COVID-19 Halting on-campus research activities

Effective March 21 at 9 p.m., New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy enacted a statewide stay-at-home order. Though the guidelines allow us to continue to provide on campus services and continue our teaching through remote instruction, they present challenges when it comes to aspects of our research enterprise.

In light of this, and the need to ensure the health and safety of our community, the University halted all non-essential on-campus research activities. Faculty members and facility directors responsible for on-campus research activities were asked to proceed with shut-down procedures for all “non-essential” on-campus research activities.

Read Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti's memo on the halting of on-campus research activities

Key elements:

  • Essential research operations: Researchers may request continuity of on-campus research whose interruption would have unacceptably negative consequences. The Office of the Dean for Research will inform researchers whether their application for continuity of essential on-campus research has been approved or not.

Essential operations include:

  • critical experiments that could not otherwise be replaced or repeated, even a great inconvenience
  • the maintenance of lab activities or equipment that may be unsafe, irreversibly damaged, or detrimentally impacted if left unmonitored
  • animal support, maintaining shared computational equipment, and maintaining equipment that requires gas or cryogen monitoring/service, such as deep-storage freezers, electron microscopes, mass spectrometers, and incubators
  • Completion of shutdown procedures: Researchers were asked to complete shutdown procedures by the close of business on Monday, March 23. Researchers may find useful a checklist for shutting down your laboratory and checklist for shutting down your Biosafety cabinet.
  • Personnel involved in on-campus research: Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers should only participate in on-campus essential activities (including critical maintenance or research that is allowed to continue because it is deemed essential) if they choose to do so. Under no circumstances should a graduate student or a post-doctoral researcher be compelled to perform on-campus activities against their will. The academic deans in the Office of the Graduate School, Dean Christine Murphy (Natural Sciences and Engineering) and Dean Geoffrey Hill (Humanities and Social Sciences), are available to discuss these issues with students.
  • Research continues during the shutdown: Where possible, continue to interact virtually and hold meetings online — both to carry out scholarly activity and to promote the academic and emotional well-being of your lab members. We hope that remote research activities flourish during this challenging time.

The health and safety of our Princeton community are at the forefront of our thoughts and planning efforts. The University will continue to support our research community and to maintain essential on-campus research functions during this uncertain time. Our veterinary care staff will continue to maintain the health and welfare of our research animals, and the offices that support research and environmental health and safety will continue to function. We appreciate your commitment to the shift to virtual scholarship and your dedication to the well-being of our Princeton research community.

    For questions about research continuity or operations, email: researchplan@princeton.edu.