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Harvard Medical School to ramp down lab research over Covid-19


Researchers told to focus on ‘productive alternatives’, such as writing grant proposals

Research laboratories at Harvard Medical School have been asked to “ramp down” their research activities to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We…expect to completely shut down each lab and core facility, with virtually no one entering a lab or research core after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. Access will be allowed for only the most critical needs—to maintain animal colonies, to replenish liquid N2 and to ensure the stability of experimental material,” medicine faculty dean George Daley said in a message to staff on 14 March.

The ramp-down will also exclude “the small number of individuals working on research directly related to immediate priorities of the Covid-19 pandemic”. It is expected to last for 6-8 weeks.

Researchers have been asked to focus on work that can be done remotely, such as writing grant proposals, reviewing articles and data analysis.

On the same day, senior staff at Stanford University asked lab heads to develop plans with junior researchers to enable them to work remotely “to the fullest extent possible”. They said research that requires a physical presence in the lab should be limited to the “highest priority work as established by PIs in consultation with their Department Chairs, Institute Directors and facilities managers”.