COVID-19: UB Research Guidance

The University at Buffalo is monitoring the COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) situation carefully and is taking proactive and prudent measures to ensure the health and safety of the UB community in accordance with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We are pleased to inform you that UB’s research administration and support infrastructure is 100% operational with employees working remotely from home.

Research and Economic Development has been working in conjunction with faculty and staff collaborators throughout the University to develop an operational plan to resume research on campus.

Guidance for Sponsored Projects during COVID-19

Research Administration Sponsor Specific

We are providing information and resources relating to research administration to assist in navigating the impact of the COVID -19 crisis on your sponsored activities. This information will be updated as new information is received.

Availability of Services

UB’s research administration and support infrastructure is 100% operational with employees working remotely from alternative worksites.

Payment Processing

Currently, payment forms are received in SPS as hard copy documents.  (Payments are defined as: Cash Advance Requests, Independent Contractor setup and payment forms, Non-Employee Reimbursements, Participant Stipends and Subject payments.) Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we have determined that there is a need to adjust the process to ensure continuity of services as we work from alternative worksites.

Until further notice, the following process should be followed for Sponsored transactions which would normally be received as hard copies.

  1. Payments will be processed through UB Box to ensure compliance with the University’s data security standards. UB Box is safe and secure for documents that contain sensitive information such as social security numbers and bank account numbers.
  2. SPS Administrative Support will set up UB Box payment folders by department.
  3. Departments will submit a request to OVPR.SPSMail@research.buffalo.edu to gain access to their UB Box payment folder.
  4. Departments will upload payment forms including all applicable backup documentation to their UB Box folder. Payment forms can be signed with e-signatures or with scanned copies of original signatures.  Paper copies should not be submitted to avoid the possibility of transactions being duplicated.  Multiple payments should not be combined together in one file.
  5. SPS Administrative Support will direct the payment forms to the Award Analyst for review and approval.

IDI Process Change

Currently IDIs are received as hard copy documents. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we have determined that there is a need to adjust the process to ensure continuity of services as we work from alternative worksites.

Until further notice the following process should be followed:

  1. Service Centers shall submit IDIs through UB Box. The Center contact should email OVPR.SPSMail@research.buffalo.edu, Sponsored Projects Services (SPS), to obtain access to the box. The Center contact will provide the name of the Center and contact name.
  2. SPS will create a specific Center folder and provide access to the Center contact to upload invoices. Invoices should be single IDIs with associated backup, and NOT one document with all IDIs.
  3. SPS will direct the IDI to the appropriate party for review and processing.
  4. Processing includes the review for compliance for a sponsored award and adding the expenditure type and e-signature to the IDI form.
  5. Once approved, the SPS Award Analyst will move the IDI to the SPS Approved folder.  If the IDI will be paid from a Non-Sponsored account, it will be moved directly to the Non-Sponsored IDIs folder.

To accommodate remote work from alternative worksites Sponsored Projects Services will be adjusting (details coming soon). Please email OVPR.SPSMail@research.buffalo.edu if you require guidance.

Additional information on University Business Services status can be found on the Administrative Gateway.

Remote or Alternative Worksite allowability

Provides guidance regarding telecommuting requirements. Additionally, Research Foundation employees may obtain additional information from the RF Central HR FAQs.

Salaries and allowable expenditures

Per OMB 20-17, Federal awarding agencies may allow recipients to continue to charge salaries and benefits to currently active Federal awards consistent with the recipients' policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, Federal and non-Federal. The document, Continuation of Salaries and Fringe under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances, outlines the Research Foundation for SUNY’s policy during these circumstances.

The Research Foundation for SUNY has provided FAQs for employees to understand what options are available to them; these are updated as needed. Additionally, UB's Human Resources (HR) has provided information relating to the COVID-19 emergency and you should contact HR if you have questions.

If you are seeking guidance for a specific expenditure on a sponsored project, please reach out to your SPS Award Analyst to determine allowability.

As of close of business (COB) on 3/24/2020, the University at Buffalo’s non-essential research was placed into “hibernation.” Please review the information below to guide you when you should contact Human Resources (HR) for information and/or guidance related to project staff paid from sponsored activities.

Contact HR:
  • If staff continue to work in the lab at their appointed effort then no action is recommended unless their work status changes.
  • If staff continue to work in the lab at a reduced effort and maintained their full appointed effort with supplemental work from an alternative worksite, they must have a Temporary Alternate Work Assignment-Location Plan completed, signed and on file with HR.
  • If staff continue to work at their full appointment from an alternative work site they must have a Temporary Alternate Work Assignment-Location Plan completed, signed and on file with HR.
  • If staffs’ work is reduced in part or in full from their full appointment please contact HR  to seek additional information and/or guidance.

Travel

Information is available on the Administrative Gateway site.

Proposal Deadline

Many Federal and non-federal sponsors are providing extensions for proposal submissions. See Below under sponsor specific guidance regarding late submissions or sponsor extensions of deadlines.

Human Subject Research

The Clinical Research Office and Office of Research Compliance websites offer information on Human Subject research

Animal Research

Recent communication from VPRED, Venu Govindaraju, provides guidance surrounding essential research activities, including animal studies. Specific questions may be directed to vpr@research.buffalo.edu.

Notice: All non-essential research labs to close Monday, March 23rd

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

University Facilities experts are able to assist you regarding the laboratory environment. Look up the specific expert to help you.