COVID-19 Update: Research Funding, VPR Virtual Office Hours and More
03/31/2020, 04:05:02 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 are entering Week 2 of the Stay Home. Work Safe. Order. We realize that this is a very challenging situation for you, and hope that you and your families stay safe. Both the federal government and private organizations have started to make funding opportunities available, and with the passing of the CARES Act, we will see additional funding opportunities that I hope you will be able to take advantage of and contribute to finding solutions to the COVID-19 issues.

We would like to share with you relevant updates and provide some advice.

VPR Virtual Office Hours

I would like to make sure you saw my email yesterday about Virtual Office Hours and our new UH Research and Innovation Teams site. The first installment of VPR Virtual Office Hours is scheduled for this Friday, April 3, at noon. You can access the event through the Teams site where you will also find channels for topic-specific questions you might have for our directors. You can access the Teams site by joining here. (Questions and responses are visible to everyone at UH. If you have project- or team-specific questions that you do not want to share with others at UH, please contact our units directly. Area-specific email inboxes for DOR offices are listed here.)

Keeping Your Research Safe While Working From Home

Many of you have moved to Zoom or other video conferencing platforms to interact with your colleagues and students. You likely heard about online classes on Zoom being disrupted. Zoom has a blog that explains how to keep your Zoom meetings from being “crashed” and has since changed some of its default settings to make it safer to use. Please familiarize yourself with the settings of whatever platform you use to make sure no outside intruders can listen into your meetings and gain insights into valuable IP. Similarly, when you connect to sensitive data, please make sure you use VPN (connect to However, because of bandwidth limitations, it is recommended not to use VPN otherwise, for instance for Office 365, email, Skype for Business, Zoom or browsing UH sites.

Research Funding

We will be closely following funding initiatives coming out of the CARES Act and will regularly update our COVID-19 Funding Opportunities page. We will also add other funding opportunities that are relevant to COVID-19. Please visit the website and start thinking about how your research could align with these additional funding opportunities to contribute to solving the COVID-19 crisis.

Emergency Leave

We communicated previously that certain sponsors (NSF, NIH and DOD) allow continuation of funding on sponsored projects for those who meet the guidelines of the UH emergency leave. The UH guidelines will expire on Wednesday, April 1, and are being replaced by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was signed into law last week. This law has requirements for emergency paid sick leave and FMLA, effective April 2, 2020. UH HR will provide new guidance later today on continuation of funding from sponsored awards for those who are unable to work from home. We will update our website as soon as we get the new guidance and will explain its implications in the next letter to you.


Best regards,

Amr Elnashai, FREng  
Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer

Amr Elnashai | VP for Research and Technology Transfer |

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