University of Toronto Principles for Research Recovery and Adaptation

To: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs
From: Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research & Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives
Lori Ferris, Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance
Date: May 19, 2020
Re: University of Toronto Principles for Research Recovery and Adaptation

The University of Toronto is among the world’s top research-intensive institutions and one of a very few that excels in all disciplines and subject fields. In early March, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, U of T scaled back its on-site research activities to maintain only COVID-19 and critical time-sensitive research, with other research activities that could be done remotely continuing off-campus.

As per the Framework for Reopening our Province, the University will institute a phased approach to restarting suspended activities while mitigating the threat of resurgence and future waves of COVID-19. For research activities, this means instituting measures with the understanding that the recovery and adaptation of research is a complex, interconnected process. This resumption of all research activities will be undertaken in coordination with the academic divisions and institution-wide portfolios such as the School of Graduate Studies, Environmental Health & Safety, Facilities & Services, Human Resources & Equity, the University of Toronto Libraries, and Information Technology Services.

The purpose of the Principles for Research Recovery and Adaptation is to articulate overarching implementation principles for a phased resumption of University research activities that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is meant to inform and guide divisional and unit preparedness and planning efforts. Based on government guidance, the University will determine when the restart shall begin and this document should be seen as complementary to other University guidance that may be issued.

We have formed the University’s Research Restart Steering Committee, chaired by the Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance and including vice-deans/associate deans, vice-principals research, and senior staff from the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and other University-wide shared service offices. In addition, academic divisions are developing divisional research recovery advisory committees.  At UTM, UTSC, and other the multi-department Faculties, Chairs and Directors are consulted via campus and divisional committees. These committees will consider local processes within divisions and will be guided by these Principles and other guidance developed by the Steering Committee. 

We ask that you circulate this memo widely within your units. Further information pertaining to the phased recovery of research activities will be forthcoming.