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The following FAQs address some of the key current concerns related to the continuity of SFU’s research activities. As the response to COVID-19 is subject to ongoing changes, these questions will be reviewed and updated daily as necessary with the latest available information.


SFU's research programs are currently at Stage 2 of the four-stage plan.

The four-stage research plan provides broad guidelines on staffing density, on-campus research and fieldwork, access to buildings and meeting rooms. 

The following is in effect at Stage 2:

  • 10%-40% density on campus
  • Approved on-campus research activities are permitted with a safety and risk mitigation plan that is approved by the Faculty.
  • Minimal intervention human participants research (HPR) only, with a safety and risk mitigation plan and updated ethics protocol is required. Examples of minimal intervention HPR permitted at Stage 2 include: 1:1 interviews in an appropriate space, or small focus groups that can maintain required distancing. All in-person HPR, on and off campus, requires an HPR safety plan approved through the Office of Research Ethics (ORE) processes. 
  • For fieldwork/off-campus site research, medium risk COVID-19 exposure activity may be approved. A Field Activity Plan (FAP) and COVID-19 Safety Plan is required. Medium risk COVID-19 exposure field activity may include travel with multiple stops; overnight accommodation with restrictions (no shared rooms); shared equipment or vehicle possible with approved disinfection and cleaning protocols; strenuous activities.

  • There is restricted building access. Research space access is available with an approved Safety Plan.

  • No use of meeting spaces is allowed unless approved by exemption by the Dean and with an approved Safety Plan.

At Stage 2, essential services like research, as well as student support and teaching are operational. More information on the four stage plan can be found here.

View the full list of SFU's Return to Campus most frequently asked questions here

The SFU Recovery Framework outlines several guiding principles for learning and research continuity. These include:

  • The university will protect the health and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff.
  • The university will consider issues of accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion in all decisions.
  • The university will consider the carbon footprint and climate change adaptation implications of all decisions.
  • The university will communicate decisions and guidance as early and as broadly as possible.
  • Research activity will be supported to every extent possible.
  • The university will take advantage of opportunities to innovate and collaborate.

Research involving human participants

All in-person HPR, on and off campus, requires a HPR safety plan approved through the Office of Research Ethics (ORE) processes. The HPR safety plan details how procedures will be modified to take participant safety into account. Detailed guidelines and processes for developing and submitting an HPR safety plan, on and off campus, are available on the ORE website.

Fieldwork and international research collaborations

For information about conducting research that involves fieldwork, please see Research Recovery - Fieldwork & Third Party Sites.

Research involving animals

SFU’s Animal Care Services (ACS) has a crisis management plan to mitigate specific issues pertaining to the current COVID-19 situation. As an essential service, ACS anticipates being able to maintain current animal colonies with designated staff in ACS facilities. Please refer to the ACS webpage for specific updates to services.

Last updated: June 21, 2021


June 21, 2021 - Removed Core Facilities and Research Funding sections. Simplified content in Planning and human participants sections

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