Guidance for Travel-Based Research

This guidance has been developed to interpret and apply the University of Notre Dame’s travel policy for research, scholarship, and creative endeavor taking place away from campus. This guidance is intended to be applied to travel for faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff traveling for research purposes, either individually or in groups. The University intends this guidance to be applicable to ecological field-site, architectural, and archeological research, as well as visits to archives, libraries, and other collections, and for observational data collection, etc.

This guidance references three criteria required for the approval of travel as listed in the travel policy:

  1. An assessment of the need for the requested travel during the semester instead of at a later time
  2. The immediate importance of the requested travel to the University’s core mission of teaching and research
  3. The potential long-term consequences to the research and the University of not undertaking the requested travel during the semester

The Lab Reopening Principles, as well as an awareness of the risks that arise as a result of travel for the current state of virus transmission and control, are important to review and consider. These include risks to the traveler(s), as well as to contacts at the destination, and to the Notre Dame community when the traveler(s) returns.

In the current environment, we do not expect that a significant amount of travel-based research and scholarship will be possible for the balance of 2020. We expect travel related to conferences to be particularly unlikely for the balance of 2020.

This guidance will be applicable from now until the end of the fall semester in late November 2020. Guidance for December 2020 and next spring (2021) will be determined as the University better understands the risk of travel at that time.

Requests

The guidance provided on this page is expected to be utilized to develop a specific request that will be submitted for approval to the relevant dean or vice president. Prior to preparing a request, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral scholar travelers should consult with the Occupational Safety and Travel Office of the Wellness Center at 574-631-2371, while graduate and undergraduate students should consult with the University Health Service at 574-631-7497.

Travelers are also required to contact either University Health Services (students) or the Wellness Center (faculty and staff) upon their return from travel to determine whether any measures may be required to help safeguard the campus community. Note that depending on the destination of field-based research and University policy, participants may be required to quarantine and self-isolate for up to 14 days upon arrival at their destination or after their return. Researchers should also make contingency plans to terminate activities and return home if the health situation at the field site were to deteriorate suddenly.

Requests for travel-based research should utilize the Request to Conduct Travel-Based Research, Scholarship, or Creative Endeavor Form . The answers to all questions on the form must be completed. The request must include details of travel, including destination and mode of transportation, length of stay at the destination, expected activities, safety policy at the destination, the safety and health protocols that will be implemented by the traveler, and contingency plan for returning home early.

The appropriate dean or vice president will make the final decision and the requester will be notified.

Reference Materials

The University directive to ramp down on-campus research laboratory operations and the subsequent communication related to research lab operation suspension, while not always applicable to field-based research operations, should be considered as guidance where relevant.

In addition, the playbook providing recent guidance about the gradual reopening of research labs and studios and the guidelines embedded in the Guidelines for Reopening Phases 1-3 should be utilized as guidance for conducting field-based research where applicable.

NEED MORE INFORMATION

As adjustments to travel restrictions and protocols are made, those updates will be communicated to faculty, staff, and students via a Google Group, which you can subscribe to here. Those communications will also be reflected in the updates section of the research continuity page

Should you have any questions about travel related to research, scholarship, or creative endeavor, please contact research@nd.edu.