COVID-19 — Critical Research Application Procedure


This message contains important information about research operations.

Please refer to the COVID-19 page for up-to-date information about the U of L’s COVID-19 Response.

Dear University of Lethbridge Researchers,

The situation with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the operation of the University of Lethbridge remains fluid, and our response evolves on a day-to-day basis.

Please visit for guidance specific to researchers.

As of March 23, the University of Lethbridge issued a directive for faculty, staff, postdocs and students to work from home. As was recently communicated, we are moving to a model of “Restricted Access” to campus buildings. Accordingly, all research teams and units must follow this directive to work remotely. We suggest that in your move to a work-from-home environment, you plan for the possibility of an extended period of remote work.

Allowances may be made for continuing critical in-progress research, scholarship and creative activities to continue on site, and most who are impacted have already been working with the Critical Continuity Research Committee in preparation for this shift. For selected research activities to proceed on campus, they must be registered and approved by the University. The process for this is detailed below.

As research, scholarship, and creative work are key components of the University, we must ensure that critical in-progress research (this term includes scholarly and creative work) is maintained as long as it is safe and reasonable to do so.

All researchers are asked to continue as much of their work as is feasible in a virtual or work-from-home setting. If you are able to do all of your work in this manner, only requiring access to online systems, you do not need to take further action.

Please evaluate whether you are able to shut down the on-campus portion of your work and focus on work that can be done from home. However, if your work depends on having you and other individuals work on campus or accessing on-campus infrastructure (either in your own on-campus workspace or shared facilities), then please carefully read the rest of this message.

If you have critical on-campus research, scholarship or creative work requiring access to on-campus facilities or infrastructure, then you must take action now so the University can review and approve your access to campus.

Similarly, if you are reducing or shutting down your work on campus, but must continue the operation of infrastructure on campus that requires maintenance or attention (e.g. sample storage system that requires regular liquid nitrogen refills or an experimental apparatus that cannot be easily shut down), you must take action to maintain your access to campus in the event of wider access restriction.


The University of Lethbridge considers critical research to be research, scholarship or creative work that satisfies one or more of the following criteria:

COVID-19 related research that is vital to dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinical Research in which participant health might be put at risk if the program is suspended.

Ongoing research in which significant amounts of data would be completely lost or compromised if the experiment or project was terminated early/suddenly.

Research contract work that can be undertaken while meeting COVID-19 safety principles and in which contract deliverables must be met in order to continue funding.


The University of Lethbridge currently considers critical research infrastructure and services to be those that satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

Maintenance of research infrastructure or services identified as required in support of critical research.

Research infrastructure or services required to ensure human health and safety.

Research infrastructure or services required to ensure animal health and safety.

Research infrastructure that cannot be shut down in a timely manner (less than one day) without significant risk of damage or destruction of the infrastructure in question. This includes sample/material storage infrastructure requiring regular maintenance or consumable replenishment.

Research in progress that, if ended, would result in significant loss of research dollars, data or findings.

Need for resources, including computers or other equipment, that cannot be accessed off campus.


If your critical on-campus, in-progress work must continue and it meets the criteria outlined above, then you must complete the following approval process and form.

Approval from the Associate Vice-President (AVP) Research (Dr. Jackie Rice) is required to ensure that you and your team can access campus during this time.

Principal Investigator (or their designate) should initiate the following process:

Step 1:

Complete and submit the Continuing Critical Research Form.

Step 2:

The AVP Research will review your Continuing Critical Research Form in consultation with Risk and Safety.

Step 3:

You will normally receive a notification from the Office of Research and Innovation Services within two working days. Approval means that your work and the other individuals identified as being involved in that work will be registered with the University of Lethbridge.


Approval from the AVP Research is required if you wish to continue your research work on campus when access is restricted.

Notes: No member of the University community should feel pressured to work on campus if they are not comfortable to do so. If any individual is feeling inappropriately pressured to carry out on-campus research, scholarship, or creative work, they should contact Suzanne McIntosh in the Wellness and Recognition office at the University of Lethbridge.

The University of Lethbridge may withdraw your Continuing Critical Research Designation if conditions change.

Click here for the Continuing Critical Research (CCRF) Application Form.

We understand that limiting access to campus is disruptive to the work of faculty, staff, postdocs, and students. The University of Lethbridge will continue to support your efforts, and we deeply appreciate your perseverance through this difficult situation.


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