Author: Jessica McBride

Important Notice on Proposal Submission Policy

Revision Date: March 8, 2021 – revisions in italics

As an applicant organization, UConn/UConn Health has an institutional responsibility to verify the accuracy, validity, conformity, and eligibility of all applications submitted to a sponsor on behalf of the University. We have been exploring how to ensure the best delivery of services, meet sponsor and institutional policy requirements that were highlighted in the recent NSF audit, and to ensure that the University has sufficient time to review and certify proposals and increase the number of successful applications. To that end, we have conducted a survey of all faculty who submitted grant proposals within the last two years, listened to the research community’s comments at town halls, and solicited input from the President, Provost, deans, associate deans for research, the President’s Research Advisory Council, University Senate, and other faculty groups.

This listening process revealed that one of the main challenges for both investigators and staff is the bottleneck that occurs immediately prior to proposal submission. In recent years, nearly two-thirds of proposals submitted (with all components ready) are received by Sponsored Program Services (SPS) within one working day or less of the sponsor deadline.

Numerous proposals are being submitted just barely in time, meaning there is little time for a thorough review. Additionally, proposals that have been submitted to SPS far in advance also routinely lack a timely and thorough review because other proposals with an earlier deadline came in and “cut the line.”

To begin to remedy the proposal submission bottleneck, beginning May 5, 2021, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) will implement the current policy on internal deadlines for the review and submission of sponsored project proposals. The process change aims to reduce last day proposal submissions and will prioritize proposals as received. Once the policy is implemented, final administrative components of a proposal must be received by SPS Pre-Award at least five full business days in advance of the submission due date (along with a draft of the scientific components). The final submission ready proposal is due to SPS no later than noon the day before the sponsor deadline.

Exceptions include short turnaround RFPs, last minute sponsor requests, or a last minute opportunity to join a proposal under submission by another institution. Also, each UConn investigator will be given one pass to use in the event they are not able to meet the internal five-day deadline. As is the current practice, SPS Pre-Award will make every effort to submit these proposals when possible. Please visit the OVPR website for additional information and FAQs regarding the internal deadline policy.

To increase faculty support related to proposal preparation, the OVPR will be taking the following additional steps:

  • The OVPR is working to address situations where investigators do not have dedicated administrative support for the preparation of a proposal; we will continue to increase staff training opportunities, extend faculty service offerings, and work to simplify the submission process.
  • The OVPR will implement a dashboard to increase transparency and provide information on the status and order of review.
  • The OVPR will provide additional research development services, such as grant editing and proofreading, proposal review, large and complex grant support, and research funding consultation. Further information regarding these services and how to request them is available on the OVPR Research Development section of this website.
  • The OVPR will continue to work with and incorporate feedback from faculty working groups.  Upon recommendation of the University Senate, the President formed a sponsored projects working group to identify impediments to the expeditious review of sponsored project proposals in advance of deadlines.  The group’s report is available on the University Senate website.


Development, review, and submission timeline:

Full Business Days Before Submission Deadline

>6 days: PI provides application components to local grants administrator (or Faculty Services)

5 days: Complete application (plus draft scientific components) and IPR submitted to SPS

5-2 days: SPS reviews proposal and provides feedback

2 days: Corrections made and all approvals in place

Noon day before deadline: Final proposal and PI authorization to submit to sponsor provided to SPS

1-0 days before deadline: Proposal submitted

SPS is responsible for ensuring that applications are compliant and that institutional and sponsor guidelines are met including administrative, management, and scientific information. Please contact Paul Hudobenko ( Health) or Mark Reeves ( and Regionals) with questions as we move to a consistent and sustainable process.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in our collaborative efforts to advance UConn’s mission through innovative research, scholarship, and creative pursuits.


Undergraduate Participation in On-Campus Summer 2020 Lab/Field Research

  • The Office of Undergraduate Research and the Office of the Vice President for Research have release guidance on undergraduate participation in on-campus lab/field research during the summer.

    Process to request Undergraduate Student participation in research:

    • The Undergraduate Student should complete and submit the Undergraduate Student Research Request Form. Once submitted, this will be emailed automatically to both the Office of Undergraduate Research and OVPR.
    • The faculty member wanting to add one or more undergraduate students to an approved safety plan should complete and submit the Request to Include Undergraduate Students Form.
    • Once BOTH forms are received, the OVPR will respond with an Approval to both the student and faculty member.
    • For questions or concerns contact the OVPR at or Office of Undergraduate Research at

    For more information on safely conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the OVPR’s COVID-19 Resource page.

Guidance for Reopening Research Involving Human Subjects

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has developed new guidance related to resuming human subjects research. The guidance outlines the minimum safety procedures that must be in place in order for UConn and UConn Health investigators to be approved by the OVPR to reopen or initiate new human subjects research. Principal investigators (PIs) must tailor their safety plans to meet the needs of each individual research situation.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is available to answer safety related questions from PIs. If you have safety related questions, please email if your human subject research activities are conducted at the Storrs or regional campuses or call (860) 679-2723 if these activities are taking place at UConn Health.

For more information, visit the OVPR’s COVID-19 Resource page.

Lab Preparedness Guide & Guidance on Submitting NIH RPPRs

The OVPR’s COVID-19 Resource page has been updated with new guidance on several aspects of ramping up research activity prior to May 20, 2020, including:

UConn Research Lab Ramp-Up Preparedness Guide

The OVPR and Environmental Health and Safety have developed a guide to help researchers safely prepare labs to ramp up research activity after May 20, 2020.

Guidance on the Preparation of NIH Research Performance Progress Report (RPPRs) and COVID-19 Impacts

Sponsored Program Services has created guidance for investigators related to submission of NIH Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) during the suspension of research due to COVID-19.

Contact with questions.

Safety Training & Safety Plan for Phased Research Ramp Up

The OVPR’s COVID-19 Resource page has been updated with new guidance on several aspects of ramping up research activity prior to May 20, 2020, including:

Phase 0: Pilot/Limited Research Activity

The Critical Research Infrastructure process is being expanded to allow immediate time-limited access to on-campus research labs in order to generate targeted research to support impending grant deadlines and contract resubmissions, competitive renewals, response to manuscript or other reviewer comments and other similar needs. This is not a ramping up or reopening of the labs and research areas to resume usual research. The process for the Phased reopening of research after May 20th is under development. Submissions must include the following:

  • Resuming Research Activity form (no longer active)
  • Returning to Research COVID-19 Safety Training This course was prepared for the University of Connecticut research community (UConn Storrs, regional campuses, and UConn Health) by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. It is based on current CDC guidelines and UConn procedures. Any updates to these guidelines or procedures will supersede the content in this training. It is mandatory that all individuals complete the online training module before returning to research work. Documentation of completion must be retained by the lab or research area. If you experience any technical difficulties, contact Training and Outreach Program Manager Dr. Shawna Lesseur at
  • COVID-19 Safety Plan (no longer active)  A COVID-19 Safety Plan must be completed and submitted with the Resuming Research Activity form as part of Phase 0: Pilot/Limited Research Activity. The Faculty Member/Principal Investigator is responsible for ensuring compliance with this Plan. Failing to follow this plan will result in restrictions up to and including immediate shutdown of the offending research lab or area.

Contact with questions.

Message from the Office of the Vice President for Research – COVID-19 Update

Consistent with Governor Lamont’s April 30th Update on Connecticut’s Coronavirus Response Efforts, the OVPR is targeting a phased reopening of UConn and UConn Health research programs to begin on May 20, 2020 (Phase 2 in the posted Ramp-Up: Phased Process for Reopening Research at UConn and UConn Health). This document provides guiding principles and processes for a phased approach to reopening research at UConn and UConn Health while addressing state and federal directives and guidelines related to COVID-19. Instituting a similar process will be established for the Arts and Humanities that reflects the specific needs and concerns of scholarly activity in those areas.

Important Documents



  • The health and safety of faculty, staff, students, patients, the public, and human research subjects will be protected.
    • Directives and guidance from local, state, and federal authorities to minimize disease spread and exposure will be followed, such as restrictions related to essential businesses, social distancing, reduced density, stay-at-home, and masks.
    • Faculty, staff, and students are not required to work in either on-campus research or in field research while stay-at-home directives are in effect, or in a manner contrary to current and applicable directives and guidance from local, state, and federal authorities. Faculty, staff, and students may choose to work either on campus or in field research while stay-at-home directives are in effect, but their choice to do so must be made voluntarily and without undue influence or coercion. Any request to work on campus or in field research can be declined at any time without any fear of retaliation or retribution while work-from-home directives are in place. Any concerns can be reported anonymously through the REPORTLINE by calling a toll-free number at (888) 685-2637, the Office of University Compliance’s website, or the Ombuds Office. The University welcomes and encourages good-faith reporting. As such, individuals who submit a report or participate in a compliance investigation in good faith are provided protection from retaliation per the University’s Non-Retaliation Policy.
    • On-campus or field research can proceed only to the extent it can be done safely and in compliance with regulatory requirements and University policies. Safety must be rigorously maintained. All University policies and requirements, as well as all local, state, and federal regulatory requirements remain in place and must be followed, unless there is written guidance or documentation that they have been modified or suspended.
    • Research involving human subjects can proceed only to the extent it can be done safely and in a manner that protects the health of the subjects, researchers, and research staff. Human subjects research must follow current applicable directives and guidance from local, state, and federal authorities to minimize disease spread and exposure. All University policies and requirements, as well as all local, state and federal regulatory requirements remain in place and must be followed, unless there is written guidance or documentation that they have been modified or suspended.
    • Undergraduate students will not be involved or allowed to participate in on-campus or field research activities until the University opens and these students are allowed to return to campus.
    • Principal Investigators (PIs) remain responsible for providing direction and oversight of their projects, labs, and/or research sites, and personnel including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff.
  • Researchers must maintain plans and be prepared to halt all activities on short notice if this becomes necessary.
  • The ramp up of research will be through a transparent and phased process.
    • A publically available working document outlining the phased approach will be maintained and serve as guidance for the ramp up process.
  • Two groups have been established by the Vice President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VPRIE) to provide guidance and oversight for the process:
    • The Critical Infrastructure Workgroup comprised of five associate research deans. This group reviews and approves projects, and also provides expert guidance on research needs.
    • Research Ramp up Advisory Group. This group is comprised of senior representatives from various areas, providing a broad range of infrastructure expertise, such as Environmental Health and Safety, Public Safety, Facilities, the Graduate School, Office of the Provost, Core Facilities Directors, Human Resources, and others. This group provides guidance on the support infrastructure that is required to allow research to move forward.

Phased Ramp Up

Phase 0: Maintain Critical Research Infrastructure (March 13, 2020 – Present)

This includes unique reagents, unique cell lines, equipment, liquid nitrogen stocks, and certain long-term experiments where data integrity would be compromised by halting or stopping the projects. The process for review and approval of these projects using the Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory (CRI) form has been in place since March 23rd. This process is also in place to approve the initiation of new projects directly related to COVID-19. Researchers should continue to use this process for applicable projects.

Pilot/Limited Research Activity Approval

The Critical Research Infrastructure process is being expanded to allow immediate time-limited access to on-campus research labs in order to generate targeted research to support impending grant deadlines and contract resubmissions, competitive renewals, response to manuscript or other reviewer comments and other similar needs.

This is not a ramping up or reopening of the labs and research areas to resume usual research. The process for the Phased reopening of research after May 20th is under development.

Project Criteria for Pilot/Limited Research Activity Approval:
  • Work can be conducted with a limited number of individuals in the lab at any one time
  • All work can be fully completed within two to four weeks
  • The work is necessary to produce data in support of an application due within the next 45 days
Submission Process:

Questions should be sent to

Phase 1: Prepare to Resume Research (Present – May 19, 2020)

  • Activities conducted by a limited number of people, with time limited access to minimize personnel density
  • Develop and require training on COVID-19 related to University, state, and federal guidelines, directives, and requirements
  • Begin re-breeding, expansion of cell lines, plant propagation, etc.
  • Limited, reopening of work areas and labs to assess readiness and needs to restart, check, and restart equipment, and identify needed supplies
  • Allow reordering of supplies, materials, animals, chemicals, biologicals, etc. needed to restart projects
  • Coordinate with other units such as facilities, purchasing, and finance to identify and address cross unit impact of ramp up
  • Re-open core research facilities

Related Guidance

Phase 2: Limited Reopening (Begins May 20, 2020)

  • Personnel density increased in a manner that is consistent with federal and state guidelines and directives
  • Requests for Phase 2 projects are submitted using the Resuming Research Activity form (currently only available for Phase 1) and include a COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • Identify projects halted or stopped as part of ramp-down not involving chemical or radiological hazards and prioritize for phased restart
    • Prioritization of groups such as graduate students and postdocs close to completing their degree/term of appointment; grants within three months of their end dates and where the funding agency has not provided flexibility in no cost extensions.
  • Restart field studies depending on conditions/requirements/restrictions at field sites, such as travel restrictions, stay-at-home directives, and density and social distancing requirements
  • Humanities, arts, and social science research that requires access to single occupancy spaces (e.g., office, private studio)
  • Restart human research projects involving direct subject interactions and interventions conducted at UConn Health or University facilities that were halted or stopped as part of ramp-down

Phase 3: Expanded Reopening (To be determined)

  • Personnel density increased in a manner that is consistent with federal and state guidelines and directives
  • Requests for Phase 3 Projects are submitted using the Resuming Research Activity form (currently only available for Phase 1) and include a COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • Identify projects halted or stopped as part of ramp-down involving chemical or radiological hazards and prioritize for phased restart
  • Restart human research projects involving direct subject interactions and interventions conducted off campus that were halted or stopped as part of ramp-down
  • Restart humanities, social science, and arts research/scholarship involving direct interpersonal interactions or engagement

Phase 4: Transition to Research as Usual (To be determined)

  • Begin initiation of new projects
  • Project submissions no longer required to use the CRI process
  • Open all research facilities

Associate VP, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that, after a national search, Dr. Abhijit (Jit) Banerjee will join UConn’s Office of the Vice President for Research as Associate Vice President, Innovation and Entrepreneurship on May 22, 2020.

Prior to joining the UConn team, Dr. Banerjee served as Senior Director of Business Development at the Office of Technology Transfer & Business Development at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), where he oversaw a team of business development professionals. During his tenure at OHSU, Dr. Banerjee led several major commercialization initiatives, including implementing strategies for academic-industry partnerships and long-term growth, guiding startup formation and life cycle management of new companies, and building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage the translation of research to the market. He also has extensive experience supporting university spinoff companies, specifically in the life sciences, healthcare, and digital health sectors. Dr. Banerjee holds a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology at the University of Calcutta and an MBA from Suffolk University.

In this newly created role, Dr. Banerjee will be responsible for all aspects of the University’s technology commercialization activities, including patenting, licensing, venture development, and UConn’s business incubator, the Technology Incubation Program (TIP). Reporting to the Vice President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Banerjee will support UConn’s continued growth as an economic driver for the state of Connecticut by helping to set an agenda that defines the University’s program in technology commercialization. I believe that Jit is a leader who is not afraid to take risks, has a clear purpose, and a high level of enthusiasm. He will work with a team to get the most out of the university and stay abreast of an ever-changing world.

I would also like to thank the search committee for their time in this comprehensive national search.





Dr. Radenka Maric

Vice President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
UConn/UConn Health
Professor in Sustainable Energy
438 Whitney Road Ext., Unit 1006
Storrs, CT 06269
Storrs: 860.486.3621
UCH: 860.679.2230

Informational Session/Q&A on Research at UConn During & After the Pandemic

SAVE THE DATE: The Office of the Vice President for Research will join President Thomas Katsouleas in hosting a virtual informational session for UConn & UConn Health researchers on Monday, April 20 from 11:00am to 12:30pm. The purpose of the session is to update the UConn research community on critical information related to research on campus during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as answer questions from UConn faculty and staff. A number of questions have already been submitted via the University Senate. If you would like to pose a question regarding our research activities or share a comment, please send it to before Monday, April 20.

While the world is still in the midst of the ongoing crisis, there are a great many unknowns when it comes to research and our other operations, but participants will endeavor to answer every question they are able to and discuss what is known with respect to research as of April 20.

A communication with a web address on how to watch and participate in the town hall will be sent later this week.

OVPR Internal Funding Announcement

Dear Colleagues,


I hope this message finds you well, as we have all been facing many challenges related to the COVID-19 epidemic over the last several weeks. While our focus has been on rapidly shifting to new methods for teaching and conducting research, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is pleased to announce that decisions for several of our internal funding programs have been finalized. These programs support a variety of high impact research, scholarship, and artistic pursuits across UConn and UConn Health’s departments. The OVPR is thrilled to support these diverse projects, which will lead to additional extramural funding and increase the reputation of UConn amongst peers. Funding for the following recipients will be made available now for projects that can be conducted remotely, and will be on hold for other recipients until the University resumes normal operations after the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions regarding other internal funding programs including the Research Excellence Program (REP) and Scholarship and Collaboration in Humanities and Arts Research (SCHARP) are expected to be announced in May.


Please join me in congratulating winners for the following funding programs and visit the OVPR’s Internal Funding website to learn more about these programs:


Convergence Awards for Research in Interdisciplinary Centers (CARIC)

CARIC is an initiative of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) that provides support of up to $150,000 for the development of collaborative interdisciplinary teams to bid for major (>$5M) federally funded initiatives, such as research centers. CARIC provides funding for planning, outreach to strategic partners, and proof-of-concept research activities that will prepare the team to bid competitively for these prestigious federal awards.


Puxian Gao, Material Science and Engineering
Mapping Catalytic Energy Transformations: Convergence of Nanoarray Catalysis, In Situ Microscopy, and Data Science


Jeffrey Hoch, Molecular Biology and Biophysics
Biomolecular Digital Commons


Cato Laurencin, Connecticut Convergence Institute
Convergence Center for Regenerative Engineering- A Science and Technology Center


Mark Urban, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
241: Reintegrating Biology & Harnessing the Data Revolution to Predict and Prevent Global Ecosystem Change



Microbiome Seed Fund Recipients
Through this program, the OVPR is able to provide up to $50,000 to UConn faculty to support innovative and collaborative research projects that will lead to new proposals for extramural funding in microbiome research.


Jonathan Klassen, Molecular and Cell Biology
Metal-Binding Antimicrobial Peptide Mediation of a Fungus-Growing Ant Symbiosis

Co-PIs: Alfredo Angeles-Boza


Mark Peczuh, Chemistry
Characterizing the Role of Siderophores in the Euprymna Scolopes – Vibrio Fischeri Symbiosis
Co-PIs: Spencer Nyholm


J Evan Ward, Marine Sciences
The Effect of a Common Anthropogenic Pollutant on the Microbiome of an Ecologically and Commercially Important Bivalve
Co-PIs: Penny Vlahos, Lisa Nigro


Wing Ki Mok, Molecular Biology and Biophysics
Friend or Foe? Impact of Chronic Infection Microbiome Constituents on Persistence of Staphylococcus Aureus toward Antifolate Antibiotics
Co-PIs: Dennis Wright, Maria Rocha Granados, Debjani Si


Spring 2020 Scholarship Facilitation Fund Program

Through this program, the OVPR is able to provide up to $2,000 to UConn faculty across all disciplines, on a competitive basis, to foster, support, and enhance research, scholarship, and creative endeavors. (Please visit the site for the full list of recipients.)


START Preliminary Proof-of-Concept Q1-3

Through this program, the OVPR is able to provide up to $10,000 to Central Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University, University of Bridgeport, and UConn faculty to foster and bolster the initial validation of innovative early stage technologies that have possible commercial potential. The program is designed to bring these promising technologies to a stage that may be more attractive for additional later stage translational funding support. (Please visit the site for the full list of recipients.)




Office of the Vice President for Research – COVID-19 Update

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that this message finds you well, safely at home with family and seeing friends and loved ones virtually. The last several weeks have been challenging, disruptive, and anxiety inducing, but I have been so encouraged by seeing the UConn community band together to support our students, faculty, staff, and citizens of our state. We have all had to adjust to this new normal, while ensuring that the safety and health of our research workforce, students, faculty, staff, and animals remain our highest priority. While the timeline for resuming research remains unclear due to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation, our office is working closely with University leadership to ensure a process is in place to transition back to normal research operations and we will be providing regular updates to the University community. We also encourage you to check for updates on the OVPR’s COVID-19 Resource page where you will find additional information, guidance, and FAQs related to research. For general guidance and updates, visit the Coronavirus information pages for UConn and UConn Health.


Office of Management and Budget, OMB M-20-17 Memorandum Issued March 19, 2020

Earlier this week at the Council of Deans meeting, I shared that the OVPR has been working with other university offices to fully take advantage of flexibilities provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to federal agencies in their memorandum OMB M-20-17 Administrative Relief for Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly impacted by COVID 19 due to Loss of Operation. The OMB memorandum authorizes agencies to take certain actions to provide flexibility for recipients directly impacted by COVID-19. Over the weeks following the issuance of the memo, I am pleased to share that most federal agencies have adopted the flexibilities provided for by the OMB for grants. These flexibilities include applicant deadlines, no-cost extensions, allowability of salaries and other project costs, and certain waivers of prior approvals and extension of close-outs. You may find individual sponsor updates on the OVPR website and guidance is also provided in the OVPR FAQs. Of course, you may always reach out to staff in Sponsored Program Services with any questions and we recommend you also sign up for alerts directly from the sponsors from whom you have funding.

According to the memo, the exceptions are time-limited and will be reassessed by OMB within 90 days of the memo. We do not have an estimate of when to expect a “return to normal,” hence we do not know when federal agencies will end the flexibilities adopted under the OMB memo. Although, we think they will listen to the research community and try to understand whether the circumstances still warrant exceptions.


Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory

To ensure the long-term viability of many research programs during the shutdown, the OVPR quickly assembled a cross-campus team to assess critical research infrastructure, as submitted by faculty. Critical research infrastructure includes unique reagents, unique cell lines, equipment, liquid nitrogen stocks, COVID-19 targeted research, and certain long-term experiments. This was a complex and very time-sensitive endeavor, which is still ongoing as needs evolve. The OVPR would like to express our sincere thanks to the review committee members who met virtually several times a day to evaluate these requests in order to ensure proper maintenance of the research infrastructure and the safety of research teams. Please join me in thanking them.

  • Lisa Park-Boush, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs, Professor and Department Head
  • Rajesh Lalla, School of Dental Medicine, Associate Dean for Research, Professor
  • Leslie Shor, School of Engineering, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Education, Associate Professor
  • Anthony Vella, School of Medicine, Senior Associate Dean for Research Planning and Development, Professor and Chair
  • Kumar Venkitanarayanan, College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Professor


If you still need to submit critical research infrastructure inventory for review or amend an approved form, complete the Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory form.


Animal Care at UConn and UConn Health

UConn’s dedication to exemplary animal care services has never wavered, even during these challenging times. Animal care staff at both Storrs and UConn Health in Farmington had extensive plans in place well ahead of this crisis, allowing them to continue to support researchers as they ramped down their projects. The operations of Animal Care Services at Storrs and the Center for Comparative Medicine at UConn Health are running as normal, as activity has ceased in most cases and slowed in certain exceptional cases. All staff are healthy and continuing to maintain animal care. All animal orders and transfers have been halted. Any ongoing research should have submitted a Critical Research Infrastructure form for both lab and animal work that needs to continue. At this time, food and bedding have not been impacted and there is a sufficient reserve of supplies to continue at this level for several months. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) continue to run as normal, with staff working from home. Semi-annual inspections scheduled for April in Storrs were granted a six-month extension. These inspections will be rescheduled as soon as possible after the shutdown.


Human Subjects Research and Environment Health and Safety

The IRBs, Biosafety Committees, and Radiation Safety Committees continue to run as normal, with staff working from home.


Guidance on Proposals Submission

Due to increased proposal submissions and a desire to provide strong service in support of proposal submissions, sponsored project proposals (including the final budget and application, science in draft) must be submitted well in advance of the deadline and in accordance with Sponsored Program Services’ (SPS) five-day minimum processing policy. Additionally, the final application, ready for submission, must be submitted the day before the deadline. With staff working remotely and the challenges this may present, SPS cannot promise that proposals received less than 48 hours before the deadline or final applications received on the day of the deadline will be reviewed and submitted on time. See OVPR FAQ on Proposal submissions for more information.


Guidance on Salary & Stipends charged to Sponsored Programs

Following guidance from Human Resources on 2020-04-03 FAQs related to salaries and stipends on research grants and contracts were released. Sponsored Projects Salary and Stipend FAQs address questions for Principal Investigators (PIs) and full- and part-time salaried employees paid on sponsored projects, including postdoctoral research associates and graduate assistants. Visit the HR COVID-19 sites for UConn Information and UConn Health Information.


Donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from Research Grants & Contracts

We want to make sure UConn researchers know that residual supplies purchased from a grant or contract that has ended may be donated to UConn Health. In addition, the NIH is allowing recipients to donate PPE and other lab supplies in support of efforts related to COVID-19. Recipients may re-budget grant funds to repurchase supplies at a later date. As of this writing, the NSF just released their guidance for donation (see NSF April 10 implementing guidance). We anticipate that other federal sponsors will follow the NIH. Sponsor Guidance will be updated on the COVID-19 Sponsor Issued Guidance website.  Note that in the case of NSF, prior sponsor approval is required.

For information on how to make a donation, please see the “Personal Protective Equipment FAQs.”


COVID-19 Research

UConn Research Tackling COVID-19

As mentioned before, it has been incredibly heartening to see how swiftly UConn’s researchers have taken action to help tackle this global crisis. There has been regular coverage in UConn Today and the media about UConn research collaborations to quickly produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), new research grants focused on COVID-19, and scholarship that addresses the impact of this pandemic on education, the economy, and society. I encourage you to visit UConn Today to read about the many new projects, publications, and partnerships that are already yielding encouraging results.


COVID-19 Funding Opportunities

The OVPR has created a webpage to share external and internal funding opportunities related to COVID-19 research. You can also contact to request that additional opportunities be added to the site and shared with the UConn research community.


Supplemental Federal Support for Sponsored Programs

The OVPR recognizes that each month of the shutdown represents significant lost productivity toward research objectives and milestones. As such, the OVPR is working in close collaboration with UConn’s Office of Governmental Relations, the Connecticut Congressional Delegation, and other APLU universities to request that supplemental federal funding be made available to federal agencies to provide to grantees at institutions of higher education to address the unprecedented disruption to research caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This is an ongoing process, and updates will be provided as they become available.


In Closing

The President and the OVPR will hold an informational session specific to research. The date and time of this informational session will be forthcoming. We have received a number of questions from faculty, administrators and the Faculty Senate and plan to address all of them and point to guidance as applicable. The session will be divided into two parts: the first will offer an update from the OVPR on all the available information that we have at this time, with an understanding that there remain many unknowns. This update will be followed by a Q&A period.

As always, my team and I thank you for your continued support and dedication to UConn and UConn Health. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves. If you have any questions, please visit the OVPR COVID-19 Resource page, the Coronavirus information pages for UConn and UConn Health, or email





Radenka Maric, PhD

Vice President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

UConn/UConn Health

IBC Functions Active During COVID-19 Crisis

With the OVPR shutting down most research activities due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, I wanted to assure you that the administrative functions of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) will remain active during this time. Reviews and approvals of registrations and amendments will continue, renewal reminders are being sent, and personnel training records are still being reviewed. Maintaining compliance will help to ensure that when the COVID-19 crisis is resolved, research activities can resume as quickly as possible.

If you have any registrations or amendments pending approval due to requested revisions, it may be a good time to work on these updates. PIs with pending approvals will receive email reminders by the end of the week. For approvals pending completion of training, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is considering conducting in-person trainings through WebEx, and still has online training available for many courses. PIs and lab contacts can check training records though the EHS website by logging in as a supervisor under the “View Training History” section.

UConn Health PIs can find training and meeting information at UConn Health IBC page.

The IBC office is working remotely, and email is the best way to communicate any questions or concerns. Emails can be sent to the mailbox, or you can email me directly.

The IBCs in Storrs and at UConn Health wish you all the best during this difficult time, and we are here to support you in any way we can.

Thank you and stay well,


Danielle Delage

IBC Program Director

Environmental Health and Safety

Research Integrity & Compliance Services

UConn | Division of Public Safety

3102 Horsebarn Hill Rd, U-4097

Storrs, CT 06269-4097

PHONE (860) 486-1838

FAX (860) 486-1106

EHS Website: | IBC Website

David J. Cavallaro, MS, CBSP

Biological Health and Safety Manager

Environmental Health and Safety

UConn | Division of Public Safety


STORRS, CT 06269-4097

PHONE: 860-486-3180

FAX: 860-486-1106

Spencer V. Nyholm, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, IBC ChairpersonDepartment of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of Connecticut
91 N. Eagleville Rd., Unit 3125
Storrs, CT 06269
(860) 486-4886 office
(860) 486-4331 fax

COVID-19: NSF RAPID Program Opportunities

Dear Colleagues,

While we all face turmoil caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to make sure that all faculty are aware of unique funding opportunities through the National Science Foundation with the specific aim of helping address COVID-19. Specifically NSF’s RAPID funding mechanism allows for a drastically reduced submission/award timeline to address this urgent need. Please see the Dear Colleague letter below from NSF Director, Dr. France A. Córdova for more information and consider applying through this mechanism if you are conducting applicable research.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of UConn and our research community.



NSF 20-052

Dear Colleague Letter on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

March 4, 2020

Dear Colleague,

In light of the emergence and spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States and abroad, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical-care research that can be used immediately to explore how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19, to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and prevention, and to encourage the development of processes and actions to address this global challenge.

NSF encourages the research community to respond to this challenge through existing funding opportunities. In addition, we invite researchers to use the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism, which allows NSF to receive and review proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events. Requests for RAPID proposals may be for up to $200K and up to one year in duration. Well-justified proposals that exceed these limits may be entertained. All questions should be directed either to a program officer managing an NSF program with which the research would be aligned or to

Complete guidance on submitting a RAPID proposal may be found in Chapter II.E.1 of the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide.

We ask that all investigators and organizations maintain awareness of the dynamic nature of this event through regular monitoring of official communications from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization.

NSF has also provided Frequently Asked Questions that address questions associated with NSF proposal submission and award management relevant to research proposals relating to COVID-19 as well as possible impacts of COVID-19 on activities under existing awards and on participation in NSF’s merit review panels; that website will be updated as appropriate.


Dr. France A. Córdova

Research Shut Down Notice March 23, 2020

With Governor Lamont’s order for all non-essential businesses to suspend operations, the president, provost and vice president for research have determined that all on-campus research activities on ALL CAMPUSES – UConn, regional and UConn Health – must stop and labs must close by 8 p.m. on Monday March 23.

In addition to faculty, this includes research being conducted by undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. The only exceptions to this are human subjects clinical trials, research where continued in-person interaction or intervention is needed for the safety and welfare of enrolled subjects, research that is directly connected to addressing the COVID-19 crisis, and research that can be conducted remotely by faculty, staff, and/or students without in-person intervention or interaction with research subjects.

We understand the enormous impact this decision will have on faculty and students. But as we deal with the challenges of a global pandemic as well as the uncertainty of its impact on all aspects of the University and surrounding communities, we must make difficult decisions guided by the principles of health and safety.

  • Faculty and research staff should follow the Laboratory Ramp-Down Checklist: Procedures for Safely Vacating a Laboratory (updated March 22, 2020) to close down their research and labs.
  • Research related to COVID-19 can continue, but faculty must submit a Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory form (updated March 22, 2020) indicating they need to begin or continue this work and describe the work (see last question on the form).
  • Faculty with animals must contact the attending veterinarian for their campus regarding steps to immediately reduce animal numbers and number of cages. Breeding must be reduced to the minimum possible; no increases in cage counts will be permitted and plans should be in place for reductions of cage counts in the future. Labs using aquatic, avian, or other species that are housed outside the vivarium must contact the attending veterinarian regarding how animal care and husbandry operations will be maintained.
  • Any faculty with critical research infrastructure, such as unique reagents, unique cell lines, equipment, liquid nitrogen stocks, and certain long-term experiments should complete the Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory form. These will be reviewed and the faculty
    member will then be advised on how to proceed based on their individual situation.
  • Any researcher or faculty member who is unable to halt their research by Monday’s deadline or who has a unique situation that needs to be considered should email with a description of the situation or need and their recommendation for how it can best be met or addressed. The email should include a phone number(s) where the faculty member can be reached.
  • Any student or employee who feels they have been asked unreasonably to continue on campus research beyond Monday’s deadline should contact the dean of their school or college and the OVPR without fear of retaliation.

For now, the shut-down of labs will be in effect until April 22, 2020. We will assess and monitor the status as events change daily. However, you should plan for a remote-work research operation and lab closure that could last for several weeks or months.

COVID-19 Research Ramp Down

Dear Colleagues, 

We appreciate the thoughtful comments and concerns raised in response to our communication on March 13, 2020, which provided guidance on developing research continuity plans. We understand that additional guidance is needed and our office is preparing a more detailed FAQ, which should be available on March 18, 2020.   

The status and impact of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and it is imperative that researchers at UConn and UConn Health take action to reduce COVID-19 exposure and spread. In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the University is expected to maintain social distancing by reducing the density of people working in our research laboratories, facilities, and programs. Researchers will begin immediately to ramp down research activities, including laboratory, animal, and non-therapeutic human subjects research. Where possible, research activities that can be accomplished remotely can continue. In developing your plans to ramp down research, it is also currently anticipated that critical activities, such as maintaining animals, unique reagents, and essential equipment and materials, can continue until further notice; however, researchers should develop plans to support and continue critical activities with minimum staffing and in accordance with CDC guidelines for COVID-19 prevention. Additional guidance regarding clinical trials, non-therapeutic human subjects research, and animal research will be available in the forthcoming FAQ. 

As we work to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, we must ensure that undergraduates and graduate students working in research facilities and laboratories are able to exercise personal agency regarding their health and well-being. Their supervisors are expected to make appropriate accommodations without engaging in undue influence, coercion, or retaliation. Research staff should work with their supervisors to support individual agency within the requirements to sustain critical operations. Unless notified otherwise, researchers should follow existing sponsor guidelines for allowable and unallowable charges on grants. Our office is actively engaged with sponsor agencies and regulatory bodies and will post updates on the University’s COVID-19 page related to Research.  

We understand the difficulties this minimal on-campus activity will pose to research projects and initiatives; however, we must prioritize the safety, health, and well-being of our community and work in concert with public health officials to reduce the spread of COVID-19 


Dr. Radenka Maric
Vice President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
UConn/UConn Health