Message from the MSU AgBioResearch Director: March 20, 2020

From: Doug Buhler, Director, MSU AgBioResearch
Date: Friday, March 20, 2020
Subject: Message to MSU AgBioResearch Faculty

Dear AgBioResearch Faculty,

During these challenging and uncertain times, we want to personally say thank you to the research community for all your individual and collective efforts to deal with the effects of the current novel coronavirus pandemic, including practicing social distancing, shifting to working remotely and incorporation of other recommended measures. Your commitment to keeping the health and safety of faculty colleagues, staff and students the first and foremost priority is greatly appreciated. For those who are not taking this seriously, recognize you are not only putting the health and safety of your colleagues at risk, but also increasing the likelihood that draconian measures will be implemented.

The potential for further reduction or cessation of research activity on campus is very real.  All faculty should be planning for and recognize the potential for significant disruptions of ongoing research and delays in execution of planned experiments. We are in regular communication with university leadership about allowance for preservation of essential research functions (infrastructure and materials) and allowances for essential long-term research. We recognize the department chairs and school directors are the primary point of contact for information from us to you and we appreciate their efforts in providing updates and initiating necessary planning process. Know that we are committed to assuring that critical plant, animal, and cellular resources are preserved regardless of the operation status of the University.

Concerns about the impact of the current national crisis on research productivity, ongoing and future projects and career trajectory and job security are understandable.  Rest assured we are committed to working collaboratively with federal and state agencies, university leadership, chairs and directors and you the faculty to navigate these challenges and minimize long-term impact during and after this crisis ends.

The reduction in time spent on data collection and conducting research during this crisis presents opportunities for shifting focus to other aspects of the research mission.  Now is a great time for increased emphasis on analysis of data, writing manuscripts and working on grant proposals.  Funding agencies are still accepting applications and the potential for new funding opportunities and a short term infusion of money into research as occurred during the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is possible. The MSU Office of Sponsored Programs and our Office of Research Support remain fully functional and ready to help.

Thanks again for your diligence and patience during this unprecedented time.

Best wishes.

Doug Buhler
Director, MSU AgBioResearch

George Smith
Associate Director, MSU AgBioResearch