone about your proposal or funded project, please reach out anytime to your assigned analyst. (Analyst assignments are based on your college, department, or chartered center or institute.)
Research with Human or Animal SubjectsThe safety of research participants and study personnel is our highest priority. All human subjects research that involves in-person (face-to-face) procedures is currently suspended, even if it was previously approved by the CSUN IRB. However, we have developed a process to permit accelerated review of modification requests to help your study pivot to remote data collection that replaces face-to-face contact. We strongly encourage all student and faculty researchers beginning new projects in the fall – especially students planning to graduate in Spring 2021 – to focus on secondary data analysis or remote data collection procedures. Please contact the IRB at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or would like to discuss potential changes to your study.
For animal research and classroom projects, we have similarly prioritized the safety of the lab animals under our care. Basic care of all animals is able to continue regardless of campus closure, as the vivarium supervisor is designated "essential personnel" and permitted to be on campus in all scenarios. The vivarium lab safety assessments have recently been completed, and faculty investigators will be able to resume their projects shortly. Please note that the vivarium will post both a per-room occupancy for each module and an overall maximum occupancy for the entire vivarium suite; both limits must be observed at all times.
Prioritizing HealthAll students, staff, and faculty must take the Qualtrics screening survey and be cleared before coming to campus or reporting to an off-site research location. Students and faculty who are in high-risk groups especially vulnerable to COVID-19 should not participate in on-campus activities at this time. Anyone who does participate should understand and acknowledge the risk of infection and commit to shared responsibility for protecting themselves and others by following protocols and public health guidelines.
Please visit the CSUN Research and Sponsored Programs website for more information on any of these topics.