COVID-19: Harvard Updates for our Research Community

October 1, 2021
Image of a mother and son statue wearing face masks


Below, you'll find the latest Harvard updates, guidance, information, and resources regarding COVID-19. See additional information for the Harvard Chan Community and ORSD's weekly COVID-19 newsletter highlighting new research funding opportunities.


Reminder: Verify Your Vaccination


Harvard is requiring COVID vaccination for all community members who will have any on-campus presence this fall, including students, faculty, staff, and researchers. For faculty, staff, and researchers, we advise vaccination as soon as possible, and verification of vaccination must be submitted to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) by July 15.

Once you are vaccinated, you must submit verification of your completed vaccination card received from your vaccination provider. Images of these cards should be submitted to HUHS through the Patient Portal (detailed steps below). You do not need to be an HUHS patient to submit your card through the Patient Portal.

Knowing the rates of vaccination across our community will inform additional policy decisions as we plan for the fall semester. HUHS keeps individual information secure and confidential. For more information please visit verify-your-vaccination.



COVID-19 Guidance for Harvard Chan Community


HR has launched a Harvard Chan Covid-19 website as a central resource for our community where you can find the latest updates, guidance, and useful information and resources. In addition, please check the University Covid-19 website regularly.

Other Resources:

For more information about who to contact regarding specific HR policies and questions, please click here.



New University Sponsored FAQs for COVID-19


New FAQs have been added regarding charging Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to sponsored awards and disclosing changes to NIH via the RPPR. Visit the OVPR website.In addition, FAQs related to NIH foreign component, lab re-opening, and the purchase of refundable airfare on sponsored awards have been included. Visit the OSP website to review updated FAQs, guidance and resources. Contact Rachel Cahoon or Rita Bergemann with HMS/HSDM school specific questions.



OFS Message: Harvard Chan Supply Policy for Staff Update 

January 5, 2021

We hope you all enjoyed a wonderful and restful winter break. As we begin a new semester of remote operations, we want to share the  Harvard Chan Supply Policy for Staff, which outlines some temporary changes to the School’s policy on the purchase of office supplies and IT equipment, as well as the retrieval of office chairs. These changes will remain in effect through the duration of this work-from-home period. We hope that they will help address some of the administrative challenges we have faced during this extraordinary time.

Should you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact either your department administrator or financial administrator. As always, we thank you for your incredible efforts during this difficult time. Please stay healthy and stay safe.

Katie Hope and Dave Waxman



OSP Message: Tracking COVID-19 Funding in GMAS

October 16, 2020

Dear Research Community,

We are writing to provide an important update to our August 27th note on Tracking COVID-19 research expenses.  After much discussion internally and benchmarking with peer institutions, we are updating the guidance provided in our August 27th note as follows:

The COVID-19 label must be applied in GMAS to indicate any federal or non-federal award directly related, either partially or fully, to COVID-19 research.  This label should not be used to identify projects that are negatively impacted by COVID. Only members of the central offices (OSP, SPH ORA, and HMS ORA) are able to update segments and requests to add or remove the COVID-19 label; please work with your contact in the relevant central office to ensure that the label is applied to each award when appropriate.

There is no longer the need to track expenses on projects related to COVID-19 if the funding is not from an appropriation or deemed by the awarding agency (through the award notice) as COVID-19 related funding. Your central office (OSP, SPH ORA, or HMS ORA) will manage the set-up of subactivities if expenses must be tracked for federal reporting purposes.  Please contact your central office contact for award set-ups if you have any questions. 

Harvard University Office for Sponsored Programs
1033 Massachusetts Ave., 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-5501 | OSP Website


OSP Message: Tracking COVID-19 Research Expenses

August 27, 2020

Many of you may be aware of the recent release of the 2 CFR 200, Compliance Supplement earlier this month.  This supplement is intended to assist auditors in performing the required audits under the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) and identifies a requirement to track and report on funding related to COVID-19 research and relief funds. 

Additionally Harvard will need this information for sponsor requirements, agency requests, the NSF annual HERD survey, and other reporting.  In other to identify the grants and specific expenditures the university research administration community will need to work together and take the following actions:

Effective 9/1/20: 

  • For awards in which all the funding is related to COVID-19:
    • the COVID flag in GMAS must be utilized, and 
    • the account name must include, or be updated to include, “COVID-19…”.
  • For awards in which part of the funding is related to COVID-19:
    • the COVID flag in GMAS must be utilized, and
    • the portion of funding related to COVID must be set up as a separate subactivity, and
    • the subactivity account name must include, or be updated to include, “COVID-19…”.
  • For subcontracts issued, in which all of the funding is related to COVID-19: 
    • the COVID flag in GMAS must be utilized, and
    • the subactivity account name must include, or be updated to include, “COVID-19…”.
  • For subcontracts issued, in which a portion of the funding is related to COVID-19: 
    • the COVID flag in GMAS must be utilized, and
    • we will need to ask the sub to identify expenses related to COVID-19 funding and relief. 

Please note that we are not asking for any retroactive movement of transactions posted before 9/1 but ALL transactions starting in September must follow these guidelines.

The Office for Sponsored Programs will be working closely with school research administration offices to implement these changes.  We realize this may be a significant change in how you allocate expenses after 9/1 and wanted you to be aware of these changes as you receive emails and notices from GMAS and your school.

If you have any questions, please contact Christyne Anderson or Tracey Westervelt in OSP or your school COVID-19 representative.

Harvard University Office for Sponsored Programs
1033 Massachusetts Ave., 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-5501 | OSP Website


OVPIA: Update on Travel Guidance 

August 20, 2020

With the continued public health uncertainty across the United States and around the world, OVPIA has updated the domestic and international travel guidance, which outlines the Petition Process and COVID-19 Travel Requirements.


OSP Memo: Research Personnel and Costs 

April 30, 2020

Dear Research Administration Community,

Below is an important message about grant level documentation that is required for all awards that are, or become, impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This memo addresses both research administrators and faculty, but this listserv message is only being sent to administrators. Faculty communication is being coordinated at the school level. Please do not hesitate to contact your school COVID contact or OSP with any questions. Memo: Documentation of Sponsored Research Activities impacted by the COVID-19 Emergency

The purpose of this memo is to remind researchers and administrators of their responsibility to maintain adequate documentation of research personnel effort & other project costs as well as project scope changes and project timing during this time of remote research activities. While no additional documentation is required for award activity unaffected by the shift to remote work, documentation is required for all awards impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.

Earlier this month schools, departments, or research units returned spreadsheets to OSP indicating the status of each award. Those identified as being modified or inactive require ongoing documentation of the impacts on scientific progress as well as salary charges for idle or reduced effort. Additionally, any award that shifts from fully active to a modified or inactive status, during the COVID-19 emergency, must also document the impacts. As was noted in a March 16th email to all research administrators across the university, “documentation is critical, be sure to identify COVID-19 related incremental costs and salary unrelated to effort, and maintain that documentation.”

To be prepared to identify the costs of projects where effort is reduced or work on projects has been halted, as noted above, you should have tools and resources in place to track research personnel and other costs on grants If you need help documenting/tracking these costs, please reach out to your respective Research Administration school contact(s)* for assistance.

It is critical to document research progress, personnel efforts & any other project costs related to the interruption of operations or services during this time of modified research activities for several reasons:

  • It will be necessary information for those sponsoring agencies that disallow salary charges when work in support of a project is not possible
  • Federal sponsors, including NIH (FAQ dated April 13, 2020), have issued instructions regarding notification about any personnel charges for idle work and other impacts, such as changes to project scope, as a result of the COVID emergency
  • Documenting the impact of COVID-19 will also be beneficial if supplemental funding is made available by a sponsor in the future

We continue to post links to Federal Agency Guidance on charging costs to sponsored projects during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Please refer to the guidance pertaining to grants or contracts provided by your specific funding agency to determine what is allowed for your project. The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) will be reassessing their guidance to federal agencies within 90 days of March 19th (by June 17th). The current Harvard policy allows charges on federal awards for non-working personnel through May 28th.

Non-Federal Sponsor Guidance is also available on the OSP website and updated daily as we receive additional information from our sponsors. You may also reach out to your School COVID-19 contact* or the Office for Sponsored Programs with questions (Christyne Anderson).

Please contact us with any questions and thank you for all your efforts during this unprecedented time.

*School contacts:

Harvard University Office for Sponsored Programs
1033 Massachusetts Ave., 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-5501 | OSP Website


COVID-19 Guidance for Harvard Chan Community 

April 14, 2020

We have launched a Harvard Chan coronavirus website as a central resource for our community where you can find the latest updates, guidance, and useful information and resources. In addition, please check the University coronavirus website regularly.

Other resources:
Workplace Policies-
Employee health plan enhancements-
Remote work resources-
Managing stress, resilience and more…

For more information about who to contact regarding specific HR policies and questions, please click here.


OSP Research Administration COVID-19 Update 

April 14, 2020

Dear Research Administration Community,

  1. We updated our FAQs on the OSP website to add questions and answers regarding:
  • salary reallocations to awards in which work cannot be performed,
  • supplemental salary,
  • NIH’s guidance on the prior approval waiver of carryforward on non-SNAP awards, and
  • NIH Foreign Component guidance for employees working outside the U.S. due to travel restrictions.

2. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released a new memorandum (M-20-21) titled, “Implementation Guidance for Supplemental Funding in Response to COVID-19”. This memo directs agencies to leverage and continue to employ existing financial transparency and accountability mechanisms wherever possible to support the delivery of economic relief funds.

3. NIH continues to update their resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, they posted a Roundup of New COVID-19 Resources for NIH Applicants and Recipients.

Please sign up for the OSP Blog to receive non-urgent communications and information about training opportunities.

Harvard University Office for Sponsored Programs
1033 Massachusetts Ave., 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-5501 | OSP Website
Sign up for the OSP Blo


HSPH ORSD Featured News and Announcements 

April 13, 2020

*NEW: Internal - Dean’s Fund for Scientific Advancement: General Acceleration Award 2020

Notice of Intent Deadline (required): May 20, 2020

Application Deadline: June 22, 2020

The 2020 General Acceleration Award supports the advancement of public health research, research-enabling platforms, and pedagogical innovation at the Harvard Chan School. For more information, see the General Acceleration Award RFA. Please visit the Dean’s Fund FAQ page for additional guidance and direct all questions to Heather Conrad (

ORSD distributes a weekly COVID-19 newsletter on Mondays that highlights new research funding opportunities along with answers to many questions regarding how COVID-19-related disruptions to research might affect current federal funding. However, we didn’t want to lose any time announcing this quick funding mechanism:

*NEW: Fast Grants: Fast Funding for COVID-19 Science

Deadline: Not announced

These grants are for scientists at an academic institution currently working on a COVID-19 related project and in need of funding. Fast Grants are $10k to $500k and decisions are made in under 48 hours.


OSP Research Administration COVID-19 Update 

April 11, 2020

Dear Research Administration Community,

We are writing with a few updates:

  1. NSF’s FAQs and guidance have been updated to elaborate on the implementation of the OMB Memorandum M-20-17. We would like to highlight three items:
    • Prior approval requirement waivers (# 8 in memorandum): revised to update the specific situations that require NSF prior approval; additional guidance also has been added for Major Facility Recipients
    • Extension of financial and other reporting (# 10 in memorandum): supplemented with information on the processing of payments via NSF’s Award Cash Management Service
    • Extension of closeout (# 12 in memorandum): has new guidance extending award closeout from 120 days to 180 days
  2. Office of Management and Budget has released a new memorandum (OMB M-20-20) allowing agencies to allow the donation of medical devices, equipment, PPE, and other medical supplies purchased with federal assistance funds (grants) to medical centers and other entities.
  3. We continue to update our FAQs, Resources page, Federal Guidance Summary page and Non-Federal Guidance Summary page.

If you have any questions, please contact Christyne Anderson at

Harvard University Office for Sponsored Programs
1033 Massachusetts Ave., 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-5501 | OSP Website


OSP Research Administration COVID-19 Update 

April 10, 2020

For most current COVID-19 Harvard sponsored-related information, please visit the Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP) homepage and click on the resources provided below:   

Visit the COVID 19 and Research Operations page on the OVPR website for information relating to research.


COVID-19: Important Info on Research-Related Activities

March 16, 2020

Please visit OSP's website for the most current COVID-19 information for sponsored projects.  

To the Harvard Research Community,

This morning we are providing significant updates to reflect the shift to ramping down on-site research as well as additional updates from NIH and NSF.

We have updated the Sponsored FAQs on the OSP website, updated the COVID-19 Travel Guidance, and added a Resource Page that lists the key websites, internal and external, that address most of the information available at this time.

As we all are witnessing, the situation and therefore our guidance is shifting daily so please stay up-to-date by visiting the websites and reading emails. We will continue to provide updates as information shifts.

The key changes and notes are:

  • Compensation should continue to be charged to awards whether individuals can or cannot contribute to the project. This may not continue indefinitely but for both NIH and NSF it is applicable for up to 30 days, consistent with the university’s current published policy. For now assume that it is any 30 days, per individual, when work cannot be performed (please read the FAQs).
  • All cancelled travel and related costs may be charged to sponsored awards.
  • Documentation is critical, be sure to identify COVID-19 related incremental costs and salary unrelated to effort, and maintain that documentation.

As already noted, we expect additional changes and will send updates as they are available.

Please do not hesitate to ask any questions. Schools have local channels but we are glad to triage questions through OSP, Christyne Anderson is the primary contact for COVID-19 questions.

School contacts:

Sarah T. Axelrod
Assistant Vice President, Office for Sponsored Programs
Harvard University | Office for Sponsored Programs
1033 Massachusetts Avenue, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
Ph: 617.496.2513


COVID-19: Update on remote operations for AP and Cash Receipts

March 16, 2020

HCOM Users,

With the shift to remote operations, Harvard University Central AP and Cash Receipts have implemented new guidance and procedures . These guidelines are effective immediately; we should NO longer be sending paper invoices to Central. Attached are detailed instructions. Please read the 2 attached documents carefully for detailed guidance:

1) COVID-19 Invoice and Payment Guidelines - SPH (supports paperless invoice and payment processing)

  • Information on how invoices should be emailed to Central AP for processing
  • Information on using Harvard-issued credit cards for essential purchases
  • Information on emailing backup for Non-employee Reimbursements to Central AP for processing
  • Guidance that Concur reports should continue to be processed for Employee Reimbursements and Corporate Card Payments.
  • Resources included on how to use the Concur App

2) COVID-19 Cash Receipts Guidance - SPH (for non-sponsored or non-gift deposits only)

  • In general, checks should be retained and deposited when we return.
  • As of now, Central Cash Receipts will be open normal business hours every Thursday (this may change).
  • If necessary, you can make a deposit directly at any Bank of America branch. Deposit slips will be available at the branch. Attached document provides detailed instructions that must be followed.

If you have any questions regarding this communication, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or any member of the AP, Travel and Cash Management Team:

Hitesh Mehta 432-8182
Gina Sanchez 432-0564
Parisi (T,W,TH) 432-2488

Sharon Reine | Director of AP Travel and Cash Management | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health | Office of Financial Services | Landmark Center 401 Park Drive 3rd Floor East Boston, Ma 02215 | | 617-432-7693


OVPR Update on COVID-19 and Research Operations

March 16, 2020

Harvard University is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off campus.

  • Office for Sponsored Programs has developed guidance related to COVID-19 impacts on sponsored research. Visit FAQs or reach out to your local sponsored office with any questions.
  • DOE has issued a call to action letter (PDF) requesting ideas of scientific questions underpinning COVID-19 response that the research community may answer using DOE facilities, computational resources, and enabling infrastructure.
  • For information about steps to take to ensure the protection of laboratory operations and the valuable research being conducted at Harvard, see here.
  • For guidance on best practices for managing data remotely, visit Harvard University Information Technology’s website on working remotely, or reach out to your school’s Information Security Officer. You can update your data security plan with your local Information Security Officer or in the Safety Application, where appropriate.
  • For COVID-19 FAQs relating to Human Subjects Research, visit the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects and Office of Human Research Administration websites for helpful information, or reach out to your local IRB with questions. As necessary, you can update your study protocol in ESTR.

For all other up-to-date information, including school and program information, workforce planning, travel guidance, and meeting and event guidance, please see here.


COVID-19: Spring Break and Other Travel Guidance

March 5, 2020

Harvard University continues to monitor the evolving outbreak of the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to provide guidance on restricted travel as necessary (see Harvard Coronavirus Website). Please consider the Travel guidance regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), recently posted on Harvard’s Travel Website, when making or cancelling travel arrangements.

As noted on the guidance, Harvard University Office for Sponsored Programs is awaiting further guidance from federal agencies and will send out additional information, as it becomes available.

Below, please read the latest email regarding COVID-19 Spring Break and Other Travel Guidance from Harvard Chan School's Executive Dean for Administration.

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community,

With Spring Break approaching, I wanted to make sure that everyone read the latest message from the Office of the Executive Vice President. To reiterate, Harvard now prohibits University travel to all jurisdictions with Level 3 Travel Warning for coronavirus from the CDC: mainland China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. Other nations may be added to this list as the CDC updates its guidance. In addition, personal travel to those jurisdictions is strongly discouraged.

All non-essential international travel is discouraged for now. If you do travel abroad, register your Harvard and personal travel, download the International SOS app, and monitor the guidance provided by Harvard’s Global Support Services and the CDC.

Given the rapidly evolving situation, please pay close attention to developments such as flight cancellations or travel restrictions and be prepared to change your plans quickly to minimize risk of disruption, self-isolation requirements, or any developments that could lead to difficulty in returning to the U.S.

For domestic travel, please pay close attention to the latest information as the prevalence of COVID-19 infection is changing rapidly.

As you are aware, Harvard Chan School is closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the University and other Harvard schools to plan for contingencies in case of disruption to our educational and research activities. In the meantime, please continue to practice appropriate hygiene and preventive measures. Also, make sure to visit Harvard’s new coronavirus website for guidance and the latest updates.


Katherine A. Hope, PhD
Executive Dean for Administration
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health