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Research Project Management Contingency Planning

Templates to Develop Research Project Management Contingency Plans

(Same template - user format preference)

Once you have completed your contingency plan, please upload it to Drexel’s BioRAFT website.

Research Project Management Contingency Planning for Researchers and Research Teams

The most important asset for our research enterprise is our researchers and scholars. Therefore, please take measures to protect yourself, your research team, the wider Drexel community, and the community-at-large. Faculty, students, post-docs and staff should stay home if they present with symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Also note that some individuals are at higher risk for infection and research leaders should provide accommodations. Visit the University's COVID-19 website as well as the CDC website for the latest information

In terms of active research projects, it is important that researchers develop contingency plans for three overarching scenarios:

(a) the potential reduction in a research team's workforce due to sickness or the inability to perform planned research activities; and

(b) potential restricted access to Drexel building/facilities where research is conducted.

(c) potential restricted access to human subjects at external field sites or community settings

To assist the research community to plan for these scenarios we have developed a template that addresses some of the critical aspects of contingency planning. It is expected that research teams that utilize specialized equipment, chemicals, human subjects, animal models complete a template. One template per research team is appropriate.

Briefly, these are:

Contact information for research team members

Collect the contact information for all team members – including external collaborators, students, staff members, etc.

For research teams that utilize the BioRaft system for laboratory and clinical safety training, you should update the contact specifically the after hour contact information in that system.

Research team meetings through Zoom or other platforms should be tested in advance.

Encourage team members to regularly check relevant website for updates:

Identify research related resources, documents or support information that may need to be remotely accessed

  • Identify electronic library resources and that are needed and test remote access.

  • Prepare for literature review, data access and analysis, proposal and manuscript preparation, etc. from remote locations, if necessary.

  • Identify other relevant resources/documents that may be needed .

  • Ensure that team members who need access to these resources have access.

Identify facilities where research occurs

  • List the facilities (on-campus and off-campus) where research activities occur and who needs access to these facilities

  • Identify resources/supports needed for access to facilities

  • Identify point of contact for any collaborating external sites/institutions to ensure updates on coronavirus response by these collaborating external sites/institutions

Immediate Measures to Avoid/Reduce Transmission in Research Settings

  • Personnel who are feeling unwell are REQUIRED to stay home until they no longer have symptoms.

    • Students who do not feel well should immediately call Drexel Student Health Center at 215.220.4700.

    • Faculty/Staff who do not feel well should contact their primary care provider for guidance and testing. Immediately after calling your provider, please email and provide your name and a phone number that a Drexel representative can contact you at. It is imperative that Drexel University is aware of any exposure risk to the members of the Drexel community.

  • Practice the recommended personal hygiene measures regularly.

    • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is not a substitute for hand washing in the laboratory.

    • Disinfect common rooms/laboratory areas and touch points, at least daily,

      • Utilize the disinfection method found in this guidance

      • Touch points include but are not limited to doorknobs, sink handles, refrigerator/freezer doors, fume hood sashes, telephones, pipets, shared equipment, etc.

  • Implement measures to reduce density and allow for “social distancing” of lab/research personnel.

    • For example, increase spacing between researchers where possible to >6 feet, have personnel come to the lab in shifts, allow alternate benches to be unoccupied.

    • This should not come at the expense of safety, there should always be a someone else in the research space at the same time as you in case of emergencies.

    • Reduce non-essential in-person meetings. Use remote work technologies such as Zoom.

  • Promote opportunities for research personnel to work remotely - both to allow for social distancing, or in case they need to self-isolate on short notice.

    • Test out remote work technologies (such as Zoom, Lab Archives) immediately.

This guidance is also available here [PDF]

Methods for Disinfecting COVID-19 from Surfaces

NOTE: If you have an existing Biosafety Protocol please follow the disinfection techniques detailed in that protocol.

As campus remains open for research and other activities that do not involve gathering of large number of people, it is important to continue to practice good hand hygiene. In addition, we recommend that high touch surfaces (e.g. door knobs and handles) as well as lab benches be treated with agents that will kill viruses. EPA has issued a list of commercially available agents, which can be accessed by clicking here. If commercially available agents are not readily available, the following can easily be prepared and filled in spray bottles for use:

  • 70% Ethanol (NOT 100%)

    • Requires a 5 minute dwell time to effectively kill viruses

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)

    • Requires a 5 minute dwell time to effectively kill viruses

  • Diluted bleach (20 ml of bleach diluted to 1 liter H2O)

    • Requires a 10 minute dwell time to effectively kill viruses

Spray the surfaces and wipe them down after the appropriate dwell time (above) to achieve disinfection.


This guidance is also available here [PDF]

Develop a research team communications plan

  • Identify the primary point of contact (PoC) for the research team (i.e.,PI, Team leader, etc) as well as an alternate.

  • Share PoC contact information (or alternate) with entire Team.

  • PoC should communicate regularly with team to provide check-ins/updates regarding evolving issues.

Identify research project(s) critical needs

  • Critical supplies/resources should be identified and ordered as soon as possible.

  • Critical functions should be identified and communicated across the team

  • Identify backup personnel for each critical function

  • Identify which research studies can and cannot be temporarily suspended

Develop a research workforce redundancy plan

  • It is possible that members of the research team will be unable to perform their planned activities, either due to sickness or the inability to come to campus.

  • How will team members inform others of their status?

  • How will planned research activities be supported by other team members?

Extra considerations are needed for research that utilizes human subjects and/or animal models

  • Human subjects may be unable / unwilling to participate

  • Clinical facilities may be inaccessible and/or unwilling to allow faculty, staff, and graduate students personnel on site

  • Research team members and ULAR staff may become sick and unable to perform planned work

Communications with funding sponsors

  • Researchers may want to consider reaching out to funding agency program managers if their research is disrupted. Particularly if you are in a no-cost extension period, since there are restrictions on the number and length of no-cost extensions.

Share your contingency plan

  • It is a best practice to share contingency plans with the entire research team, a departmental representative, your College/School's Associate Dean for Research, as well as the Office of Research & Innovation.

Please use the Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel Template (exactly the same - user preference) to develop your Research Project Management Contingency plan. Once you have completed your contingency plan, please upload it to Drexel’s BioRAFT website. Instructions to upload your plan can be downloaded here

Don't hesitate to reach out to the Research Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee if you have questions or concerns. They can be emailed at