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Closing the Research Ramp-up Review and Approval Process, Effective May 27, 2021

Shared on behalf of the Research Ramp-up Working Group:

Dear colleagues,

In light of the recently revised CDC guidance and updated university COVID-19 protocols for students as well as faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows, we are writing to announce the sunsetting of Vanderbilt University’s research ramp-up review and approval process.

Effective immediately, the review and approval process for both on-campus and off-campus in-person research activities, including review and approval through the research ramp-up process of visiting researchers and exceptions for research travel, will cease.  As such, all REDCap forms related to the research ramp-up review and approval process will be closed, and any pending reviews and approvals will not be completed.  Instead, please refer to the latest university guidance, which can be found on the VU Health and Safety Protocols website.  For those engaging in research activities at VUMC, please be sure to refer to the latest VUMC guidance as well.

As we take this important step, we must thank you all for your deep and patient engagement in the research ramp-up process over the past year.  It has been a long and challenging road for all of us involving over 1,000 REDCap and paper forms, countless revisions, and hundreds of hours of work by our lead researchers and their teams to prepare and revise plans as well as by our dean reviewers, often on a tight timeline.

These efforts have not been in vain.  Research was the first activity to return to campus late last spring.  Over 4,450 faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff were able to safely return to in-person research activities at Vanderbilt University in the midst of the pandemic.  Most important of all, we are proud to confirm that over the course of a full year there has been zero transmission of COVID-19 in research spaces.  Congratulations to all of you for this incredible achievement!  It is an impressive testament to our culture of integrity and accountability.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about research at Vanderbilt University, please feel free to reach out to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at

Thank you all so much once again for working with us and persevering through these unprecedented challenges!

All the best,

The Research Ramp-up Working Group

André Christie-Mizell, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Dean of the Graduate School, Centennial Professor of Sociology

Richard Chotard, Associate General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel

Peter Cummings, Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering

Andrea George, Director of VU Environmental Health and Safety, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Management Office

Ellen Goldring, Executive Associate Dean, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair, Peabody College of Education and Human Development

Jane Hirtle, Senior Research Projects Manager, Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Duco Jansen, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Neurological Surgery, School of Engineering

Doug McMahon, Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Science

Mike Perez, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Facilities Officer, Division of Administration

Mariann Piano, Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor of Nursing, Senior Associate Dean for Research, Postdoctoral Fellowship Director, School of Nursing

Amber Pursley, Director of Research Administration, Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Padma Raghavan, Vice Provost for Research, Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering

Chuck Sanders, Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Biochemistry, Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine – Basic Sciences

Mark Wallace, Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Professor of Psychiatry

David Wright, Dean of Graduate Education and Research, Professor of Chemistry, Stevenson Chair of Chemistry, Professor of Communication of Science and Technology