Update: COVID-19 Information and Resources for Researchers
03/20/2020, 05:05:02 PM
From the Vice President for Research at the University of Houston. View this message in browser.
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Dear Research Faculty,

We continue to monitor the local and global health situation around the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Research support services are so far functioning normally, including labs, core facilities and service centers. The announcement from the Chancellor regarding a spending freeze for 30 days applies only to UH funds. Therefore, spending on sponsored grants and contracts can continue, both in terms of RA hiring and also procurement of research equipment and supplies.

At this stage, our instructions from the State (as a state university) are to continue operations. Non-state universities make their own decisions. As long as the University of Houston is open and operational, we will do our best to support continued research and lab operations, within the safety precautions that we all need to follow on and off campus.

We would like to remind you that the infection risks can be reduced substantially if you follow a few basic CDC guidelines in your daily interactions: (i) reduce the density of people in your lab through partial day shifts, assigned days per week, working from home, and other mechanisms that lead to reduction in social interactions; (ii) consistently practice social distancing; (iii) conduct meetings and collaborations via phone or video; and (iv) increase the regularity of cleaning and disinfecting of shared areas.

We understand you may be concerned about possible disruptive impacts on research progress and compliance with grant requirements. We want to share current guidance and assure you of our support as the situation develops. We continue to monitor federal agencies and note that there are changes emerging every day. This website will be reviewed daily by DOR staff and updated as new information becomes available, and updates will be also shared through our e-newsletters.

Required Monitoring of Work from Home

We are implementing required monitoring of those employees who work from home using the approved UH Remote Work Agreement and have effort on a sponsored award. This is an audit requirement by funding agencies.

The minimum requirements for such a monitoring process are

  • For those whose effort is more than 50% on a sponsored award:
    • Weekly reports on the type of work performed and percentage effort dedicated to different tasks
  • For those whose effort is 50% or less on a sponsored award:
    • Monthly reports on the type of work performed and percentage effort dedicated to different tasks
  • These reports must be certified by the PI and emailed to the Office of Contracts and Grants every three months. Send emails to doreffort@uh.edu.

Reports must have a certifying signature or confirmation from the PI attesting that the work was satisfactorily completed and benefits the award on which effort is claimed. Certifications must be available upon request for up to three years after the grant end date. No such monitoring is required for employees who do not work under an approved UH Remote Work Agreement Plan. We added a sample log and certification page to our website.

Contacting DOR Staff

Many of our staff are working from home. We have included how to contact our offices via email under Additional Resources. If you wish to speak to a staff member directly, please call their office phone number. If they are unable to answer your call or if they work from home, they will receive an email through Outlook with the phone number you used to call them. Staff members will return your phone call within two hours during the peak work hours 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. or, if the call falls outside of the peak work hours, the next business day.


Funding agencies are starting to issue notices about late submissions of proposals or reports and changes in proposal submission deadlines. While we are trying diligently to stay on top of these changes, make sure you check with your program officer and work with your local grant administrator. Updates on these changes can be found under Additional Resources.


Best regards,

Amr Elnashai, FREng  
Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer

Amr Elnashai | VP for Research and Technology Transfer | elnashai@uh.edu

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