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To Brown Researchers: Ramping Down Research Activities to Reduce Exposure

March 15, 2020

Dear Graduate Students,

We are in the midst of an extraordinarily challenging period, and I want to thank you for all that you are doing to promote the health and wellness of our communities. While I know that you are getting a lot of information right now, I wanted to forward a message from Jill Pipher, Vice President for Research, and Provost Richard Locke regarding restrictions on laboratory-based research as we all work to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Please read that message closely (see below).

We know you are deeply invested in your research. However, to protect our community, it will be necessary to begin rapidly curtailing research, and restricting access to laboratories and libraries. It is clear that our entire community will be making adjustments and sacrifices at this time. We are committed to minimizing the repercussions for your research and training, and we will be in touch with additional guidance as the situation develops.

If you have not already, please be in touch with your advisor about how the new restrictions may affect your research. Principal Investigators and laboratory leaders have been asked to determine any activities that are critical and essential and therefore must continue. These critical activities may include animal care and other lab activities provided by graduate students. If you have questions, please contact your advisor, DGS or the Graduate School at [email protected] or 401-863-2600.

We know that we are asking a lot of our graduate student community. Some may question whether these actions are warranted. We are closely following guidance from campus, state and national medical experts, and seeking to prevent the potentially devastating impact that this epidemic has had in other regions of the country and the world. Thank you for all that you are doing to support this shared goal, and please take care of yourselves and one another.


Andrew G. Campbell
Dean of the Graduate School
Professor of Medical Science
Molecular Microbiology & Immunology
Brown University


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Provost Richard M. Locke <[email protected]>
Date: Sun, Mar 15, 2020 at 10:51 AM
Subject: COVID-19 Updates - Advice to Researchers

Dear Brown Research Community,

We are writing to share an important update on research activities at Brown as we monitor the situation with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Research is central to our mission, and the health and safety of our research community is a top priority. For this reason, the same principles to limit exposure that have been communicated to the campus must be applied also to Brown’s research activities.

Principal Investigators and laboratory leaders should begin immediately preparing for all non-critical, on-campus research to be restricted only to essential activities by 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 18. Requests for extensions should be sent to [email protected], and extensions will be granted to restrict non-essential activities no later than 5 p.m. Friday, March 20.

Faculty researchers should make plans to ramp down bench research in an orderly fashion. We will work with Senior Academic Deans and research leaders to provide further guidance on these plans, including the activities that are deemed critical. Please note that the March 13, 2020 email you received from the Brown Center for Animal Resources and Education has details about COVID-19 emergency planning and requests important information regarding needed lab personnel for animal husbandry. Please review the email and respond with the information requested.

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. 

Many of the country’s leading research institutions are taking this same extraordinary step of ramping down on-campus research activities, including laboratory and certain human subjects research. We are taking this step to prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and to promote public health more broadly.

Staff and graduate students will continue to be paid during this temporary pause in on-campus research activity. We are preparing a further communication pertinent to graduate students.

Please continue to regularly check for information. Updates from federal funding agencies on a variety of topics, including salary/stipend costs on grants, travel, and working with human subjects also can be found on the OVPR resource page. Researchers working with human subjects should check the HRPP/IRB page for updated information.

We hope that this temporary pause in on-campus research activity will not be protracted. The situation will be assessed and re-evaluated regularly, and we will update Brown researchers with any changes.   We thank you for your dedication to research at Brown in these challenging circumstances.


Richard M. Locke, Provost and Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs

Jill Pipher, Vice President for Research and Professor of Mathematics