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Research

Last updated 8 January 2021

The University of Manchester recognises that staff and PGR students may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. This section contains guidance and advice for the University’s research community. Please review this page and your funders’ webpages for regular updates.

National guidelines from 5 January

  • Is research affected by the updated national restrictions?

Wellbeing

  • How can I look after my wellbeing whilst working from home?
  • It has been difficult to conduct teaching and research due to remote working and/or caring responsibilities. Will expectations and requirements related to my workload and research/teaching quality and quantity be adjusted to take account of this?

Procurement

  • Who will be able to purchase goods and services relating to re-opening research facilities?
  • What can these staff purchase?
  • What should I do before making a purchase request?
  • The items I need are not available through University Stores – what do I do next?
  • Where will the goods be delivered to?
  • Where do I send purchasing card requests?
  • Can I book any travel related to my research?
  • Can I use my Frequent Traveller Credit Card?

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

  • What has been decided about submission to REF 2021?

Research funding

  • Can I still apply for research funding?
  • When will my UKRI-funded research project be considered for additional funding to support a project extension?
  • What are the rules around no cost extensions and CoA disruption funding and how do they affect my grants?
  • How will my funding application be approved if staff are working remotely?
  • List of main research funder pages
  • Will my existing awards continue to run?
  • My award ends soon. What should I do?
  • My project is due to end soon but it has been disrupted. What should I do?
  • Are EPSRC doctoral prize awardees eligible for an extension?

Fellowships

  • What are the rules around no-cost extensions and COVID Allocation (CoA) disruption funding and how do they affect my Fellowship?
  • If I am not eligible for the UKRI CoA disruption funding, will my Fellowship be extended to account for any disruption?
  • My Fellowship is due to end soon but it has been disrupted, what should I do?
  • I am still in my probation period, but I feel my progress has been affected – what can I do?

Business engagement

  • What should I tell business partners?
  • Who do I contact for more information?
  • My Industry funded project has been disrupted. What should I do?

Contracts

  • I have a research contract with an industry partner, what will happen if I can’t continue to conduct the work?
  • I have a research contract that needs an authorised signature, will it still be signed?
  • I have a subcontractor who requires urgent payment, what should I do?

Data collection

  • What should I do if my research/project involves face-to-face contact with people?
  • My study has NHS REC approval, is there a different process to obtain approval for face-to-face contact?
  • My study did not originally require ethical approval, do I still need to complete the restart paperwork?
  • Do I have to seek an amendment to my ethical review if I need to extend the end date of my data collection due to the Coronavirus situation?

Research IT

  • Can I login to the CSF / iCSF / HTCondor from off campus?
  • Can I access my files held on Research Data Storage (Isilon) from off campus?

Personal data storage

  • During this period of working from home - can I process personal data at home that has been obtained for the purposes of research?
  • Can I process research data containing personal identifiable information on my own equipment?
  • As a last resort, how do I safely store data on my own equipment?
  • Which text-messaging, Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services and video services can be used for data collection?
  • What should I tell participants before I start data collection?
  • How long may I keep recordings?
  • What should I do about storing physical documents containing personal information (ie consent forms)?

Working in labs

  • Can I continue to use LabCup?

Guidelines for resuming some types of research in the field and face-to-face

  • The University has temporarily moved to online teaching - do I have to suspend my research?
  • What guidance is available on fieldwork, research off campus and research in contact with human participants?
  • What guidance is available relating to research while in Covid Alert Level 5 / in a national lockdown?

National guidelines from 5 January

Is research affected by the updated national restrictions?

Research involving direct/in-person contact with human research participants must be suspended until further notice during this period of lockdown unless the following exceptions apply:

  1. The research has the appropriate ethical/risk/governance approvals and is already underway and it would harm participants if the research were suspended.
  2. The research has the appropriate approvals and involves participants already in the researcher’s “bubble” and will not impact on the workload of the NHS.

Read the University’s guidelines and guidance on research (field and in-person) for more information, or visit our research and postgraduate research FAQs.

 

Wellbeing

How can I look after my wellbeing whilst working from home?

We recognise that during this uncertain time remote working is not easy. Here are some excellent ideas about how to manage this and stay well.

If you can, set up a dedicated workspace in your house, it will help to differentiate between 'research' and 'off' time and create a boundary between relaxed, social space and workspace. There is some useful guidance about working from home and from NHS England about how to sit at your desk correctly - try adapting this to your at-home setup.

Maintain a routine, this will look different depending on your circumstances but can include things like getting up and ready as you usually would, taking a morning and afternoon walk instead of your commute, and taking regular breaks away from your workspace.

  • If you have caring responsibilities, speak to your line manager about how to manage your research work around these. It is likely that this will be a changing situation and will require ongoing discussion.
  • Try and define the hours you will be working and resist the temptation to check-in outside of these hours.
  • Even if you are isolating with symptoms, light exercise is recommended, try these at home and at your desk.
  • Make use of the many online resources including podcasts and apps on mindfulness and wellbeing.

It has been difficult to conduct teaching and research due to remote working and/or caring responsibilities. Will expectations and requirements related to my workload and research/teaching quality and quantity be adjusted to take account of this?

We appreciate that everyone is doing the best they can in difficult circumstances. If you believe that your ability to meet normal work expectations has been adversely affected due to lockdown and remote working, please discuss this in the first instance with your Head of Department or Division.

 

Procurement

Given the University’s current financial position, only essential goods and services can be purchased following the existing procurement guidance.

However as some research operations begin to re-open, a new purchasing procedure has been put in place to enable staff working in these facilities to purchase essential goods only. The information below outlines how this will work. 

Who will be able to purchase goods and services relating to re-opening research facilities?

The phased re-opening of some research facilities and buildings is being managed by the Faculties, with each keeping a register of those staff asked to return to campus (i.e. their University physical location).

These registers will be shared with local Finance operation teams. Purchasing requests will only be accepted from people who appear on the relevant register. Please liaise with the relevant contact to make sure your name is on the register:

What can these staff purchase?

Only essential goods and services directly related to and strictly necessary to the research which is re-starting can be purchased. Any essential non-research related purchases should follow the existing procurement process. Essential research related purchases should be charged to externally-funded grants wherever possible and not core University budgets. Contact your Research Finance Team for further clarification if needed.

What should I do before making a purchase request?

Before making a request, check with the relevant University Stores to see if the item/s you need are already available. Do not visit University Stores in person, instead contact them by phone or email:

The items I need are not available through University Stores – what do I do next?

If you are on the Return to Campus Register, your Oracle purchases no longer require approval from a member of the University’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT).

If you are an existing Oracle Requisitioner:

eMarketplace will now be available to raise requisitions for purchases. If you are not listed on the return to campus register, you will not be able to purchase through eMarketplace.

Non-Catalogue Requests can be raised and will be processed if the requisitions name appears on the return to campus register.

If you are not an existing Oracle Requisitioner, or do not have access to an Oracle Requisitioner:

Fill out a Requisition Request Form and email it to requisition_request@manchester.ac.uk. The Procurement Hub will process the forms and raise an Oracle requisition.  Accepted requisition request forms will follow the usual Oracle approver route to Requisitioner Approver and then to Higher Value approver if appropriate.

Where will the goods be delivered to?

Currently only three stores are open to receive deliveries. Before raising any requisitions you will need to amend your default delivery address to enable goods to be shipped to one of the these stores.

If you are requesting hazardous goods, you must contact your Health and Safety Advisor before placing the order. You will need to ensure any such goods can be transported and delivered to end users safely. 

You must choose one of:

  • Quick Select - Location: Stopford Building - Goods Inward
  • Quick Select - Location: Chemistry Stores
  • Quick Select - Location: MIB Stores

You must also add your contact details in "Notes to Receiver" so the goods can be delivered on to you. For support please contact the Procurement Hub

Where do I send purchasing card requests?

Purchasing card requests should ONLY be sent to foms@manchester.ac.uk. These will need to be pre-approved by the relevant member of SLT or their immediate delegate and their approval should be forwarded with the request, to avoid delays.

Can I book any travel related to my research?

Only essential travel is permitted. This must be booked through Key Travel and have pre-approval from an SLT member or their immediate delegate. Travel to countries for which the UK government advises ‘essential travel only’ has restricted insurance cover and must be authorised by the Vice President and Dean of the Faculty via a completed restart checklist and registered with the Insurance Office.

Can I use my Frequent Traveller Credit Card?

The government currently advises that UK residents should not travel abroad except for essential reasons. If you do need to use your Frequent Traveller Credit Card you must get approval from the relevant member of SLT before using your card.

 

REF 2021

What has been decided about submission to REF 2021?

The four funding bodies that conduct the REF have agreed the final set of revisions to the timetable and guidance, announcing the recommencement of the exercise with a final submission deadline of 31 March 2021. They have also provided preliminary advice on putting in place contingency arrangements for REF submission preparation. Find out more on the REF 2021 website.

In the meantime:

  • If you have any queries about the Research Review Exercise (or general queries about REF preparations in your area) find your local contact.
  • If you are an Impact Case Study author and have queries about development of your case, please contact your assigned Impact Officer.

 

Research funding

Can I still apply for research funding?

There are currently no application restrictions in place for UKRI or the Wellcome Trust. Other funders are delaying funding rounds, so researchers should consult funders’ web pages for the latest information.

Research Services will continue to support the costing and application process but may need to prioritise support for research funding applications to manage the continuing impact of remote working, vacant posts and voluntary severance. Highest priority will be given to funding applications relating to COVID-19 rapid response calls and those with submission deadlines before the end of October 2020. Researchers are asked to ensure that they provide extra time when requesting costings and submission support for applications and comply with local guidelines on advanced notice requirements.

When will my UKRI-funded research project be considered for additional funding to support a project extension?

The University has received an offer of COVID Allocation (CoA) funding from UKRI and our process for allocating extension and change of use funding was submitted to UKRI for approval on 11 Aug 2020. The key points of this are:

  • A University CoA Allocation Panel (‘the Panel’) will be convened in September to agree funding allocations to projects in line with UKRIs expectation that we will fund grants ending on or before 31 March 2021.
  • The Panel will draw senior academic expertise from across each of the University’s three Faculties and has the primary purpose of agreeing the allocation of CoA funding to grants across Council portfolios. The Panel will also monitor the necessary EDI and assurance activities associated with CoA.
  • Allocation decisions will take account of: project disruption data gathered by the University in May and a forthcoming exercise to update this during September 2020; whether the objectives of the project are best delivered via a costed or a no-cost extension (given there are restrictions on grants benefiting simultaneously from CoA funding and a no-cost extensions not approved by UKRI before 31 July 2020) and information regarding the resumption of some research projects/activity on campus. 

The Panel will apply the following principles to guide its CoA funding allocation decisions: 

  • Up to 80% of the CoA funding (excluding change of use funds) will be used to support directly incurred (DI) staff costs in order to prioritise the retention of research staff capacity and capability.
  • A minimum of 3 months of the total DI staff salary costs per project incurred during April/May and June 2020 will normally be allocated to disrupted projects, where this will lead to improved delivery of project objectives. Non-pay costs will normally not be eligible for support but may be considered in a small number of exceptional circumstances (and will require additional justification)
  • A proportion of the funding will be set aside to provide additional research staff funding for exceptional disruption cases and for the four international clinical trials identified by MRC.
  • Funding will be allocated by funding council to maintain the disciplinary balance required by UKRI. The proportions allocated to AHRC, ESRC and NERC projects will be protected as they collectively account for only 10.6% of the extension funds. We may choose to vary the allocations between the remaining Councils up to a maximum of 10%.
  • Change of use funding will enable individual PIs, or groups of PIs, to use funds from across their portfolio of grants ending after 1 April 2021 to fund current project extensions.
  • Change of use will not be permitted to be drawn from new awards starting after 31 July 2020.
  • Change of use will only be drawn from non-pay directly incurred costs and will only be used for DI research staff salary costs.
  • EDI considerations will relate to both PIs and Research Staff employed on grants.

The panel expects to confirm allocations at the beginning of October. For projects ending before the end of September 2020, Faculties have been advised to consider underwriting a short extension to enable project staff and research deliverables to continue.

What are the rules around no cost extensions and CoA disruption funding and how do they affect my grants?

UKRI has updated the rules regarding no cost extensions and CoA disruption funding. These changes may affect how your grant(s) access CoA disruption funding and whether it is financially sensible to do so.

  1. Non-ODA (Overseas Development Aid/GCRF) projects ending before 31 March 2021* will not be able to benefit from an no cost extension and receive CoA disruption support if UKRI has not approved the extension by 31 July 2020. There is an exception for no cost extension requests to accommodate parental leave or sickness. 
  2. ODA projects will be able to benefit from an no cost extension and receive CoA support if an extension has been accepted by UKRI by 31 October 2020, or if the extension is to accommodate parental leave or sickness. 

If you have submitted a request for an no cost extension which does not meet the 31 July 2020 UKRI approval deadline (or 31 Oct 2020 for ODA), and it was not for parental leave or sickness, the grant cannot be allocated both a no cost extension and CoA disruption/change-of-use funding. These grants will still be considered by the CoA panel and should they be allocated funding the PI, with advice from Research Services, will need to consider which route offers the greater opportunity to complete the project.

In order to receive the CoA funding the no cost extension request must be withdrawn from UKRI before the original end date of the grant and any remaining unspent budget from the original grant returned to UKRI as part of the Final Expenditure Statement. It may well be the case that if there are significant underspends on the original budget, a no cost extension could offer greater financial headroom to complete the project than the available CoA funding. In such cases PIs are advised to utilise the existing project budget rather than access CoA funding.

*The UKRI terms state projects ending before 30 September 2021 cannot benefit from an no cost extension and CoA. However, in line with UKRI wishes the University is prioritising CoA disruption funding towards projects ending before 31 March 2021. 

How will my funding application be approved if staff are working remotely?

All funding applications still require formal approval in line with University policy. From 1 July 2020 the approval of research grant applications moved into the Pure Awards Management Module, replacing the paper-based approvals in FSE and FHUM and the ePANMAN in FBMH.  Research Services will handle funding application approvals within Pure for Principal Investigators (PIs) and support Approvers with the new process. Where staff are unable or unavailable to approve funding applications, email confirmation from the relevant approver or delegate will be accepted.

Will my existing awards continue to run?

University systems will continue to be online. Expenditure will continue to be charged to awards in line with transactions posted to project codes. PI Financial Statements will also continue to be issued.

Researchers should note that transaction postings and statements may take longer to process than usual.

Research Finance will prioritise the invoicing process to ensure income continues to be collected for projects where the funder does not pay on a profile.

My award ends soon. What should I do?

Where an award concludes before the end of September 2020, and the PI is confident the deliverables have been or will be met, these awards should follow our standard closure processes in line with the funder’s terms and conditions. If the project has been disrupted please refer to the next question.

My project is due to end soon but it has been disrupted. What should I do?

Where an award is ending before 30 September 2020 and the research activity has been disrupted, funders are normally allowing a no-cost extension to the award (note that costs are still incurred by the University during such an extension). An application for a no-cost extension should be applied for in the normal way via your Research Services Team.

Where the grant is funded by UKRI, the FAQs above relating to the additional UKRI CoA funding apply. This should be considered prior to submitting a request for a no-cost extension to UKRI.

Some funders have also issued advice concerning the flexibility permitted for certain specific project costs such as re-scheduled travel. Please refer to your funder’s web pages for up to date information on this, or ask your Research Services team for advice.

Where a no-cost extension would mean the project will run beyond the contract end date for project funded staff, the PI must contact their local Research Services team to establish if the funder will meet these staff costs. Where the funder does not agree to meet these additional staff costs, extensions to individual staff contracts are unlikely to be approved. Unless the circumstances are exceptional, it is likely contracts will only be offered for the duration of known and agreed funding. Further guidance on this can be found here.

Are EPSRC doctoral prize awardees eligible for an extension?

The University is liaising with EPSRC, who are aware of the issue and currently working on developing policy. The EPRSC will be treating the Doctoral Prize fellows in line with the policy developed around research grants. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.

 

Fellowships

What are the rules around no-cost extensions and COVID Allocation (CoA) disruption funding and how do they affect my Fellowship?

The CoA is from UKRI and only applies to UKRI-funded Fellowships. If you are a UKRI-funded Fellow please talk to your line manager and read the details of how this funding will be allocated.

If I am not eligible for the UKRI CoA disruption funding, will my Fellowship be extended to account for any disruption?

The possibility of an extension is dependent on your funder’s terms and conditions. If your Fellowship is funded by the University (for example if you hold a Presidential, Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, Simon and Hallsworth Fellowship) it may be possible to extend your Fellowship – cases will be considered individually. Please discuss this with your line manager.

My Fellowship is due to end soon but it has been disrupted, what should I do?

Your funder may allow a no-cost extension to the award. However since staff costs are still incurred by the University during such an extension, you must contact your local Research Services team to establish if the funder will meet these staff costs. Where the funder does not agree to meet these costs, extensions to individual staff contracts are unlikely to be approved. Where the Fellowship is funded by UKRI, please refer to the FAQ relating to the additional UKRI CoA funding.

I am still in my probation period, but I feel my progress has been affected – what can I do?

Research Fellows with a four-year probation period (mainly Presidential Fellows) will have probation extended by 12 months as a matter of course, unless both the probationer and their Head of School are happy that probation has been successfully completed despite COVID-19 disruption. Anyone on a shorter probation period who feels they have been significantly disrupted by COVID-19 should first discuss any concerns with their line manager.

 

Business engagement

What should I tell business partners?

Continuing relationships with our business partners is extremely important. Faculties are overseeing the ongoing management of research prioritisation and access to facilities. We would encourage staff to maintain regular communication with industry partners, keeping them briefed on the situation on campus and progress with projects. Please could we request that you work closely with your local Business Engagement team to address any requests, issues or concerns that arise.

Who do I contact for more information?

My Industry funded project has been disrupted. What should I do?

Your funder may allow an extension to the award, however, staff costs are still incurred by the University during such an extension therefore you must contact your local Business Engagement (BE) team to establish if the funder will meet these staff costs. Please do not discuss any proposals with your funder until you have discussed this internally with your BE team, as they will support you in establishing the best strategy, tailored to your individual circumstances. Where the funder does not agree to meet these additional staff costs, extensions to individual staff contracts are unlikely to be approved.

 

Contracts

I have a research contract with an industry partner, what will happen if I can’t continue to conduct the work?

Despite our best efforts at mitigation and putting in place the appropriate remedial measures, the current situation will have a major impact on a significant number of the University’s research activities over the coming months. Most contracts have terms and conditions which deal with the legal position should work be suspended, however, each situation will be unique to the circumstances and will be dependent on how much work can continue to be delivered and the duration of the suspension. 

Academic staff, researchers and postgraduate research students should keep clear records of how work planned for the coming months has been affected and the impact on your research productivity, outputs and financial expenditure. If you are concerned about your contracts, please contact the relevant Contracts Officer or Contracts Manager for advice.

I have a research contract that needs an authorised signature, will it still be signed?

Arrangements are in place to ensure contracts are continuing to be signed, please continue to liaise with the relevant Contracts Officer or Contracts Manager for advice.

I have a subcontractor who requires urgent payment, what should I do?

Presuming this is in line with the subcontract (eg. the work has been completed and it is in line with the payment schedule), please ensure your subcontractor sends the invoice electronically to the email address in the agreement with all the relevant supporting documentation and this will be paid as per normal processes.

 

Data collection

What should I do if my research/project involves face-to-face contact with people?

The University's position is that research should continue to be undertaken using digital data collection methods (i.e. Skype, Zoom, Teams, electronic surveys/questionnaires, etc) if at all possible.

If you are a PGR student or staff member who needs to undertake face-to-face research, please read the University's restart guidance and guidance on research (field and in-person).

UG and PGT students are not permitted to undertake face-to-face research without the permission of their Programme Director. More information on this requirement and the process to follow can be found in the guidance on research (field and in-person).

My study has NHS REC approval, is there a different process to follow to obtain approval for face-to-face contact?

Information on the process to follow for restarting face-to-face research for studies with NHS REC/HRA approval can be found in the restart guidance. Please contact the Faculty Governance Team for further guidance.

My study did not originally require ethical approval, do I still need to complete the restart paperwork?

In order to resume any face-to-face data collection you must obtain the necessary approvals as outlined in the restart guidance, even if your study qualifies as an ethical exemption.

Do I have to seek an amendment to my ethical review if I need to extend the end date of my data collection due to the Coronavirus situation?

For details about studies that have NHS Research Ethics Committee (NHS REC) approval please refer to the Health Research Authority.

University-approved studies that have been approved via the University Research Ethics Committee or through a Department/Division/School process via the Ethical Review Manager (ERM) and have an ‘End Date of Data Collection’ listed as any time between the 15 March 2020 to 15 September 2020 will automatically have their end date extended to the 15 March 2021.

The ERM system will still generate Progress/End of Study Report notices according to the original date of ethical approval. If you are still collecting data when completing your Progress/End of Study Report, please indicate when data collection will end and that your study has been granted an automatic extension as outlined above.

Important note for students:

This extension ONLY affects the ethical approval for data collection in your study. Submission deadlines for theses and dissertations etc are set and managed by your study programme and are handled separately by the programme. You should seek additional clarification and advice from your Programme Director, Tutor or School Administrator if you are uncertain about your submission deadline.

 

Research IT

Can I login to the CSF / iCSF / HTCondor from off campus?

Yes. We recommend that you access these platforms using the GlobalProtect VPN software as you are likely using this to access other University systems while off-campus. Alternatively, you can login via the Research IT Linux Virtual Desktop. Please visit Research IT working from home for detailed instructions.

Can I access my files held on Research Data Storage (Isilon) from off campus?

Yes, you can access your storage when the GlobalProtect VPN software is running on your off-campus desktop or laptop, or via the Research IT RDS-SSH gateway.

There are two types of storage areas:

  • On your desktop or laptop which will require you to map your storage as you would any drive (eg R:/drive). For each method of access, please follow the step-by-step instructions on the Research IT WFH page; and
  • On a central platform such as CSF, iCSE or HTCondor submitter, which are accessed as described in the previous answer.

 

Personal data storage

During this period of working from home - can I process personal data at home that has been obtained for the purposes of research?

You can process personal identifiable research data at home if all of the following conditions apply:

  1. You have ethical approval to process the personal data for the purposes of research.
  2. You are based in the EU and the data was acquired in the EU or you are based in the country of origin of the personal data if this is outside the EU.
  3. Where data is being provided by a third party, there are no clauses within the contract of the data provider/data controller that prevent you from processing the data at home. (You should check contractual arrangements where there is a data provider before you access such data from home.) 
  4. There are no strict requirements guided by the data provider or the nature of the research that means that the physical environment from which the processing is being undertaken is restricted.
  5. You can ensure that no other member of your household can view any personal data.
  6. You use a University-managed device/access the data via VPN (Global Protect)/or follow the guidance regarding the use of your own equipment (see below).
  7. You take appropriate security measures (encryption), and back up your data securely following the advice by IT Services below.
  8. The information you have provided to the research subjects (Participant Information Sheet and Consent form) which describe the storage and processing environment do not prohibit you from doing this. See the ethics website for more information.

Where the storage or processing of data cannot be undertaken on University infrastructure then contracts/data sharing agreements and other such formal documents (e.g., system level security policies) which state the location of storage and processing, should be updated to reflect the new storage and processing locations. Any contracts would need to be reviewed by the University Contracts Team before being forwarded to the third party data provider. Note that data can only be accessed/viewed within the stated territory of use in such contracts.

Can I process research data containing personal identifiable information on my own equipment? 

The University usually requires that personal identifiable data are stored on a University-managed device, not a personal computer, because these devices are encrypted and maintained by IT Services. The data should also be stored on a University server so that it is backed up regularly.

However, if you do not have a University-managed device you can use your personal device provided that you take account of the need for appropriate security, confidentiality and integrity of the data and are confident that your personal device meets the standards set out in the IT Services Bring Your Own Technology and Remote Working standard operating procedure.

As a last resort, how do I safely store data on my own equipment?

Where possible, and especially when you are processing restricted/highly restricted data, you should use VPN to access your University of Manchester staff desktop and storage. You should not save any copies of the data on your personal device. As a last resort, if you need to store research data which includes personal identifiable information on your own device (i.e. laptops / desktops, not USB pens or portable hard drives) this must remain in your home at all times. It should not be transported elsewhere due to the increased risk of theft. Files containing personal identifiable data must be encrypted, and devices password protected to prevent unauthorised access. You should keep the operating system and virus software up to date on your device.

Which text-messaging, Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services and video services can be used for data collection?

If you are a member of staff:

If data is being recorded using the recording function in the service, University-approved services must be used via a University account:

The use of personal accounts or the use of other platforms is only permissible for communication – not recording. Please contact Information Governance if you have any questions.

If you are a student:

Important: The guidelines issued below in relation to the use of personal accounts for the purposes of data collection are only to be used for research conducted during COVID-19 outbreak, while face-to-face data collection is prohibited. Discussions are currently ongoing regarding how to best support students who wish to use digital methods of data collection once the University re-opens and revised guidance on this topic will be circulated in due course.

Personal accounts may be used to record data as long as participants are made aware of the privacy policies of the relevant service, including the fact their data may be transferred to countries outside of the EEA before starting a recording either in a participant information sheet or in another written communication sent to the participants prior to the start of data collection. Participants must be advised that they do not have to take part if they do not wish a recording to be made.

It is strongly advised that Skype or Zoom are used to record video or audio only interviews with participants. Use of other third party apps/add-on apps to record conversations within other VoIP services such as WhatsApp or Telegram must not be used.

What should I tell participants before I start data collection?

The following text must be provided to participants:

Your participation in this research will be recorded in [Skype/Zoom] and your personal data will be processed by [Microsoft/Zoom]. This may mean that your personal data is transferred to a country outside of the European Economic Area, some of which have not yet been determined by the European Commission to have an adequate level of data protection. Appropriate legal mechanisms to ensure these transfers are compliant with the UK General Data Protection Regulation are in place. The recordings will be removed from the above third party platform and stored on University of Manchester managed file storage as soon as possible following the completion of data collection.

Further privacy information:

How long may I keep recordings?

The recording files must be downloaded, saved to University storage and deleted from the service as soon as possible.

Further information on recording participants for research purposes can be found in the University of Manchester Taking Recordings of Participants for Research Purposes Standard Operating Procedure.

If the recording is on a cloud service, then the cloud service should be based within the EU and the account must be protected by a unique strong passphrase consistent with the University of Manchester IT Services Password Technical Security Standard.

If the recording is stored on a personal device and this is backed up to a personal cloud e.g. Apple device and iCloud the recording must be permanently deleted from all back-ups and moved to University file storage. Backups of University information must NOT be taken, as personal devices never store the master copy of information. The master copy of information should be on University of Manchester storage. 

Please contact Information Governance if you have any questions around the use of other tools for data collection.

What should I do about storing physical documents containing personal information (ie consent forms)?

If you have physical documents containing personal identifiable information you should keep these in a secure place within your home, preferably in a locked filing cabinet for which only you have access. When the University re-opens, all such data should be safely returned and stored at the University. 

 

Working in labs

Can I continue to use LabCup?

For security reasons, LabCup, the University’s chemical inventory and laboratory management system, will not be available for those working from home, unless they are working specifically on Covid-19 research, until further notice. If you require access to LabCup, please contact Irene.Barinaga@manchester.ac.uk.

 

Guidelines for resuming some types of research in the field and face-to-face

The University has temporarily moved to online teaching - do I have to suspend my research?

Research, including our postgraduate research, is an essential part of our University activity. We expect research to continue where this is feasible, with working arrangements adjusted in line with our guidelines for COVID-19 secure working. Research in labs should continue to follow existing arrangements, working remotely where possible and with approved safety protocols in place for work in labs . If your research involves face-to-face data collection, fieldwork or travel please read the FAQ on data collection and the restart guidance

If a staff member or postgraduate researcher tests positive for COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate, please follow the University's guidance for reporting a case.  For more information, please refer to the regularly updated Research FAQs and PGR COVID-19 FAQs

What guidance is available on fieldwork, research off campus and research in contact with human participants?

For details, please refer to the Guidance on Resuming the Following Types of Research Activity in the COVID-19 Environment.

What guidance is available relating to research while in Covid Alert Level 5 / in a national lockdown?

For details, please refer to the Updated guidance for research on campus: Covid Alert Level 5