Contacting Sponsors About the Impact of COVID-19
Many sponsors have recently issued COVID-19 guidance for PIs that need special accommodations for late proposals, delayed reports, project costs, and/or other project issues related to the impact of COVID-19. The following is a suggested introduction that can be used when communicating with sponsors that require a written justification for the requested accommodation due to the impact of COVID-19 (or the University’s response to COVID-19).
In response to a COVID-19 directive issued on March 16, 2020 by the Alameda County Health Department, the University of California, Berkeley moved into a “maintenance-only” mode of physical operation of the campus that is projected to continue at least through Sunday, May 3, 2020.
All Berkeley faculty are required to offer remote instruction whenever possible, and Berkeley researchers have been directed to suspend on-campus research to the greatest extent possible, and implement plans to operate remotely. Access to campus is limited to researchers involved in essential activities needed to sustain research capability, such as animal care, servicing of critical instrumentation, and maintenance of germ lines. All administrative functions also have been moved off campus with administrative staff working remotely. These changes in normal campus activities, functions, and administrative support in response to the effects of COVID-19 have created a major disruption in the lives of campus personnel and systems that support research.
My project (Insert Title/Award Number) has been affected in the following ways: (Insert a description of the specific impact of COVID-19—or the University’s response to COVID-19—has had on your project and the accommodation you are requesting from the sponsor (e.g. late proposal, delayed report/s, cost flexibility, etc.)
Note: If the PI is requesting sponsor approval to continue to charge salaries, stipends, and/or benefits for project personnel that are unable to work or other costs related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other authorized activities due to the COVID-19, provide the following link to UC policy of paying these costs from all funding sources, federal and non-federal: https://www.ucop.edu/research-policy-analysis-coordination/policies-guidance/coronavirus/032420-charging-grants-and-contracts-costs-to-federal-sponsored-awards-during-covid-19.pdf
Note: When making the following exception requests PIs should ask for confirmation that the request has been received and forward any notices of approval received from the sponsor to their SPO Contract and Grant Officer to document permission has been granted.