Dear Members of the Research Community,
It’s hard to believe we’re half way through the summer and, for the majority of us, into our fifth month of being away from our colleagues and our campus. While the distance has brought some challenges, we’ve also made made some significant strides on the research front.
We’ve been fortunate – thanks to everyone exercising extreme caution – with a successful Phase 1 Return to Research which began on May 30th. Since then, we’ve had more than 300 research projects approved, bringing some 1,400 faculty, students, staff and other research personnel back to campus. That success, coupled with further relaxed provincial restrictions, has paved the way for our move to Phase 2.
While working remotely remains the preference, Phase 2 will broaden our research capacity and allow for the training of research personnel, the involvement of some human participants and the opportunity for on-campus meetings with external stakeholders. Further details and the application portal will be available on our website before the end of next week, and we’ll send out the link when the site is live. It’s worth noting that this has been a campus-wide effort and I’m thankful for the guidance of the Associate Deans of Research and many faculty members in the development of our plans.
We’ve also had great success in our ability to attract COVID-specific research funding across the sectors, including investments from donors and industry; CIHR investments of some $20 million; provincial funding of approximately $2.7 million; and the McMaster COVID-19 Research Fund investing nearly $3 million in 38 Faculty-wide projects.
And, there’s been good news federally. The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) is providing wage support for research personnel paid from non-government grants (thanks to everyone who completed our survey), and the tri-agencies supplemental funds will provide three-months of support (April – June) for research personnel whose work was disrupted by the pandemic. For the latter, you will have received notices from ROADS and MILO as well as direct emails from your funding agency. Please, be sure to read each email (there will be one for each grant) and follow the link to accept by August 13th.
I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating. The health and well-being of the McMaster community are the University’s top priority, and that’s why we’re taking such a measured approach to our return to research.
I appreciate your patience and look forward to getting more and more of you back safely.