Research access expanding as Brock moves into Stage 3

With Brock University set to move from Stage 2 to 3 of its pandemic recovery plan on Tuesday, Sept. 1, access to research facilities has expanded for faculty members and graduate students effective immediately.

The new access plan expands on Brock’s Plan for Expanded Access to Research Facilities and Sites During Pandemic released earlier this summer. Drafted by the Research Access Task Force chaired by Associate Vice-President, Research, Michelle McGinn, the Plan received input and proposals from more than 400 researchers and graduate students. It provided a comprehensive outline of access plans and safety requirements for the resumption of research activities.

The Research Access Task Force included the Associate Deans of Research and representatives from the Library, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Graduate Students’ Association, Brock LINC, Faculty Relations and the departments of Health, Safety and Wellness, and Facilities Management.

Earlier this week, the Task Force released an updated plan, which provides guidance to cover research activities in each of Brock’s five stages including in-person research with human participants which has largely been suspended since March.

“This plan respects both the University’s mandate to support continued research and training opportunities, and the essential need for professional and public health and safety in a time of changing pandemic conditions,” said Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research. “Only through constructive and detailed input from the research community, and with enormous effort from the Research Access Task Force, could we find a nuanced balance for such a wide range of spaces, facilities, needs and types of research.”

Consistent with the process implemented in June, researchers looking to access research facilities and sites on or off campus will apply through their Associate Dean, Research through the following steps:

1. Researchers read and understand the following guidance documents from Brock University Health, Safety and Wellness:

2. Researchers complete COVID-19 safety training on Sakai (for employees or students as relevant), as well as any applicable required department-specific training.

3. Faculty researchers submit the following access request documents to their Associate Dean Research to request authorization for research activities for themselves and any supervisees:

4. Student researchers will be directed to confirm that they are willing to undertake research in pandemic conditions.

5. If the Associate Dean determines the proposed research activity is consistent with the pandemic conditions and endorses the request, it will be forwarded to the Academic Safety Committee and Health, Safety and Wellness for detailed review of the identified risk-mitigation plans.

6. Faculty researchers will be notified by Health, Safety and Wellness when research activity has been authorized according to an accepted risk-mitigation plan.

7. If relevant, faculty researchers provide the approved access request documents and notification of authorization to relevant regulatory bodies, including

8. Researchers will be scheduled for access to on-campus spaces (if relevant) once they have confirmed with the Associate Dean Research that authorization and regulatory clearance are in place.

All planning and research activity under revised plan must be conducted in light of the prospect that provincial orders and public health guidelines may call for greater restrictions in the future, with appropriate preparations for winding down operations should that be necessary.

For more information on Brock’s research activities across the stages of pandemic and recovery, see the stages chart on Page 5 of the new research access plan.