Coronavirus Updates


Providing guidance to Brown’s research community in light of ongoing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Impact on Research Activities from COVID-19

Research is central to Brown’s mission, and the health and safety of our research community is a top priority. For this reason, the same principles to limit COVID-19 exposure that have been communicated to the Brown campus are being applied also to research activities.

All non-critical, on-campus research will be restricted only to essential activities by 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 18. Critical work includes maintenance of certain equipment, maintenance of critical samples and care of animals, and work whose interruption would result in irretrievable or unrecoverable loss of data or samples, or loss of time for an ongoing experiment that could not be recovered within a reasonable period.

Faculty researchers have been provided guidance to ramp down bench research in an orderly fashion. Senior Academic Deans and research leaders are being provided with further guidance, including for activities that are deemed critical. The Brown Center for Animal Resources and Education has communicated details to affected researchers about COVID-19 emergency planning and is collecting important information regarding needed lab personnel for animal husbandry. Researchers have been asked to provide this information.

All human subject research activities must be conducted remotely effective Monday, March 16. In particular, research participants are no longer permitted to travel to campus, and Brown personnel cannot travel to participants' homes.

Please see further details in the following communications:

Research Continuity Planning

Each laboratory should have a continuity plan to fit its unique needs. Plan for a reduced workforce, delays in cleaning and repairs of laboratory facilities, and shipping delays of supplies. Create a communications plan with essential staff and communicate plans for absences to the laboratory supervisor and other key administrative units that would need to know about these absences. If there is a need to close your laboratory or research support function, please also communicate with Brown’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety and consider others who may need to know. 

In order to ensure continuity of critical functions for your research:

  • Identify procedures and processes that require regular personnel attention, such as cell culture maintenance, animal studies and chemical reactions.
  • Coordinate with colleagues in related research areas and cross-train research staff to help mitigate disruption.
  • Review contingency plans and emergency procedures with researchers and staff. This includes identifying work that can be done remotely, implementing procedures for ensuring that laboratory spaces are disinfected, and reminding staff to stay away from work if feeling unwell.

Info. on Human Subjects and Sponsored Research

Human Subject Research

Brown’s HRPP (Human Research Protection Program) and IRB (Institutional Review Board) have established revised expectations of its human subjects research community as the COVID-19 situation on campus, off campus and internationally continues to evolve.

Please consult the HRPP/IRB Home page for the following:

  • Operations status updates

  • Important information about prioritization of review of IRB protocols

  • In-person interactions with study participants

  • Modifying in-person study procedures to remote study procedures

  • Voluntary delay of study enrollment or participation

  • FAQs

Sponsored Projects

The purchase of refundable airline tickets is temporarily permitted under Brown’s new COVID-19 travel policies and travel cancellation fees may be charged to sponsored funds in some cases. 

Please consult the Sponsored Projects Home page for updates and guidance released by federal agencies.