Research Ramp-down

Updated 3/18/2020

On March 15th, 2020, University leadership issued memos announcing the urgent ramp-down of research activities. See 3/15/2020: COVID-19 and Urgent Research Tasks and 3/15/2020: Message from Dean Goldman regarding ramp-down of CUIMC research. The ramp-down, effective March 19, 2020, limits all on campus research to solely essential research and research functions.

The following FAQs are related to the ramp-down, originally posted 3/16/2020.

The term essential research applies both to research on COVID-19 and its downstream effects and to laboratory work that must be done in support of ongoing clinical trials. Further, essential means either that the research is critical to the health of the public or that valuable resources, such as cell lines, animal lines, instrumentation requiring regular attention, etc., that cannot be shut down are kept going at a basal level.

Essential functions include the maintenance of equipment, laboratory resources, critical animal resources, and cell lines.

The Administrative Policy Library contains guidelines for essential functions in the case of a campus emergency, located at

Functional areas that are considered essential include:

  • Office of Communications and Public Affairs
  • Public Safety
  • All Facilities Services
  • Columbia Health
  • CUIT (web, email, telephone, data networks and computer operations)
  • Treasury/Controller (core emergency team)
  • Procurement (emergency purchasing and processing)
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Institute of Comparative Medicine (ICM)
  • Government and Community Affairs
  • Senior-level Central Administrative Officers as required

Please be mindful that operations of the offices and services above may be modified, as needed. Please check with departments or offices for specific information.

Essential personnel should be limited in general to 2-4 individuals (exceptions may be requested, depending, for example, on the size of the group). This does not mean that small groups can continue business as usual. If the work is not essential, it may not be done.  Information concerning essential personnel should be provided to your Chair/Director as part of your ramp down plans.

No. To the contrary, all researchers should continue to work on research projects remotely to the full extent possible.

Core facilities will be ramping down research activities, unless a core is actively providing services related to COVID-19 research, in support of clinical trials, or other essential research as defined within these FAQ’s.

The University shuttle will remain operational at this time. Only individuals deemed essential and/or conducting essential research should be traveling between campuses.

In order to minimize the potential exposure of COVID-19 to laboratory personnel, it is not recommended that clinicians travel between laboratory space and patient care areas.

All construction other than emergency repairs, will cease as part of our effort to restrict access to our facilities. 

We do not know at this time. We will continue to keep you informed of any changes regarding institutional restrictions, and the approaches being taken by funding agencies.