Last updated: September 23, 2020

This website provides updates on the status of UC Santa Barbara research support operations. 

Also see Guidance for Proposals and Awards During COVID-19 and
Research Productivity Resources During COVID-19

Status of Research Ramp-up

We have begun to move into Stage 4 (what we are considering to be Stage 4a) of our ramp-up plan, which includes approximately 750 researchers on campus at any one time. This is roughly 25% of all laboratory researchers, excluding undergraduates.

The Off-Site Research Committee will continue to review field research, research that requires substantial travel and other off-site research. The focus of the committee is to assess COVID-19 risk mitigation procedures proposed for these programs. Because many, but not all, off-site activities are coupled with on-campus activities, this committee also interfaces directly with building committees. Field research in California counties where allowed by local health authorities has now begun to ramp up. For off-site research that involves more significant travel, guidelines are currently under development to include this research in a future Stage. Faculty should direct proposed off-site research plans to their building committees who will review them and route them to the Off-site Research Committee.

Please remember:

  • The health and safety of the UCSB community is our primary concern. We all have an obligation to protect ourselves and each other. Follow the operating plans that have been designed and approved for your group and building or off-site research program. Make sure to study the guidelines and presentation that have been prepared to help you understand how COVID-19 is transmitted and how to protect yourself and others. Remember that all PIs are required to ensure that their team members have studied these materials and to provide all team members with copies of the protocols they have prepared for their research programs. Take the concerns of others around you seriously and speak up when you see someone who may need to be reminded to follow the guidelines. 
  • No researcher should feel compelled to work on campus or in the field if they are not comfortable to do so. All researchers approved to be on campus are required to take a daily wellness assessment prior to coming into work and we strongly recommend that you perform the assessment even on days that you do not come to work. A reminder will be sent to you via email daily. It is private, secure and provides you with a check on whether or not it is best to stay home to take care of yourself and to protect our colleagues. 
  • Protocols for protecting your health and for safe work practices should be rigorously maintained. Everyone must have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) specific to routine hazards associated with their research, and must adhere to all documented protocols designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you do not have the required PPE and supplies, research must pause until they are obtained.


More Ramp-up Information

  • In-person human subjects research is not in Stage 3, but work is going on now to prepare for the possibility of some human subjects research later in Stage 4.
  • Building Committee members are asked to do regular walkthroughs of their buildings to monitor covid-mitigation compliance. When someone is not in compliance, please take note, and remind them to do so. We will track these occurrences in order to determine if some additional measures are needed. If there are egregious cases of repeated or flagrant non-compliance, those involved may be asked to shut down their programs.
  • All spaces must be cleared by EH&S and DFSS prior to reopening. DFSS verifies that water is not contaminated, that cleaning plans are in place, and HVAC is functioning properly. EH&S reviews safety plans for each project and for the building as a whole. Walk-throughs of common spaces and individual labs ensures no problems have been overlooked. 
  • Undergraduates are included in Stages 1, 2, or 3 of the ramp-up in the very rare cases in which they are irreplaceable for essential maintenance. We will consider proposals for small numbers of undergraduates to begin research in Stage 4, such as those with summer fellowships (e.g. CCS, Worster, etc.).  


Mitigating Impact On Our Researchers

The shutdown of on-campus research will create unanticipated delays, which can be cause for significant anxiety for many, and especially junior, researchers. While there is no way to escape the loss of time, every effort is being made to assure that these actions will not damage careers or lead to excessive financial hardship. We ask that all PIs work to find ways to continue to fund their researchers and staff, even those now forced to work remotely.  We have pulled together Guidance for Proposals and Awards during COVID-19 to help them in their efforts. Of interest to PIs concerned about the impact of the shutdown on tenure and promotion, Alison Butler, AVC for Academic Personnel, has sent a memo outlining the process by which one requests an extension of the Tenure/SOE/8-year limit clock. 

The Office of Research is working remotely but is fully operational and continuously updating its website with agency guidance regarding continuation of salaries for researchers.


UCSB COVID Call Center Information 

The UCSB "COVID-19 Call Center" at (805) 893-3113 is now operational weekdays 8am - 4pm, working with the UCSB COVID-19 Response Team to assist our students, faculty and staff to obtain answers for their questions related to COVID-19 health issues and other campus changes that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The email address ucsb-covid19@ucsb.edu can also be used for these same purposes.

The COVID-19 Call Center will assist callers to find the correct resource for questions related to the campus COVID Response including medical needs, COVID-19 testing, campus housing, class registration, etc. and refer them to the proper offices and websites, along with receiving reports of positive COVID-19 cases and referring them to the campus COVID-19 case investigators.

The COVID-19 Call Center is managed by Betsy Malear, MS, RDN and staffed by non-medical staff, who are working together with the UCSB COVID-19 Response Team which includes Drs. Laura Polito, Holly Smith, RN, Dr. Elizabeth Toro, and licensed nurses and other staff to conduct campus COVID-19 testing, and to quickly identify positive cases and exposed close contacts in the UCSB community in order to control spread of the disease.
 

Additional Resources

UCSB Resources for Ramping up Research

 
Federal, State and Local Government Resources

 

 
   Updates from VCR Incandela
 

Message from the Vice Chancellor for Research (3/18/20): “Over the past week, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached serious levels of infection in many parts of the country including California. It is now in our county, our town, and very likely on campus, though we do not see it yet. Intuition tells us that we do not have to move quickly, but for this pandemic, hesitation has proved to be very costly. Waiting for definitive evidence of many confirmed infections puts our community in very serious danger. This lesson has been learned repeatedly across the globe. Data at hand show that decisive and comprehensive policies widely adopted early to minimize sharing of spaces lead to a significant reduction in loss of life. The difference can be as large as a factor of 10. It is our goal to make that difference.”

Memos from VCR