Research Restart: Undergraduate Research Project Students

On behalf of Prof. Reinhart Reithmeier, Vice Dean, Research & Innovation

The 2020/21 academic year is rapidly approaching and undergraduate students are registering for their courses, including research project courses.  These project courses are an integral part of an undergraduate science education and, in 4th year, often a capstone to a Specialist program.  Students gain “real-life” lab experience and become integral parts of research teams, and many students develop an interest in research as a career.  Lab experience is a valuable asset for entry applications into graduate school, and supervisors are able to provide informed letters of reference for project students.  For these reasons, there is considerable merit in allowing undergraduate students to register for project courses and carry out their research remotely or in a laboratory setting.   

The health and safety of all personnel working in research labs is paramount.  We are currently at 50% capacity and likely to remain at this level for the Fall term.  If Departments decide to offer research project courses, supervisors can include undergraduate project students as part of their research teams.  Undergraduates are to be accommodated in lab schedules within current occupancy limits based on lab FTEs (full-time research staff, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers) while maintaining the maximum capacity of team sizes at 50%. In other words, while undergraduates can be scheduled to work in the lab, their inclusion does not increase the lab’s team size as defined on the schedule template. So, this may require an undergraduate to occupy a time slot normally occupied by another member of the lab.   

Undergraduate project students are encouraged to work remotely as much as possible, and all formal meetings, presentations and examinations for undergraduates are to be carried out remotely.  Undergraduates in labs are to follow the standard 2-meter physical distancing, mandatory wearing of face coverings in normally publicly-accessible areas, and other University and public health directives.  As with all other research personnel, undergraduate students are required to complete the Faculty’s Safe Research Restart Checklist (as a Trainee) that the supervisor keeps on file.   

Thanks to all for a continued successful research restart, and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or feedback.

Reinhart Reithmeier
Interim Vice Dean, Research & Innovation