COVID-19 Research Continuity Update

Dear University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias Colleagues,

Referring to my last message, I am writing today to provide you with further information on current status and latest developments.

As noted in my last message, the current definition of essential research activity and scholarly activity was developed in response to Governor Mills’ Stay Health at Home executive order which requires all Maine people to stay at home through April 30th, unless to leave for an essential work or activity.

I would like to thank-you for your continued patience during this time of uncertainty.  My staff and I very much feel the pain and the frustrations of our researchers, and we will continue to closely monitor federal, state, UMS and UMaine guidelines as we approach the April 30 expiration of the Governor’s Stay Healthy at Home order, and hope that we will be able to relax the current definition of essential research and scholarly activity as guidance from the State, UMS and UMaine are relaxed.

In the meantime, we have developed some additional Frequently Asked Questions regarding the essential activity definition, guidance and requests (first attached file) which will be available on the Research and Graduate School FAQs site.  Also the second attached file provides some general guidance for fieldwork, which addresses key review criteria and safety considerations for essential fieldwork activity between now and May 17th (current expiration of the Chancellor’s Work Remotely directive) and general guidance for fieldwork planned beyond May 17th. The key takeaway for planning fieldwork for May and June is to be prepared but flexible.

Finally, I would like to let you know that we have established a COVID-19 Research Continuity Task Force to assist with to assist with the anticipated changes to the research guidelines and their implementation as the COVID-19 conditions dictate. While you are always welcome to contact my office with questions and concerns regarding research, I encourage you to contact Tammy Crosby from this task force with research activity ramp-up suggestions and questions. The full membership of this task force is provided below:

  • Tammy Crosby, Chair, Special Assistant to the VPRDGS
  • Amanda Ashe, Director of Research Compliance
  • James Beaupre, Director of Industrial Cooperation
  • Peter Drown, Operations Manager, ASCC
  • Nuri Emanetoglu, Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Mark Hutton, Associate Dean for Research, NSFA
  • Deborah Saber, Assistant Professor of Nursing and Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee of the Faculty Senate
  • Kristy Townsend, Associate Professor of Neurobiology
  • Tammy York, Grant & Contract Administrator III, ORA

We, like you, are anxious to get back to normal research operations as soon as we can do so safely. Again, thank-you for your patience during this time of uncertainty and for all that you do in service of our University, the State and beyond.

Best wishes,

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