Research, across a host of disciplines, is a core element of UC Berkeley’s mission. Campus leadership and the campus research community are keen to restart our research program. The Research Recovery Committee, led by Vice Chancellor Randy Katz and comprised of faculty and research administrators from across the campus, is making good progress on evaluating the conditions necessary for a resumption that aligns with the campus’ commitment to protect the health of our community. The Committee is asking for the research community’s partnership now as it finalizes guidelines that will help create and protect those conditions.
What will the next phase look like and how will it be managed?
All work that can be done remotely, will continue to be done remotely. The committee plans a phased, building by building approach to resumption, keeping building density low, and considering the full range of research spaces on campus: laboratories, offices, studios, performance spaces, etc. as well as particular requirements for field research and animal and human subjects research. The committee is working with deans, lead staff, Facilities Services, and building managers to formulate plans for each building; researchers will then be invited to submit proposals for resumption according to the guidelines set forth by the committee. Additional information on this process will become available in the coming weeks.
What can the research community do to prepare?
- Consider (with their research group, where relevant) which research demands campus access and what can be continued remotely.
- Imagine how to ensure social distancing in shared research spaces.
- Plot the maximum amount of time they (and their group members) will need to be on campus.
- Plan how they will design research to be able to withdraw from campus in case of a resurgence.
Now, as the campus plans for research resumption, the Vice Chancellor for Research Office will only review emergency requests for access to on-campus spaces – for example, to prevent damage to critical equipment. The Vice Chancellor for Research Office requests that researchers hold all other requests until the new review process described above is in place. The Committee thanks all researchers for their continued partnership and patience as the planning process continues to take shape. These are unprecedented times. The committee and the Vice Chancellor for Research are aware that there is a diversity of opinion and perspective regarding the appropriate pace and extent of a resumption of research activity on campus. So, as we re-open, we will move forward on a step-by-step basis given our understanding that there will be unanticipated developments and unintended consequences. Plans and processes will surely need to be modified as we proceed. And, of course, the status of the COVID-19 pandemic could change at any time. We will analyze and learn as we go. We will remain ready to adjust based on what we learn, and the feedback we receive. Throughout we will maintain our commitment to transparency, collaboration, and meaningful consultation as we evolve, adapt, and refine our response.