Skip to main content

FAQs for Lead Researchers in Phase 2+ Ramp-Up

How should I transition to Phase 2+?

Before they or their research team members participate in research activities that are subject to the research ramp-up review and approval process, Vanderbilt lead researchers (faculty mentors, principal investigators, and/or directors of research centers or institutes) must complete the appropriate form, receive approval from the appropriate supervisory entity, and perform any other required tasks outlined in the approval notice.

Not all research activities are subject to the research ramp-up review and approval process.  Please consult the transitioning to Phase 2+ research ramp-up decision tree to decide which form or forms, if any, are necessary for your specific research activities. For the purposes of review and preparation only, you may also consult the Phase 2+ Intake Form PDF and the Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form PDF.

What is an “on-campus” or “on-site” research activity?

In phased research ramp-up, “on-campus” or “on-site” research activities are defined as research activities that occur in VU or VUMC owned, operated, and/or leased spaces.  Examples of such spaces include Jesup Hall, Garland Hall, Featheringill Hall, Medical Center North, and the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery in Franklin, TN.  Plans for on-campus research activities must be submitted, reviewed, and approved before they can be implemented.  See the Phase 2+ Forms page for further guidance.

What is an “off-campus” research activity and how is it different from a “remote” research activity?

In phased research ramp-up, “off-campus” research activities are defined as research activities that occur in spaces that are NOT owned, operated, and/or leased by VU or VUMC and are NOT individual VU community members’ own homes used as remote workspaces.  Examples of such spaces include Metro Nashville K-12 schools, National Archives in Washington, D.C., Oak Ridge National Lab, and non-VU research participants’ own homes.  Plans for off-campus research activities must be submitted, reviewed, and approved before they can be implemented.  See the Phase 2+ Forms page for further guidance.

In contrast, in phased research ramp-up “remote” research activities are defined as research activities that are conducted without any in-person contact.  To meet this criterion, all research team members must work separately within their individual homes and engage only virtually (e.g., via email, video chat, etc.).  Plans for strictly remote research activities are not subject to the phased research ramp-up review and approval process.

Should I complete a Phase 2+ Intake Form?

Whether or not you should complete the Phase 2+ Intake Form depends on where you conduct your research activities, whether you’ve received approval to conduct those research activities since the start of phased research ramp-up in May 2020, and whether your plans have changed since they were initially approved.

DO complete the Phase 2+ Intake Form if you plan to conduct your research activity/project on campus, your plans for that research activity/project have not been previously approved, or your previously approved plans have changed.  Guidance on how to access the Phase 2+ Intake Form depending on your specific situation is posted on the Phase 2+ Forms page.  See “What is an “on-campus” research activity?” for clarification.

DO NOT complete the Phase 2+ Intake Form if your research activity/project will not be conducted on campus, or if your plans for that research activity/project were previously approved and have not changed.

Should I complete a Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form?

Whether or not you should complete the Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form depends on where you conduct your research activities, whether you’ve received approval to conduct those research activities since the start of phased research ramp-up in May 2020, and whether your plans have changed since they were initially approved.

DO complete the Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form if you plan to conduct your research activity/project off campus, your plans for that research activity/project have not been previously approved, or your previously approved plans have changed.  Guidance on how to access the Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form depending on your specific situation is posted on the Phase 2+ Forms page.  See “What is an “off-campus” research activity and how is it different from a “remote” research activity?” for clarification.

DO NOT complete the Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form if your research activity/project will not be conducted off campus, or if your plans for that research activity/project were previously approved and have not changed.

Do VUMC Researchers need to complete Phase 2+ Intake Forms?

VUMC researchers must submit a form and receive approval of their research plans in advance if they are performing research activities in-person with VU undergraduate students, graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows on campus.  This is the case regardless of whether the VU personnel are paid, conducting research for credit, or volunteering; it also does not matter whether the research space is in VU- or VUMC-owned, operated, or leased buildings.

For example, a lead researcher who is employed at VUMC mentors a VU graduate student.  The mentorship relationship requires that the VU graduate student performs research activities in the physical research space on campus and/or meets with their VUMC mentor or other research team members in person.  In this case, the lead researcher must submit a Phase 2+ Intake Form and receive VU approval of their plans before implementing them.

However, VUMC researchers who do NOT work in person with any VU personnel (i.e., no VU undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, etc.) do NOT need to submit a form or receive approval from VU in advance before proceeding with their research plans. VUMC lead researchers who have no research team members who are affiliated with VU fall into this group, as do VUMC lead researchers who have some research team members who are VU affiliated but take part only in remote research activities.

For example, a lead researcher who is employed at VUMC employs a VU undergraduate student as a lab assistant.  The lab assistant’s duties involve only remote work – taking part in lab meetings over Zoom, using their personal computer to analyze data, etc. – so that the lab assistant never enters the physical research space on campus and never meets with the VUMC lead researcher or other research team members in person.  In this case, the lead researcher does NOT need to submit a Phase 2+ Intake Form or receive VU approval of their plans before implementing them.

Do VUMC Researchers need to complete Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-campus Research Forms?

VUMC researchers must submit a form and receive approval of their research plans in advance if they are performing research activities in-person with VU undergraduate students, graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows off-campus.  This is the case regardless of whether the VU personnel are paid, conducting research for credit, or volunteering.

For example, a lead researcher who is employed at VUMC mentors a VU graduate student.  The mentorship relationship requires that the VU graduate student performs at-home follow-up visits with clinical patients.   In this case, the lead researcher must submit a Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form and receive VU approval of their plans before implementing them.

As a reminder, research activities that team members conduct alone in their own homes as part of working remotely is not considered “off-campus” and does not require advance VU approval.

For example, a lead researcher who is employed at VUMC employs a VU undergraduate student as a lab assistant.  The lab assistant’s duties involve only remote work – taking part in lab meetings over Zoom, using their personal computer to analyze data, etc. – so that the lab assistant never enters the physical research space on campus and never meets with the VUMC lead researcher or other research team members in person in any location on- or off-campus.  In this case, the lead researcher does NOT need to submit a Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form or receive VU approval of their plans before implementing them.

My supervisory entity (dean’s office) has requested revisions to my Phase 2+ form.  What should I do?

If your supervisory entity requests changes to your submitted Phase 2+ form, you will receive an automated email from RedCAP.  Do NOT complete a new form in response to a revision request.  Instead, access your submitted form, revise it, and resubmit it by using the personalized link and return code you received from RedCAP when you first submitted your form.

I don’t know the return code to access my submitted Phase 2+ form, or my return code isn’t working.  What should I do?

Contact ovpr@vanderbilt.edu for assistance.  Do NOT complete a new form.

What’s the status of my submitted Phase 2+ form?

To check on the status of your submitted form, contact ovpr@vanderbilt.edu.

When and how will I hear if I’m approved to begin implementing Phase 2+ plans?

Once you’ve completed your Phase 2+ Intake Form or Phase 2+ Exception Request for Off-Campus Research Form, the correct supervisory entity (usually your dean’s office) will be automatically notified through RedCAP that your form is ready for review.  You will receive an automated email from RedCAP when your supervisory entity approves your plans.  This approval notice will outline any other required steps you must complete before implementing your plans.

What should I do if I need to change my Phase 2+ plans after they’ve been approved?

If you need to change your Phase 2+ plans after they’ve been approved, simply return to your submitted RedCAP form and revise it using your personalized link and return code.  Make the changes you need and resubmit your form. This will trigger an automatic notification to your supervisory entity requesting approval of your new plans. See the above section entitled “When and how will I hear if I’m approved to begin implementing Phase 2+ plans?” for information about next steps after that point.

How can I get a copy of my previously submitted or approved plans?

If you would like to see forms submitted or approved in previous phases (e.g. Phase 1 or Phase 2 forms), you may request a PDF from ovpr@vanderbilt.edu.

Where can I find guidance on hosting a visiting researcher?

Visiting researchers are defined as research collaborators who do not have a formal affiliation with Vanderbilt University and therefore have no VUnet ID; are not visiting campus as part of an interview for a faculty or postdoctoral position at Vanderbilt; and yet do participate in research activities that are subject to the VU research ramp-up review and approval process.  See Research Ramp-up Review and Approval Process and transitioning to Phase 2+ research ramp-up decision tree for further information about research activities that are subject to the VU research ramp-up review and approval process.

See Hosting Visiting Researchers for further guidance and necessary steps that must be completed before a visiting researcher is permitted on campus.

Can undergraduates participate in research activities in-person in Phase 2+?

Yes, undergraduates may participate with three caveats and additional requirements:

  • Only Vanderbilt University undergraduates are permitted in Phase 2+, no undergraduates from other institutions.
  • As with all research personnel, undergraduates are subject to the standard review and approval process in which PIs submit the Phase 2+ forms with their research plans including all personnel involved and COVID-19 safety precautions that must be reviewed and approved before they can begin implementing those plans or working with those personnel in-person.
  • After VU approval, additional requirements must be fulfilled by undergraduates working with VUMC-employed faculty mentors before the approved research starts. Medical Center Relations (MCR) is the central VUMC approval office for all VU undergraduate students seeking a research experience at VUMC. Contact MCR at vumc.iso@vumc.org. Until further notice, undergraduate students will not be granted access to clinical systems containing protected health information (i.e., eStar).

Beyond the Phase 2+ Intake Form, are there any additional forms to complete before returning to campus?

After receiving approval of your Phase 2+ Intake Form, you will receive a notification that directs you to the Return to Campus Acknowledgment for Research Personnel. VU and VUMC employees have separate acknowledgements that can be accessed through Oracle. The acknowledgment is a one-time requirement, so if you submitted it in a previous phase, you do not need to submit it again.

Where can I find phase-by-phase guidelines and information on changes to permitted activities?

The 4-Phase Research Ramp-up Matrix provides a quick summary of changes through each phase in the form of a table. You may also consult the Research Ramp-Up Principles and Guidance for a bulleted summary of changes through each phase.

Where can I find differentiated guidance on research activities conducted at either VU or VUMC?

Please review the VU/VUMC Research Activities Guidance.

Someone in my research space has tested positive for COVID-19.  What should I do?

For VU research spaces, please consult the VU Guidance for Managing Confirmed Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Research Spaces. For VUMC research spaces, please consult the VUMC Guidance on Positive Cases, Coming in Contact with Positive Cases, and Travel.

Please also consult the VU Research Space Isolation and Disinfection Guidance for a Confirmed COVID-19 Case.

What guidelines and procedures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in research spaces and with research participants?

Where can I get protective gear and disinfection supplies that I can use in my on-campus research space?

Once your on-campus research activities are approved, you can request these materials using the Supplemental Lab Supplies Order Form.”

Where can I get signs to post in my research space providing COVID-19-related guidance and telling people not to enter in the event of a COVID-19 closure?

Please access Signage for Research Spaces for:

  • Break Space Guidelines
  • Social Distancing in Research Labs
  • Face Mask/Covering Guidelines
  • Everyday General Disinfection Guidance for Research Space/Laboratories
  • No Entry Signs

How can I prepare for the possibility of research ramp-down such as in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in my research space or university-level ramp-down?

Lead researchers are encouraged to prepare a Research Continuity Plan to enable rapid ramp-down in the event that such measures become necessary.

Where can I find support for remote research activities?

Please visit Research IT, VUIT, the Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries, and the Vanderbilt Libraries Support Remote Teaching, Learning, and Research.

Who should I contact if I have further questions or run into problems?

If you have questions, concerns, or technical difficulties, please contact us at ovpr@vanderbilt.edu.  You’re also welcome to contact your dean’s office with questions about the review and approval of your submitted forms.

 

 

VIEW MORE EVENTS >