Guidance about research continuity


This message to all students, faculty and staff has been approved by Dr. Gary K. Ostrander, Vice President for Research.

Dear Colleagues,

We are asking the FSU research community to take all reasonable precautions to preserve public safety as you continue your research and creative activities. At this point, employees (including GAs and RAs) who can work remotely are strongly encouraged to do so, but the university is not closed. Many of you have research projects that require access to equipment, cell cultures, restricted databases, etc., that cannot be conducted from your home. Presently, it is acceptable for you to remain in your research spaces if social distancing requirements can be met. However, please note that campus operations may be further curtailed as this unprecedented situation evolves. Please begin making plans for this possibility.

While the information provided below should answer many/most of your questions, we are setting up a Zoom call for Tuesday, March 24, at 10 am to address research issues. Kerry Peluso (AVP Finance and Administration), Laurel Fulkerson (AVP Research), and Gary K. Ostrander (VP Research) will all be on the call and will answer questions and discuss issues in real time.

The call information is Join Zoom Meeting or phone one-tap: US: +16465588656,,319940029# or +13126266799,,319940029#

In the interim, we remain available to help you as needs arise:

Gary K. Ostrander
Laurel Fulkerson
Kerry Peluso


Here are some recommended steps:

  • Make sure you have up-to-date contact information for faculty/staff/students.
  • Review contingency plans and emergency procedures with researchers, students, and staff; establish a medium for communications.
  • Rethink space usage to allow for six feet or more between people. Consider movement within spaces where multiple people work; reduce the number of shared surfaces.
  • Consider staggering personnel to work at different times of the day or different days of the week. Make sure necessary personnel have access (buildings may be locked).
  • Cross-train staff to perform critical functions, in preparation for a further reduced workforce.
  • Coordinate with colleagues with similar research activities to help ensure mutual support and coverage of critical activities should staffing density on campus be reduced.
  • Encourage researchers to be familiar with each other’s work if an absence would threaten the integrity of experiments, including across labs or units.
  • Plan for reduction or cessation in access to core facilities, machine shops, and regular janitorial, mail/package delivery, or other facility services.
  • Prepare for interruptions in service providers from outside the university.
  • Determine if there are alternate vendors or options if one delivery provider is interrupted.
  • Ensure regular/automatic data backup and remote access to data.
  • Download necessary software onto a laptop or home computer, keeping in mind licensing limits.
  • Employees may take home desktops and the like (see the off-site technology equipment use form) but in no event are specimens or lab equipment to leave FSU.
  • Ensure that any additional costs resulting from actions taken as a result of COVID-19 are tracked separately. We will provide further guidance on tracking in the coming days.

Future planning (much of this guidance has already been circulated):

  • Maintain inventory (but please do not hoard); consider not ordering more than a few weeks’ worth of perishable supplies.
  • Consider what sensitive laboratory instrumentation could be powered down if necessary and how that would be accomplished. Think about how items that would be difficult to power down and restore could be maintained during a prolonged shutdown.
  • Think through what is absolutely required (e.g. checking on freezers) in the event of full university closure.
  • Think about samples/supplies and their long-term storage and/or disposal, especially if they are hazardous or unstable.
  • Post up-to-date emergency contact information outside of labs.
  • Check with current grant sponsors for information about no-cost extensions, deadlines, etc. SRA or the Research Foundation can help.
  • Allow additional time for future proposal submissions in the event thatsupport staff are not readily available.

Further resources:

Please direct all questions to the OVPR.  Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones in this trying time.

Office of Research