FAQ: Research operations during COVID-19 outbreak

Temple University is closely following the COVID-19 outbreak. Please refer to the FAQs below as it relates to research operations and sponsored projects. This webpage will continue to be updated frequently as new information is received. For additional questions, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) at

Whom do I contact for specific questions?

What funding opportunities are available for research related to COVID-19? 
Please see the following funding opportunities:

NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts: Enter "2019-nCoV" in the search field

NSF - Dear Colleague Letter: Provisioning Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Further Research on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - dated 3/5/2020

The NIH Fogarty International Center has also issued the following resource: Coronavirus news and resources for global health researchers 

I had travel planned related to my research and can no longer attend due to COVID-19. What should I do?  Can I charge my cancellation fee to my research project?
Please refer to university guidelines related to travel restrictions. For questions related to the allowability of conference expenses, travel expenses, and cancellation fees that are non-refundable, please contact Allison Shah. To date, federal agencies have not provided any guidance. Until additional guidance is provided, we will make a determination on a case by case basis.

Flights booked through Concur can be cancelled, and a voucher will be issued for use within one year.

NSF has also provided additional guidance here, although guidance on cancellation fees is still pending.

What is the status of OVPR operations?
All divisions within OVPR are operational, including the Division of Research Administration, Division of Research Regulatory Compliance and Strategic Initiatives, Division of Technology Commercialization and Business Development, and ERA services.  We’re suspending OVPR outreach programs, and relevant audiences will be notified.

Should Temple University move classes online, we will operate as normal. Should Temple close, we will advise you of our operating status.

What is the status of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety operations?
EHRS will continue to support research should the university decide to close. Call 215-707-2520 or 215-783-1899 if you need assistance.

What is the impact to my research and lab personnel if classes move to an online format?  
The movement of classes to an online format would not impact research personnel to continue working in the lab, unless instructed otherwise. As we cannot anticipate all scenarios, please work with your lab manager and Principal Investigator on how to proceed. If additional guidance is needed, please contact your Associate Dean for Research and Allison Shah. If you have an active protocol, please also include Michael Henderson.

A portion of my research activities or study may be impacted by COVID-19.  Who do I need to notify?  Do I need to notify the sponsor?
If the study needs to be paused, the sponsor should be notified. Contact your Grants and Contracts Specialist for more information on how to proceed.

What is the process for receiving or sending biological samples or other materials related to COVID-19 research?
Consistent with the transfer of other research materials to and from Temple University, a Material Transfer Agreement must be approved prior to receiving or sending for any COVID-19 materials. Please contact Jeffrey Tolliver to initiate the process for a material transfer agreement. Additional institutional approvals may be necessary based on the type of material and nature of the research, including approval by Temple University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee and the university’s Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS) department. The Material Transfer Agreement will only be signed following all required compliance-related reviews and approvals.

What planning should be done to prepare for potential disruptions?
As we continue to monitor the novel coronavirus and the potential impact to research, we want to remind you that no one associated with Temple University has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus here in the U.S. or on any of our international campuses. All research support services and activities are operating as normal.    

  • Identify emergency personnel and ensure they know what to do in the event of suspended operations.
  • Remind personnel in your lab of your communication plan or create one if not in place.
  • Ensure remote access to systems, files, and data is available.  Please keep in mind requirements to keep data safe and secure when considering remote access options.
  • Plan for remote proposal submission and notify Research Administration of any upcoming submissions prior to the five day deadline.
  • Check travel restrictions before making travel plans or attending already scheduled travel, conferences, or meetings.

What if I need to work on my research project from a remote location due to COVID-19? 
If a researcher is working from a location outside the United States due to a travel suspension, please contact OVPR immediately. If a researcher is working from home due to self-isolation or as a result of coronavirus and this will not result in an impediment to the research project, please proceed as normal. If these circumstances may lead to a delay in research activities or a slowdown of progress, please contact OVPR.

What can/should I do if a participant is sick? Can/should I ask screening questions?
Please see the resources below:

Protocol for Screening Patients for Suspected 2019 Novel Coronavirus (n-CoV) in Outpatient Healthcare Settings
    City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Health
    Updated: March 10, 2020

Algorithm for Screening Patients for Suspected 2019 Novel Coronavirus (n-CoV) in Outpatient Healthcare Settings 
    City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Health
    Updated: March 10, 2020