Research is central to the mission of Indiana University and one of the most critical ways in which we serve the people of Indiana and beyond. COVID-19 has posed exceptional challenges to researchers, however, thanks to flexibility granted to us by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, a wide range of protective measures taken internally, and the dedication and skill of IU researchers, IU has been able to continue considerable research both on campus and off despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Much of that research has involved working with governments, businesses, and other universities to fight COVID-19. In fact, during the month of March, IU researchers submitted more proposals for external research support than during any month in the prior decade, and IU itself has funded a number of new research initiatives relating to COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has slowed or stopped many other important research activities. This has delayed ongoing projects, interfered with new studies, slowed the progress of students towards their degrees, and denied the public the benefits of this research at the very time that the pandemic has forcefully demonstrated how vital research is to our health, safety, economy, and quality of life.
As we have learned more about COVID-19 and about our communities’ ability to face this challenge, we are now in a position to begin the thoughtful, phased restart of research that may have been halted and the expansion of research that was slowed. Doing so safely and effectively will require the concerted, coordinated efforts of many parts of the university, a close adherence to the guidelines set forth in this document, and a keen awareness that our actions affect not only ourselves as individuals, but our colleagues and our entire state.
The resumption of research at IU will also require patience and flexibility because we cannot simply return to the ways things were before COVID-19. Moreover, we will almost certainly have to make changes as we go along in response to new information, new outbreaks, and changes in the capacity of our communities to respond.
These guidelines have been drafted by a committee appointed by President McRobbie, working closely with university and campus leadership, with researchers across the university, and with the Restart Committee charged with developing health and safety measures applicable to all university activities.
These guidelines follow those measures and, in turn, are supplemented by additional guidance provided by campuses, schools, or departments that follow these guidelines.