Field Research

As part of the response to COVID-19, provincial and federal authorities continue to impose restrictions on non-essential activities and travel. When we look at the many projects University of Alberta researchers conduct in the field, this has a particular impact on research within remote and northern communities, and research requiring cross-province and international travel. In addition, current hygiene requirements, including physical distancing and hand washing, are difficult to achieve in a field setting. As a result, effective immediately and until further notice, new University of Alberta field research projects cannot proceed without the approval of the appropriate faculty Dean and the Public Health Response Team (PHRT).

Due to the complexity and variability of field research, Deans are encouraged to regularly consult with department Chairs and field research supervisors in assessing if a field research project is considered essential to continue during Spring and Summer 2020. Following provincial government restrictions related to essential services, field research approvals will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

The PHRT will approve a project as a whole; approval for each individual trip will not be required as long as the project continues to implement current and future COVID-19-related restrictions. The PHRT will only approve projects that can demonstrate they meet all public health orders from the Government of Alberta and requirements of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, including:

  • Maintaining at least two meters physical distancing
  • Self-isolating when exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19
  • Abiding by all travel restrictions (national and international), including travel to Northern Canada 
  • Avoiding travel to rural areas in Alberta
  • Meeting provincial essential service criteria

Research groups already in the field (domestic and international) as of 20 March 2020, or groups approved as above, must keep current and comply with any new restrictions from the Government of Alberta and other relevant authorities.

Further information on field research can be found at Field Research Office.

For help assessing your research project, see the field research self-assessment COVID-19 tool here; it has been developed by the Field Research Office. If you have any further questions or concerns not covered here, researchers are asked to contact their Associate/Vice-Dean (Research), or the PHRT at