Weekly COVID-19 Update: Building Access, Salary Flexibility and More
07/29/2020, 01:00:01 PM
From the Vice President for Research at the University of Houston. View this message in browser.
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Dear Research Faculty,​​

The number of new COVID-19 cases has been decreasing in Houston lately, but it is still high. Please continue to follow the COVID-19 precautions of washing hands, wearing face coverings, and keeping a safe distance. We were advised of challenges with deliveries of lab supplies. Our office worked with Campus Facilities and your college leadership to identify buildings that can be kept unlocked during business hours to facilitate deliveries. New funding opportunities are continuing to come out each week that address COVID-19 related issues; two of them are discussed below.

Funding Opportunities

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on many facets of DHS operations as well as the health and safety of agents, officers and the public.  While this Department of Homeland Security SVIP COVID-19 Response & Future Mitigation Topic Call is intended to address several near-term use cases in response to the current pandemic, it is envisioned these solutions will have broader application to enhancing DHS operations as well as preparing DHS for any future mitigation. The call is open through noon (PT) on September 30.

CEPI invites applicants to submit proposals for COVID-19 related research projects to develop vaccine candidates and support clinical trials involving vaccine candidates. There are no eligibility restrictions. Proposals are due by August 31 to September 28, depending on the track.

Building Access

To make deliveries of lab supplies easier for researchers, we asked Facilities Services to unlock some of the buildings. The following lab buildings now have open access hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Fleming, Health 2, Science Teaching Lab, SERC, S&R1, S&R2 and HSC. Cougar Card access will still be needed for evenings and weekends. Please work with your department on deliveries to your building to make sure that someone is available to receive shipments.

Salary Flexibility

A number of you have already been contacted about whether you are taking advantage of the current salary flexibility on federal awards, which will end on September 30, as communicated in earlier emails. If you have not been contacted or have not yet responded to our request for information, I would like to ask you to contact Claudia Neuhauser, Associate VP for Research and Technology Transfer (cmneuhau@central.uh.edu) if you have research staff or students on your federally funded awards whose work has been curtailed by COVID-19 and you would like to take advantage of the current salary flexibility that allows charging awards even if work cannot be done.

UH COVID-19 Website

If you have not had a chance to visit the COVID-19 Information website, please do so. It has detailed information on general prevention, the most up-to-date set of coronavirus symptoms, advice on what to do if you are sick or had a potential exposure to COVID-19, and when to self-quarantine/isolate. The COVID-19 Diagnosis/Symptoms Protocols page is particularly important to visit if you or someone who you supervise shows symptoms or has been exposed to COVID-19. This page has detailed steps for employees, supervisors, and students. Please note that the University requires employees to report if they have symptoms of or been diagnosed with or had exposure to COVID-19. There is also a form for requesting to return to campus after self-quarantine/isolation. The forms are on the COVID-19 Information website.

VPR Virtual Office Hours

The next VPR Virtual Office Hours will be on Friday, August 7, at 11:30 a.m. (please note the time). You will be able to access the event through the Research & Innovation Teams site. I hope that you will join us next week.

Best regards,

Amr Elnashai, FREng  
Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer

Amr Elnashai | VP for Research and Technology Transfer | elnashai@uh.edu | 713-743-4736

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