Texas Tech University

Return of Active Research On Campus

Dear Colleagues,

In anticipation of eventually reopening the TTU campus and our remote facilities for on-site research, we are distributing the linked form that requests a return for active research on-campus. This form will eventually replace previous requests for Designated Essential Employee Approvals submitted to the administration for essential access to campus research facilities.

Please understand that we are providing this request form so that we can streamline the process for approving a transition to full on-campus research. Approval of this request will NOT mean that the group can immediately transition back into work on campus. We are currently in the process of obtaining the PPE necessary to support on-campus research activity, working to ensure that buildings are completely operational for TTU researchers, setting up processes for mandatory and voluntary health checks, and ensuring that all research support services are fully operational. Only after these tasks are complete will we be able to approve groups for return to campus. This transition may occur in a staged manner. Certain buildings or areas of campus may open earlier than others. We are actively working with TTU Procurement and Operations Division to develop plans for going back to on-campus research and will inform you as we know more.

NOTE that ONLY 1) faculty, 2) PIs leading research groups or research teams, and 3) the directors of TTU research service laboratories, centers and institutes need to fill out this form. (However, all faculty investigators intending to return to campus, even if they do not have a research "group", need to fill out this form.) All students, postdocs, and research staff associated with these programs do NOT need to individually apply for restarting research on campus. These individuals should be covered by the information on the request form filled out by their PI, director, service lab director, or center/institute leader. Before filling out this form, please consult with project leaders/associate directors in your center/institute or research team to ensure that this request only covers each student, postdoc or research staff member once. Each application should generally describe the themes of multiple projects covered under the center/institute or unit, and identify all the individuals working in that unit. (Department chairs overseeing multiple individual PI's and programs should NOT fill out a single form for their entire department. We need to have information about who in each research group or program will be returning to campus, and what buildings and rooms that group occupies.)

To assist with filling out this form, I want you to know that you will need to provide 1) a brief description of the different types of research projects ongoing in the group, program, or center/institute; 2) a list of all the individuals planning to return to campus, including their email addresses and phone numbers, their R numbers, and their unit/department affiliation; and 3) the various buildings, and room numbers of offices, laboratories, and studios these individuals will occupy. Assembling this information prior to filling out the form will greatly streamline the process. Please NOTE: At the present time, undergraduate researchers will not be approved for return to campus except through special permission; please send any requests to Joe Heppert (joseph.heppert@ttu.edu). As we monitor the situation over the coming weeks and months, we will issue updates about this guidance.

Also, please note that the form will request additional information about two other situations. First, if you do not have sufficient space in your laboratory to offer appropriate social distancing, you will be asked to describe how your group might work in two or more shifts to help ensure worker safety. Second, if you plan to resume face-to-face human subjects activity, you will be asked to provide a narrative to describe how the safety (hygiene and social distancing) of your staff and human subjects will be ensured in this situation. (To assist researchers in designing best practices for face-to-face human subjects activity, we have posted some guidance on the OR&I COVID-19 webpage.) Again, preparing responses to these issues in advance will help reduce your time in responding to this request.

Well prior to allowing return to campus, we will distribute a document providing guidance for how individual researchers should engage in research, scholarship and creative activity if they occupy common laboratory or studio spaces. We will also provide a separate, more detailed guide for PI's and research leaders, which discusses how to prepare their laboratory/studio spaces and their co-workers for working on-campus. In the future, we will begin to pre-approve groups for submitting orders for procurement of supplies, equipment, and experimental animals to support on-campus research.

Once again, I want to thank you for your patience as we plan the transition back to full research activity. I look forward to seeing you soon!


Joe Heppert
TTU Vice President for Research and Innovation