Last updated: July 24, 2020

This website provides updates on the status of UC Santa Barbara research support operations. The University is following guidance issued by the CDC, California Department of Public Health, and Santa Barbara County Public Health. Additionally, more information and updates can be found on the UC Santa Barbara COVID-19 website.

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

Research Town Hall (May 12)

Status of Research Ramp-up

Beginning June 16, 2020, we have begun a gradual return of on-campus research as we move into Stage 3 of our ramp-up plan. We will soon have approximately 500 more researchers on campus at any one time. This is roughly 15% of all laboratory researchers, excluding undergraduates.

We have created a new Off-Site Research Committee that will review field research, research that requires substantial travel and other off-site research. The focus of the committee will be 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 will interface directly with building committees. Field research in California counties where allowed by local health authorities will be starting soon in Stage 3. 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 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 and because very high (near 100%) compliance needs to be demonstrated before we can move to Stage 4. If there are egregious cases of repeated or flagrant non-compliance, those involved may be asked to shut down their programs.
  • If your building has not yet been opened, but your building’s Stage 3 research plan is ready and approved, then it is likely that your building needs EH&S and DFSS clearances. 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.  The Research Building Open Status page will be updated regularly. Opening buildings takes time and only a few buildings can be opened each week. Many people are working very hard to get your building ready for you to get back to your research.
  • 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, recently 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.

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