Date: April 2, 2020
To: NYU Researchers

Dear Colleagues:

Most importantly, I hope you are all doing well. It has been a couple of weeks since we suspended all non-essential, onsite research.  As the situation continues to challenge us, we are committed to providing continuous and timely support to our research community.

All current information and notices can still be found on the continually-updated NYU COVID page for research and laboratories. Depending on your area of research, I know that your specific needs and concerns will be different.  This memo includes a comprehensive list of activities and guidance.

1. NYU’s Response to COVID-19

NYU researchers have risen to the challenges of COVID-19.  We continue to collect and donate PPE including masks, face shields, gloves, isolation gowns, and other items. If you have PPE to donate, please contact Jen Curtis at jcc23@nyu.edu. We are also working across schools and campuses to produce 700,000 face shields over the next two weeks.

Academically, our scholars are making enormous contributions to coronavirus research that run the gamut from assays and diagnosis and drug development to data projects to track disease spread and predict severity of illness.

Our Ask a Scientist website allows anyone to ask a scientist a COVID-19-related question and our Data Collaboratives in Response to COVID-19 serves as a repository for data collaboratives seeking to address the spread of COVID-19 and its secondary effects.

For this work and more, we have already competed successfully for federal funds earmarked to address the crisis.

As NYU is responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also identifying new innovations.  The result has been a robust flow of ideas, ranging from new drugs, diagnostics, and devices to novel clinical delivery strategies (e.g., digital health) promising to render better, safer care for patients, and the global population.  These are being reviewed on an expedited basis, so that promising ideas can be advanced quickly, through the identification of appropriate resources and partners. Please email us with your ideas at innovation@nyulangone.org.

2.   Internal and external resources to support your work

Notably, we have extended the performance period for all VPR-funded internal seed awards by one year to provide relief and flexibility.  Further, the Mega Grants program is now awarding seed funding to launch research projects related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 University Research Challenge Fund applications are still under review and will move forward. Faculty members who submitted proposals will be notified by mid-May of decisions.

A note from Research Development and the Office of Sponsored Programs was sent to all Investigators as well as sponsors that have sent communications expressing their support for your work during these difficult times. Visit OSP’s COVID-19 page to learn more about:

  • Internal and external resources for NYU Research and Labs and connections to your colleagues addressing COVID-19 and research on pandemics.
  • Support available from your RD and OSP teams and FAQ’s to help manage your sponsored program portfolios, including a matrix on sponsor flexibilities.

We remain optimistic that the CARES act will provide additional relief.  We know some of the funding provisions include $945M for the NIH, $76M for NSF, $100M for DOE, $415M for DOD, $75M for NEH, and $6M for NIST.  Additional stimulus packages that will benefit research are underway and we are monitoring these closely.

3.   Update on research administration and programs

The Office of Veterinary Resources

OVR continues to care for research animals through the courageous efforts of staff now divided into two, alternating teams. Veterinary care is also available 7 days a week. Active research studies are mostly on hiatus and no new studies may be initiated.  Ongoing essential construction to the animal facilities is being reviewed to meet New York State guidelines that would allow work to continue. Contingency plans are being made should we get a cessation of work order.

Institutional Animal Care and Use

For rodent labs that had to euthanize animals, PIs are asked to keep track of numbers to include in amendments for UAWC review once non-critical research resumes.  The UAWC will work with researchers to replace animal numbers on the relevant protocol(s).  The cost of replacement animals, once activity resumes, should be charged to sponsored projects to the extent the PI has extramural funds.  If the PI does not have extramural funding, then internal research funding would be explored with school level approval in accordance with guidance sent out by the university’s budget office. Please consult your Projects Officer at the Office of Sponsored Programs so they can work with you and the relevant parties to ensure these costs are covered and projects are recalibrated accordingly.

Institutional Review Board

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have suspended in-person research to ensure the safety of our research participants, investigators and students. This suspension justifies any no-cost extensions required to complete research aims going forward. Where possible, lab-based studies have transferred to an online platform until we can resume normal operations.

The IRB Office staff are working to ensure a quick turn-around of all applications. Investigators are still advised to submit protocols for in-person activities so research may begin immediately after lifting the COVID-19 suspension.

FAQs specifically for research involving human subjects during the COVID-19 pandemic are available here.

A link to NYC DOE FAQs regarding the transfer of school-based research to online platforms during COVID-19 is here.

The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute

All programs & coaching sessions are operating remotely on schedule, though the dates for the $100k Technology Venture Competition have been pushed back. If you have a project and would like to explore its commercial potential, please schedule an appointment (select "NYU Faculty Entrepreneurs"). To sign up for other events, please visit our website at entrepreneur.nyu.edu, or read our Coronavirus/COVID-19 FAQ.

Thank you for your flexibility and continued dedication.  Any questions or concerns are encouraged.  Please let me know if there is anything more we can do to support your work, your departments, and your schools.  I remain strongly optimistic that we will emerge from this stronger than ever, though I recognize how hard this is for each of us.

Sending all my best,

Stacie Grossman Bloom
Vice Provost for Research
New York University