UC Berkeley enters new phase of resuming on-campus research

Randy Katz, vice chancellor for research; and Linda Rugg, associate vice chancellor for research; sent the following message to faculty, staff, graduate students and postdocs on Thursday:

We are now entering Phase 2 of the gradual resumption of on-campus research activities and want to provide an update about its details. At the same time, we want to emphasize that during this phase, all research that can be conducted remotely should continue to be conducted remotely. All meetings and seminars should remain remote.

Phase 2 will proceed with a carefully considered building-by-building approach that will begin with laboratory-intensive buildings that house experimental laboratory research. Buildings prioritized for Phase 2 will initially resume activities at approximately 20-25% occupancy. The first two buildings to ramp up will be Stanley Hall, which has served as an early prototype for our modeling and planning, and the Innovative Genomics Institute Building, where the campus’ coronavirus testing facilities are located. Researchers in both buildings have been given the green light to resume additional research beginning today, Thursday, June 18. The next buildings to enter Phase 2 in the coming days include College of Chemistry buildings and Weill Hall/LSA, to be followed on a rolling basis by additional lab-intensive buildings across the biological, engineering, health and physical sciences and optometry. Planning for resumption of additional types of research is underway.

What is the process for Phase 2 ramp-up?

We have adopted a pragmatic building-by-building approach that provides deans, department chairs and research unit directors with central roles in the approval process for research activities under their purview. For each building, Building Oversight Committees are being formed to coordinate and oversee a process for soliciting research ramp-up proposals from faculty and research facilities/units, following campus-wide guidelines for managing population density in different types of research spaces. Proposals will be reviewed by cognizant chairs and deans. The Vice Chancellor for Research will oversee the overall process and provide final approval for all building plans in order to ensure consistent application of guidelines as the process unfolds across the campus. As buildings are considered for Phase 2 research resumption, they will be listed here on the VC Research website, along with relevant contacts for each facility. Please review additional details and background here.

June 23 Campus Conversation

We know there will be many questions about this next phase and we look forward to addressing them during a Research Campus Conversation scheduled for Tuesday, June 23, noon-1 pm. The panelists include Vice Chancellor for Research Randy Katz, Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher, and two members of the Research Recovery Committee, Professor of International Sustainable Development and Associate Dean Max Auffhammer and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and QB3 Director Susan Marqusee. We will make time to address questions live during the conversation, but would appreciate it if you could submit any advance questions here to make the program as useful as possible.

We would like to thank the Research Recovery Committee for its thoughtful approach and comprehensive guidance . You can review the full report of the Committee here. We also thank the deans and building staff for their partnership as we refined campus guidelines and now move forward together on the building-by-building implementation. We look forward to continuing to work together in close partnership since we expect that our plans and processes may need to be modified and adjusted as we continue to learn and improve our approach during this unprecedented time.