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Research / COVID-19

 

 

 

COVID-19 Research Updates

This page will provide updates pertinent to Research at St. Joe's. See the links below for additional information:

 

Restarting Research Activities at RSJH: Phase 3 Effective as of August 25, 2021
 
We are pleased to announce that effective Wednesday, August 25, 2021 we have moved to Phase 3 of our Restarting Research Activities framework.
 
The following new guidelines will apply to all Research Activity at any of our sites (Charlton, King, and West 5th Campuses):
  • Additional research visits are acceptable, with RSJH approval (i.e., outside of regularly scheduled clinical visits)
  •  Healthy volunteers allowed on-site, with RSJH approval

 

All on-site visitors must be pre-approved by The Research Institute. To submit a request for an on-site study and on-site visitors (study monitors, sponsors, research participants), please visit rsjh.ca/ONSITE to register your request for approval.
  • On-site study submission is only required once (if approved).
  • Each visitor requires a unique application for each hospital visit (date and time specific). A letter will be generated for proof of approval to enter the facility for research purposes.

 

How to apply for on-site visits of study monitors, study sponsors, and research-only participants:
  1. Submit your on-site study application using the online portal (once per study) at rsjh.ca/ONSITE.
  2. Once approved by RSJH, a unique link will be emailed to you. Use this link to request on-site visits associated with your study. (Tip: Bookmark this link for easy access to making future requests for that study!)
  3. Researchers will receive a letter via email for each approved on-site visitor. Each letter grants access to the hospital on a specific date and time for a named individual.

 

All individuals entering any of our sites must comply with SJHH Screening and Infection Control Practices.

To make the screening process go as smoothly as possible, we ask you to complete the screening questions each time before you arrive using our online tool at http://www.sjhhscreening.com

  • Visitors will not be able to pass through screening if:
  • They have COVID-19 symptoms
  • They have come in contact with someone with probable or confirmed COVID-19
  • They have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days
  • They live with someone who is in quarantine after travelling outside of Canada in the last 14 days

 Please ensure SJHH Infection Control Practices are maintained at all times.

  • Keep mask on while in hospital at all times
  • Keep mouth and nose completely covered.

If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Trowbridge at strowbri@stjoes.ca 

Roadmap for Restarting Research Activities at RSJH

Current Status: Phase 3 (green)

(Last updated August 25, 2021)

 

Roadmap for Restarting Research Activities at RSJH

The Research Institute has unveiled a new phased approach to restarting research activities at St. Joe's. Click here to download the Roadmap PDF.

 

HiREB Protocol Amendments

During the current COVID-19 pandemic situation researchers need to consider their in-person interactions with participants/patients. You are reminded to follow your institutional/public health policies for participant/patient management.

Should your current protocol or study design require revision to now include alternate forms of interaction with participants/patients (whether consent or study visits), you will still need to submit an amendment to the HiREB. If you need to implement changes to eliminate immediate hazards for staff or participants, then such a change would be reported to us as a protocol deviation.

Please note the HiREB will process these amendments as priority.

 

Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) Program Overview and Objectives

Last Updated December 4, 2020

Click here to download the CRCEF Stage 3 Application Form

As part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada recently introduced the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) program. The objectives of the program are to:

  • provide wage support to universities and health research institutions to help them retain research-related personnel during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • support extraordinary incremental costs associated with maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume.

The CRCEF program includes four funding stages:

  • Stages 1 and 2
  • Stage 3
  • Stage 4

 

Stages 1 and 2

Stages 1 and 2 provide wage support for research personnel (i.e. undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other personnel associated with research projects) who are, or were:

  • employed by universities or health research institutions for some period of time between March 15 and August 29, 2020;
  • working for faculty members conducting research, or in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives;
  • unable to do all or some of the work for which they were hired as a consequence COVID-19;
  • paid in part or in whole from eligible non-governmental sources, or were supposed to be paid from eligible non-governmental sources but were paid less than planned or laid off as a result of COVID-19; and
  • not claiming other wage support (e.g. Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB]).

Eligible expenses

Stage 1 and Stage 2 funding can be used for:

  • eligible expenses for wage support incurred between March 15, 2020 and August 29, 2020;
  • up to 75% of the portion of research personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week for up to 12 weeks of salary support (consecutive or broken up over the eligibility period) per individual;
  • personnel who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 within the eligibility period, as long as they are rehired and their retroactive pay and status meet the eligibility criteria for the claim period. Should the funds be used to retroactively pay personnel who were laid off, those personnel will be required to attest in writing that they did not receive wage support from other sources (e.g. the Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB]) during the lay off period.

Application process

Based on the information obtained from institutional systems data, it was determined that the available Stage 1 funds would be sufficient to meet the identified wage support needs. Consequently, Research St. Joe’s Hamilton did not apply for Stage 2 funding.

 

Stage 3

Stage 3 of the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) provides support for direct costs of research that have been incurred to:

  • maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic; and/or
  • support ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume.

Eligible expenses

Stage 3 funds can be used to reimburse up to 75% direct costs of research that are:

  • specific to a research project;
  • extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds (governmental or non-governmental). Extraordinary incremental costs are defined as unanticipated additional costs that would not normally have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds; and
  • incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020 (with the exception of personnel costs associated with research maintenance and/or ramp-up activities which must be incurred between August 30 and November 15, 2020).

Application Process 

To access the Stage 3 funds the Research Institute must demonstrate that:

  • Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers have incurred, or will incur, research maintenance and/or ramp-up costs that align with the program eligibility criteria noted above; and
  • Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers are in need of support to cover those costs.

If you have incurred costs that align with the program eligibility criteria and you would like those costs to be considered for Stage 3 support, please:

  1. Complete the Research Institute’s internal application form
  2. save a copy of the completed application form with your full name in the file name; and
  3. Email the completed application form by noon, Friday, December 11, 2020 to Shawn Billington sbilling@stjoes.ca

Completion of the application form does not guarantee that funds to reimburse all eligible costs will be available. The availability of funding will depend on the amount of Stage 3 CRCEF funding the Research Institute is able to access and the level of need identified by Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers.

Should the eligible incurred costs identified by Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers exceed the amount of Stage 3 funding awarded to the Research Institute, the following priorities will guide allocation of the available funds:

  • researchers who self-identify as a member of an historically underserved, marginalized or excluded group
  • researchers who are engaged in research projects that involve marginalized and/or equity-seeking participants, communities, or partners
  • early career researchers who have held an independent academic position for five years or less as of July 1, 2020
  • researchers whose grant or contract funding has been decreased or cancelled by the sponsor as a consequence of COVID-19
  • costs incurred by shared research platforms, facilities, centres or institutes
  • research projects that have incurred eligible costs in excess of $1,500

Applications that fall outside of these priority areas will receive an equal proportion of any remaining funds.

 

Stage 4

Like Stages 1 and 2, Stage 4 of the CRCEF program provides wage support for research personnel (i.e. undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other personnel associated with research projects) who are, or were:

  • employed by universities or health research institutions for some period of time between March 15 and August 29, 2020;
  • working for faculty members conducting research, or in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives;
  • unable to do all or some of the work for which they were hired as a consequence COVID-19;
  • paid in part or in whole from eligible non-governmental sources (e.g. industry contracts, grants from not-for-profit organizations, donations, user fees, etc.), or were supposed to be paid from eligible non-governmental sources but were paid less than planned or laid off as a result of COVID-19; and
  • not claiming other wage support (e.g. Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB]).

Eligible expenses

Stage 4 funding can be used for:

  • eligible expenses for wage support incurred between March 15, 2020 and August 29, 2020;
  • up to 75% of the portion of research personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week for up to 24 weeks of salary support (consecutive or broken up over the eligibility period) per individual. Researchers who receive Stage 1 support for research personnel costs are eligible for an additional 12 weeks of salary support from Stage 4;
  • personnel who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 within the eligibility period, as long as they are rehired and their retroactive pay and status meet the eligibility criteria for the claim period. Should the funds be used to retroactively pay personnel who were laid off, those personnel will be required to attest in writing that they did not receive wage support from other sources (e.g. the Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB]) during the lay off period.

Application process

So that we can ascertain the level of eligibility and need for Stage 4 funding at the Research Institute, Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers who 1) have research accounts which hold eligible non-governmental funds, and 2) have incurred research personnel costs during the eligibility period

Researchers applicable for Stage 1 funding will be applied to Stage 4 funding for which they are eligible based on the information available during the Stage 1 application period.

Please note, there is no guarantee that funds to reimburse all eligible costs will be available.

 

Distribution of CRCEF funding to affiliated health research institutions

To access CRCEF funding McMaster must submit an application to each stage of the program demonstrating need for the requested funding. The applications are submitted by McMaster on behalf of the University and its affiliated health research institutions – Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation (HHSC) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH).

The CRCEF program awarded Stage 1 funding to universities and their affiliated health research institutions on the basis of a formula that was applied to each institution’s annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all non-governmental sources as indicated in the Financial Information of Universities and Colleges (FIUC) – CAUBO

The Stage 1 funds awarded to McMaster University and affiliated health research institutions, HHSC and SJHH, were allocated among the three institutions in accordance with the share of the awarded funds earned by each institution. The share of allocation earned was determined by each institution’s share of the average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all non-governmental sources outlined in the CAUBO research income report.

Like Stage 1, CRCEF Stages 2 and 4 provide wage support for research personnel. Universities and health research institutions that were not eligible for Stage 1 funding were eligible to apply for Stage 2 funding. Universities and health research institutions that were eligible for Stage 1 funding were also eligible to apply for Stage 2 funding but only if their eligible wage support needs exceed their Stage 1 allocations. Stage 4

Based on an assessment of the data available from their institutional systems and information obtained directly from researchers, McMaster, HHSC and SJHH determined that the awarded CRCEF Stage 1 funds were sufficient to address the need for eligible wage support at their respective institutions.

On behalf of the University and affiliated health research institutions, McMaster intends to apply for Stage 3 funding to support incurred costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities and Stage 4 funding to provide additional support for incurred costs associated with research personnel paid from eligible non-governmental sources.

To access Stage 3 support, institutions must demonstrate need for the funds based on actual costs incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020. The CRCEF program will establish a maximum amount of Stage 3 funding for which each institution can apply. The maximum amount will be based on a formula that will be applied to each institution’s annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all sources as indicated in the Financial Information of Universities and Colleges (FIUC) – CAUBO.

If an institution demonstrates need for Stage 3 support in excess of the maximum amount for which they are eligible to apply, and additional funds are available, then the institution may request additional support.

To access Stage 4 support, institutions must demonstrate need for the funds based on actual research personnel costs incurred between March 15 and August 29, 2020. There is no maximum amount for which institutions can apply. However, the total funding available for all institutions is $84M. Therefore, there is no minimum amount to which institutions are guaranteed, even if they are able to demonstrate need.

 

Strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making

Decisions regarding the allocation of CRCEF funds within St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton will be made by the Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton – Scientific Review Committee (SRC) and is Chaired by the SJHH Vice-President of Research This interdisciplinary body will include representation from historically under-represented groups, and all members will receive training in unconscious bias.

The SRC is committed to managing the CRCEF funds in a manner that aligns with the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. The decisions made by this body regarding allocation of CRCEF funds awarded to St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton are consistent with the objectives outlined in the McMaster University’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy: Towards Inclusive Excellence. McMaster’s EDI Strategy reflects the University’s commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community, where the rights of all individuals and groups are protected and all members feel safe, valued, empowered and respected for their contributions to the shared purposes of the University: research and education excellence. Specifically, McMaster’s EDI Strategy aims to help the Hospital and Research Institute to exemplify inclusive excellence by enhancing:

  • The Hospital and Research communities understanding of inclusive excellence as an institutional imperative and improving campus-wide EDI efficacy;
  • systems and resources to support data-informed and evidence-based EDI-related planning, decision-making and practice;
  • inclusivity and opportunities for interdisciplinarity in curricula and scholarship across Departments and Faculties;
  • inclusive leadership capabilities by establishing baseline EDI training requirements and offering ongoing professional development;
  • opportunities for meaningful consultation with, engagement of, and provision of support to equity-seeking groups; and
  • the recruitment and retention of equity-seeking employees and students.

In accordance with McMaster’s EDI Strategy, to minimize the impact of implicit biases and systemic barriers, while acknowledging inequities that contribute to differing experiences of COVID-19, the following principles will guide the Hospital’s and Research Institute’s management of the CRCEF funds:

  • All researchers, regardless of discipline, area of focus, or way of knowing, will have the opportunity and be encouraged to identify costs that are eligible for CRCEF support;
  • All eligible requests for CRCEF Stage 1 and Stage 4 support will receive the same consideration, regardless of research discipline, area of focus, or way of knowing;
  • The following priorities will guide the allocation of available CRCEF Stage 3 funding:
    • researchers who self-identify as a member of an historically underserved, marginalized or excluded group
    • researchers who are engaged in research projects that involve marginalized and/or equity-seeking participants, communities, or partners
    • early career researchers who have held an independent academic position for five years or less as of July 1, 2020
    • researchers whose grant or contract funding has been decreased or cancelled by the sponsor as a consequence of COVID-19
    • costs incurred by shared research platforms, facilities, centres or institutes
    • research projects that have incurred eligible costs in excess of $1,500; and
  • The process whereby costs eligible for CRCEF funding are identified will be simple, flexible, and account for the fact that the circumstances of some researchers (such as other demands and/or commitments, health concerns or technological limitations) may impact their ability to participate directly in the process.

 

Contact information

The following Research Institute representative is responsible for ensuring the CRCEF program’s requirements are satisfied, and can be contacted should there be any questions or concerns regarding management of CRCEF funds at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton:

Gail Martin, PhD
Executive Director, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton
gmartin@stjoes.ca