Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Restarting Research at Georgetown

Date Published: June 11, 2020

Dear Members of the Georgetown Community:

Research is a core element of our university’s identity, and through the process of innovation and scholarship, it is one of the ways we inform and serve our community and the world. You have seen your research severely disrupted by the joint health and financial crises currently confronting the university – crises shared by institutions of higher education across the country, and indeed by all sectors of the economy. We recognize and acknowledge the impact this has on your work and scholarship, and we firmly assert that restoring our research enterprise is a top priority.

On Tuesday, June 9, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia shared an update on Fall 2020 planning for our return to campus. This letter will provide further guidance as it pertains to research.

As Washington DC enters the first phase of reopening for business, we understand and share your eagerness to fire up your labs, reconstitute your survey teams, and dive back into the archives as the summer gets underway – one of the most productive research periods of the year for many of you. The university is committed to facilitating this transition as soon as possible, consistent with health guidelines and financial constraints, while recognizing that some activities will be able to resume earlier than others.

The Research Continuity Group, drawing on the expertise of members from the Main Campus and GUMC, was initially convened to develop and implement a plan to scale back lab research activities as COVID-19 first led to our parallel move to an instructional continuity regime. In consultation with the University’s Public Health and Safety working group, the Research Continuity Group has now developed a detailed strategy for restarting on-campus research that follows a phased approach in which the density of research activities can be scaled up as appropriate.

We are asking research units to begin formulating their plans to restart research in accordance with the strategy, to be submitted through an online portal currently under development. We hope that by beginning the planning process now, labs and other on-campus research facilities will be ready to hit the ground running, within appropriate institutional limits, when we have the green light.

We will host a Restarting Research Town Hall on Monday, June 15, from noon to 1 p.m., to provide details on the process we plan to follow. Ed Healton, EVP of the Medical Center, has been tasked by President DeGioia with leading the resumption of research. He and Provost Bob Groves will be present at the Town Hall, along with Interim Dean for Research at GUMC Moshe Levi, Vice Provost for Research Billy Jack, and members of the Research Continuity Working Group. Please use this Zoom link to join.

We hope that research will be one of the first activities to reemerge on the Hilltop. It is imperative that we have sound protocols in place that help protect the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and study participants, and that as a community we nurture a culture of adherence to these procedures. Our success in restarting research will inform the arguably even greater logistical challenge of pursuing our other core mission of teaching in the Fall.


Billy Jack, Vice Provost for Research

Moshe Levi, GUMC Interim Dean for Research