Information for Researchers
If you have research questions, please discuss them with your supervisor or contact ORED at 662-325-3570.
ORED offers the following guidance, effective as of June 1.
Research activities, including in-person work on campus in labs and other facilities, may resume operations if university safety protocols and physical distancing requirements are met.
Guidelines for Research Activities
- Promote and enforce physical distancing in all areas: offices, centers, labs, training rooms, meeting areas, and outdoor activity areas. The recommended space for physical distancing remains at 6 feet.
- Adaptations are likely required and are the responsibility of the principal investigator and the supervisor managing the facility and the research activity. Thus, responsibility will include the principal investigator (PI), department head, lab director, center director, or other authorized official.
- When physical distancing is not practicable or possible because of the nature of the research related activity or room configuration, facial coverings are required.
- All standard operating procedures and protocols for lab/facility safety must be maintained.
- Ensure frequent hand washing and make hand sanitizer readily available.
- Clean and disinfect high touch areas often.
- Monitor your own health and make sure everyone understands to stay home if they don't feel well.
- Be ready to adjust or adapt as guidance may change as conditions change.
Steps to Maintain Physical Distancing
- Supervisors are responsible for staffing as to maintain physical distancing guidance.
- Modification may include staggering work schedules, supporting telework schedules, or some hybrid approach.
- You may need to rearrange spaces, remove chairs as a physical indicator of the number of people allowed in a room or space, or close break rooms to minimize the opportunity for people to congregate.
- Post clear instructions/expectations to support your particular needs.
- If your situation is such you are unable to adapt and adjust while meeting the physical distance guidelines, please discuss with your Associate Dean for Research or ORED administrator.
Human Subject Research
For the duration of the pandemic, human subject research shall remain the most restrictive and should continue to be done remotely.
Resumption of in person human subjects research with ORC approval
On July 6 , MSU will begin allowing face to face interactions for human subject research if the following safety guidelines are strictly applied. Approval is required by the Office of Research Compliance. Please contact the Office of Research Compliance for more details. See https://www.orc.msstate.edu
Human subjects research safety guidelines
- Require all subjects and research personnel to wear facial coverings.
- Postpone study visits for participants in a high-risk category (older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions). Refer to CDC guidance for a full list.
- Implement participant screening regarding symptoms and contact with COVID-19 patients to minimize exposure risk (such screening questions do not require IRB approval as long as the data will not be added to the research data set). Refer to CDC guidance for COVID-19 symptoms. See screening questions below
- Ensure that hand sanitizer and/or hand washing facilities are readily available.
- Establish rigorous disinfecting protocols for any equipment, manipulatives, or other study materials that will be used by multiple participants.
- Schedule appointments to not overlap with those of other subjects and disinfect between appointments.
- Consider requesting a waiver of documentation of consent (to be approved to waive documentation of consent, the study must present no more than minimal risk of harm to participants and involve no procedures for which written consent is normally required outside the research context).
Human subjects research participant screening questions
The following questions are recommended for screening.
- In the past 2 weeks, have you been in close contact with anyone with confirmed COVID-19 virus who is still in their isolation period or still has symptoms?
- In the last 2 weeks, have you been in close contact with anyone who is currently awaiting their COVID-19 test results?
- Have you had a fever and cough within the last 24 hours that you cannot attribute to another known health condition?
- Have you had a shortness of breath within the last 24 hours that you cannot attribute to another known health condition?
- Do you feel generally unwell for any reason? For example, do you have a new unexplained muscle aches, new sore throat, new GI distress or other new changes in your health that you cannot attribute to another known health condition or specific activity?
Other Research Information
Guidance from federal agencies and other sponsors about proposals and awards
Federal agencies are providing updates on their websites regarding changes to proposals and awards. Because the COVID-19 response is rapidly changing, make sure you are viewing the most recent update from the agency. ORED has created and will continue to update a list of resources and information from sponsors and agencies.
Documenting impact on scope of work and/or expenditures
Recent events likely impacted and may continue to impact your ability to accomplish your current scope of work. Steps to take include:
- Document the specific nature of the impact on your work including deliverables, timeline, budget and additional costs. In the event that supplemental funding and other modifications become available, the more detail you have about the impact on your project, the better off you will be.
- Maintain contact with program managers and follow all of the steps provided in any guidance from sponsors.
- Monitor guidance from sponsors including the Office of Management and Budget and your particular sponsor. SPA, OSP, and ORED are receiving guidance from some sponsors related to impacts on research and maintaining a list of publicly available resource pages. This information is being constantly updated.
- PIs with funding from private sponsors should contact them directly for guidance.
- Maintain communication with Sponsored Programs Accounting to discuss any sponsor guidance and options for possible modification to your project.
- Be proactive with requests for no-cost extensions—the sooner you are prepared to request, the better.
New funding opportunities related to COVID-19
- ORED has compiled and will continue to update a list of new funding opportunities. If you need assistance with planning a response, building a team, or other support, please contact the Office of Sponsored Projects Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disseminating your work through MSU’s Institutional Repository
Scholars Junction (ir.library.msstate.edu) makes it easy to share a video recording of your presentation, your paper, your poster, your data set, or any other research. The institutional repository ensures free, open, perpetual access to your research and can help you enhance the visibility and reputation of your work. Scholars Junction accepts original, finished research articles, data, posters, presentations, recordings, etc. from MSU students, faculty, staff, researchers, and clinicians. Hundreds of resources are already housed at Scholars Junction.
Access to information resources provided through the MSU Libraries
The MSU Libraries will continue to provide access to its online collections in order to provide faculty and researchers with the information resources they need. This includes providing document delivery and interlibrary loan services as well as “Ask A Librarian” services where library faculty are available for consultations via telephone and the online chat service. Visit for more information on the Library services continuity plan.
Alternative activities that can be done if you or your lab are continuing to telework
ORED has compiled a list of activities for scholars who are continuing to engage in telework, including resources for developing research skills, developing professional materials, engaging in outreach, and more. See some recommendations and ideas.