Dear Researchers,

In this evolving environment, we write to assure the social and behavioral sciences research community that our primary concern is for the safety of our research participants and UChicago research team members, and our primary goal is to support continued research productivity.

University Research Administration is currently working on further FAQs including recent updates from our federal funding agencies and will be sure to circulate to social science researchers. In the meantime, we offer the following reminders:

  1. Researchers should be considering if and how human subjects research may be modified in order to minimize in-person interactions. Can research visits and/or data collection be performed remotely (e.g., by phone, Zoom, Skype, or other means)? Can participant visits or interactions that cannot be performed remotely and are not essential to a participant’s health and/or well-being be postponed?
  2. Modifications to any research protocols may be made via amendment and must be approved in advance by the IRB. If an investigator needs to make an immediate, unexpected change to research plans in order to eliminate apparent immediate hazards to research participants (e.g., reducing potential exposure to COVID-19), these changes can be made prior to formal amendment request and approval and then reported to the IRB promptly. If the research team is unsure whether their changes meet this threshold, please contact the SBS IRB director, Cheri Pettey at
  3. Study teams should consider if it is appropriate to enroll new participants in human subject-related research while keeping in mind the CDC guidelines.
  4. Study teams should take appropriate steps to clean and sanitize all shared/utilized equipment between participants (such as iPads, keyboards, surfaces, pens, etc.) following CDC recommendations, and ensure that hand sanitizer, hand washing facilities and/or cleaning wipes are readily available for participants, when in-person

If you have any questions regarding research protocols, please contact Cheri Pettey at Other research questions may be directed to Cate Goebel at

Please access all of the latest UChicago COVID-19 updates and guidance at

Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate this unprecedented situation.

Best regards,

Amanda Woodward

Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences

William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology

Cheri Pettey

Director, Social and Behavioral Sciences IRB

1155 E. 60th Street, Room 418

Chicago, IL 60637

(773) 702-2915