Email from Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Research on April 3, 2020
Dear CSU research community,
Thank you for your unprecedented and selfless dedication in adhering to (and in some cases developing) public health efforts being required to contain the current COVID pandemic. The Office of the Vice President for Research realizes the stresses that have suddenly been imposed on all phases of your lives, and how difficult it has been to balance changes at home, in the classroom, and in the laboratory that have occurred with such rapidity.
There are tremendous efforts underway in a number of labs with expertise to respond to the pandemic, whether that be discovery of new therapeutics and vaccines or testing of personal protective equipment to augment predicted shortages of these life-saving instruments. There are also, however, a very large number of laboratories that have had to close down during this period. We realize the unease and frustration that this is causing, and the significant and difficult impacts this cessation of operations as usual is having on student researchers, faculty and staff paid from sponsored funds, and indeed in the progress of important scientific inquiry.
Although we have primarily been working in react mode, we realize the importance of starting to plan an exit strategy from our current status that considers the safety of personnel as well as the security of returning to our familiar roles and routines. We are in communication with central leadership about many of the questions you are undoubtedly having about the resource impact from this abrupt shut down of operations. We will continue to update our research continuity website with resources available to our research community and we will stay in touch via email. We will also begin considering what the re-entry phase may look like, and provide communication about these thoughts and policy development that is underway as processes begin to unfold.
The COVID pandemic has been characterized as a ‘black swan’ event- an unpredictable, rare event with severe consequences that, in hindsight, was completely predictable. These events alter the course of history, often with the outcome of an enhanced period of innovation. As we begin the upslope from the shutdown, we will very likely find new opportunities that will provide unprecedented opportunities for scientific impact and unprecedented creativity. Our office will be poised to assist you with this transition when the time comes for this reentry to our new world.
Take care during these trying times,
Alan S. Rudolph
Vice President for Research
Colorado State University