Questions About COVID-19 And Your Research?

As the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continues to change rapidly, here is information that the Harvard University research community may find helpful.

We realize that the COVID-19 outbreak may cause hardship to research, however it is also important to weigh the possible harms to subjects, taking all issues into account.

Current Status on Research at Harvard University

The resumption of in-person research will occur in phases with timing based on governmental policies and the state of the disease, the health care system, and society at large. The principal investigator (PI) of a research program/study will be required to craft a plan outlining the COVID-19 precautions that will be undertaken for their research. The researcher’s plans will be subject to School/Departmental review and approval. No in-person research can begin until a researcher’s plan receives School/Departmental approval.

Instructions on how to get approval for in-person research from your School/Department may be found here -  You will also find on this site an outlined process, guidance, templates, and standard operating procedure examples to assist researchers and their Schools/Departments to get in-person human subjects research up and running.

Not certain how the resumption of in-person research may affect your study?  Check out the Resumption of Research Study Decision Aid found in the column on the right 


  • Should a researcher receive approval from their School/Department for in-person human subjects research and their study is taking place at a location outside of Harvard, it is important that these studies follow any guidelines or instructions from the specific facility where in-person research would occur. As some research may occur in another state, with another institution, or under the direction of another IRB (as in a reliance agreement situation), this is especially important.  It is the responsibility of the Study Team to keep apprised of potential restrictions and conduct their study accordingly.

  • Should further restrictions pertaining to contact with study subjects be imposed at any time, it is the responsibility of the study team to follow guidance regarding when to pause a study and contact the HUA IRB. 
  • Harvard Affiliates should note any travel and other restrictions that are in place by visiting the Harvard COVID-19 website -

Please know that the default for all research involving in-person contact is to be paused. To the extent possible, study activities that can be done remotely by telephone or electronically, such as screening or follow-up, should be done in this way.