Guidance on research and enterprise activities during the pandemic
The University of Northampton’s Situation Updates page is the primary source of information and updates for colleagues and researchers at the University of Northampton: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/about-us/situation-updates/
Given the exceptional, unprecedented situation which is developing as a result of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all researchers must reflect on their planned and ongoing activities: this may necessitate pausing, rescheduling or amending activities that have previously been approved by the University of Northampton’s Research Ethics Committee and Faculty Ethics Committees.
It is likely that COVID-19 will cause significant disruption for research activities, particularly where:
- proposed/ongoing research activities require face-to-face contact with participants, particularly those who are at-risk or require self-isolation as per the latest UK Government advice;
- researchers are themselves at-risk or require self-isolation;
- proposed research involves international travel;
- planned research requires visits to settings which are closed or have restricted access as a result of COVID-19.
If you are concerned about the impacts of the current situation on your ongoing/planned research, support is available as follows:
- for Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs), please contact your supervisors and see the FAQs prepared by the Graduate School: https://researchsupporthub.northampton.ac.uk/2020/03/19/covid-19-faqs-for-pgrs-and-supervisors/#more-15928 Supervisors – please be in contact with your PGRs at this time;
- for University of Northampton staff, please contact Faculty Research Leaders in FAST (Ali.Al-Sherbaz@northampton.ac.uk), FBL (Kathleen.Mortimer@northampton.ac.uk) or FHES (firstname.lastname@example.org). Research Leaders – please be in contact with researchers in your area at this time;
- for undergraduate or Master’s students doing research projects or dissertations, please contact your supervisor in the first instance. Supervisors – please be in contact with your supervisees at this time.
All researchers planning or doing research projects which involve face-to-face contact with participants must consider:
- can the research be paused or rescheduled to such a time as guidance on self-isolation, safeguarding and at-risk communities changes?
- can the research be conducted remotely or online instead of face-to-face?
- can the project be adapted to involve different methods or activities? (This crowdsourced resource initiated by social scientists at the University of New South Wales gives some interesting ideas, although these must be discussed with supervisors and may require additional ethical approval: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1clGjGABB2h2qbduTgfqribHmog9B6P0NvMgVuiHZCl8/mobilebasic).
The University’s current position on travel for research/fieldwork is: “We are starting to receive requests for research fieldwork to recommence, however, the government lockdown restrictions are still in place, albeit relaxed, and therefore research fieldwork must only take place in exceptional circumstances and have the agreement of the Dean of the Faculty in advance.
Any agreed fieldwork must be risk assessed and comply with the latest government and institutional working safely during Coronavirus guidelines.
Fieldwork will not be allowed to commence if:
- Alternative, remote research methods could be used which will meet the objectives of the research
- Involves national or international travel
- The research can be postponed