Research Working Group

Research Ramp-up Continues

We are currently in the second stage of the Research Ramp-up. During the second stage, work that can be done effectively remotely must continue to be done remotely to maintain density limitations on campus.

What's New

  • Maximum of 50% occupancy at any particular time, subject to an approved ramp-up plan
  • Columbia undergraduates may participate in on-campus laboratory research, provided they comply with all required return-to-campus protocols
  • Human subjects research may resume on all campuses, subject to applicable guidelines and requirements
  • For those who can do their work remotely, there is no change. You should continue to do it remotely. That was true for the first stage under our Research Ramp-Up Framework, and it remains true under the second stage.
  • For those who cannot do their work remotely but are not yet covered by an applicable planned next phase of ramp-up plan, there is no change for the time being. Your school, institute or principal investigator will bring you within the scope of a ramp-up plan as soon as feasible.
  • For those whose work can only be accomplished on campus and who are covered by an applicable research ramp-up plan, you will be expected to be on campus to the extent needed to carry out your work responsibilities. We understand the world is different than it was pre-COVID-19. You should spend as little time on campus as needed to get your work done.  For example, if coming in one day a week would make it possible for you to do the rest of your week’s work remotely, that is what you should do, in accordance with the plan for your research team.
  • Individual faculty/staff will be permitted to use their offices for research and other activities, subject to an approved ramp-up plan and procedures established by your school, institute or department.
  • For those returning from locations with increased rates of COVID-19 transmission, you must quarantine for 14 days before returning, unless you are essential personnel, in accordance with New York State interim guidance.

The Research Ramp-up Framework communicates principles and considerations to assist schools and researchers as they plan to restart research and provides an overview of the phases in the process.  The initial phase of return allows up to a maximum of one third of normal occupancy at any point in time, and advises using that capacity as efficiently as feasible by staggering work hours, working in shifts, and the like. Of course, all the parameters specified in the framework are subject to revision in response to public health requirements.

Please reference the Coronavirus Resource Center, which provides information on COVID-19 for patients and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center community.

Required Protocol for Returning to Campus

Coming to campus at any point this spring?
These rules—and related policies and guidelines—apply to you.

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1. Read the Enhanced University Health and Safety Policy

This policy has been established to help protect individuals in the Columbia community and our neighbors.

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2. Read and Sign the Health Compact

Everyone who returns to campus must sign the University Health Compact, which can be found in the required online safety training.

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3. Take Safety Training

If you are returning to campus, you must take the COVID-19 safety course before you return to campus.

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4. Self-quarantine, If Required

International students and those traveling to campus from certain states or territories must self-quarantine as required by New York State.

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5. Get Tested

To provide an additional layer of safety, Columbia will require an initial single COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test of all faculty, staff, and students returning to campus.

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6. Complete the Daily Symptom Self-check

All faculty, staff, and students must complete a daily symptom self-check before entering campus.

Special Requirements for Researchers

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1. Review your team’s ramp-up plan

Each PI has been required to develop a ramp-up plan that meets public health requirements and is approved by the relevant department and/or school.

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2. Complete "Safe Research at Columbia" training in Rascal

All personnel returning to on-site activity must complete training. Researchers must complete this training in Rascal and sign the related attestation.

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3. Get the necessary approvals

Obtain any necessary special approvals, e.g., for field research.

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4. Review research ramp-up requirements

Review the requirements for resuming on-site research in the second stage of the Research Ramp-up. This stage could last for some months.

Planning Tools and Guidance

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Research Ramp-up Framework and Planning Tools

Guiding principles, considerations, planning tools, and an overview of the research ramp-up

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Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities

The Research Work Group has developed Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities.

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Guidelines and Form for Field Research

Resumption of any field research requires adherence to research guidelines and prior approval by the relevant dean, director, or vice president; with a report to the Office of the Provost. State and University travel policies must be followed.

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Research Administration and Compliance FAQs

The Offices of the Executive Vice President for Research answer frequently asked questions, including on human subjects research.

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Undergraduate Participation in On-campus Research

Undergraduates may participate in on-campus laboratory research subject to an approved Principal Investigator Ramp-up Plan and provided that they follow all return-to-campus protocols.

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Resumption of On-campus Human Subjects Research

On-campus human subjects research may resume on the Morningside and Manhattanville campuses, subject to an approved ramp-up plan and these guidelines.

Where to Go With a Concern

To discuss a concern, if possible, first contact your supervisor, department or the office of the dean of your school or institute.

Office of Academic Affairs (CUIMC)

Supporting over 9,500 faculty and researchers across the four health science schools of the medical center

Office of Faculty Affairs

Responsible for administering University policies and processes governing academic appointments, managing tenure review, and maintaining fair processes in handling grievances from academic officers

Human Resources

A full range of services, including recruiting, interviewing, placing and guiding employees; maintaining benefits and payroll; mediating conflict; hosting trainings; and, offering learning and development programs

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Supporting and assisting postdocs in their professional training and development, and offering in-depth guidance and resources on all matters pertaining to postdoctoral affairs

Compliance Hotline (Anonymous Reporting)

The hotline serves as a channel for employees to report or seek guidance on possible compliance issues.

Ombuds Office (Confidential)

A confidential place to discuss workplace issues, academic concerns, issues relating to administrative paperwork and process, explanation and interpretation of policies and procedures, and other issues or concerns.

Research Ramp-up Ambassadors

The Research Ramp-Up Ambassadors provide support on issues such as: (1) pressure to come back to on-site work at a time where this is voluntary; (2) concerns from individuals who want to come back but have been told to wait; or (3) concerns that individuals or labs are not following the required safety and public health measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19. 

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