March 24: COVID-19 Research Impact Update

As indicated in my last communication on March 18th, and as mentioned by President Ferrini-Mundy in her March 20th communication, research labs have moved to ‘remote research’ when possible, with small numbers of staff coming in to conduct essential research activities to sustain the most critical functions. Essential means either that the research activity during this period is critical to the health of the public; is of national or state importance; involves the protection of valuable resources such as cell lines, animal lines, instrumentation requiring regular attention, etc. which cannot be shut down and must be kept going at a basal level; is necessary to avoid prematurely stopping an experiment or research process in progress that would result in an irrecoverable loss; or is necessary because experimentation or related activities for the coming year are tightly linked to season phenology and even a short delay will result in long term impacts.

My office has requested that all faculty who intend to continue performing research on the University of Maine Orono campus and its other facilities in the state  complete an online form to report their projects.  The form also requests information regarding the associated research personnel (including students) and the steps that will be taken to ensure the safety of lab participants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

My office will receive these reports and identify any that represent areas of concern. All reporting forms and information on concerns will be forwarded to the appropriate college dean or center director who will ensure that established unit-specific safety protocols are followed.

As a reminder, COVID-19 Research Guidelines are available at the links below:

The University will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and regularly update the Research Guidelines provided through the above links. Also, please continue to regularly check the UMS Information page ( and the UMaine Information page (

We understand that this period of time will be disruptive to the research and scholarly activities of you, your students, and your research team. But please be assured that all the units associated with my office are operational and will do everything possible to support you. This includes assisting with the preparation and submission of new proposals.

With the temporary pause or slowing down of certain aspects of research activities, as this could result in freeing up of some time, this actually may be a good period of time to dedicate to the preparation of new proposals, as well as to seek supplemental funding for current awards. The Office of Research Development has expert staff, who can direct you to opportune funding programs, as well as to assist you with the development of proposals to those programs. Similarly, the Office of Research Administration is available to assist with the final preparation, approval process, and submission of your proposals. Moreover, the Office of Research Compliance is ready to support you with your research compliance needs.

In conclusion, please know that we appreciate your patience and all your good work in support of our university’s research mission.


Kody Varahramyan
Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School