Return to Research/Travel

Dr. Danika van Proosdij conducting research on a marsh.

A protocol and process guide for a phased approach to returning to on-campus and field research activities

This Protocol and Process Guide provides direction on how on-campus and field research activity can resume in phases, to be implemented when circumstances related to COVID-19 in Nova Scotia will allow the gradual lifting of activity restrictions. The processes outlined here are sufficiently general that they can be followed throughout the coming months, within the evolving stages of lifting activity restrictions by the Provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH).

This content is also available as a PDF: Return to Research Protocol [PDF].

Current Status of “Return to Research / Travel” (last update: October 29, 2021)

  • We have removed any/all earlier COVID-restriction-related oversight of on-campus research activities, and of the shared office-spaces (e.g. graduate students, postdocs, part-time faculty) – these activities can be considered “back to normal”, but following the “Fall 2021 COVID-19 Policy” (
  • The initial suspension of all university travel which was implemented in March 2020 has been updated:
    • Domestic (within-Canada) travel is no longer suspended, and such travel can return to our regular practices/processes (“back to normal”).
      (with a note that staff should check with their individual unit before planning domestic travel, in case some units may retain a needed approval process at this time)
    • International travel will remain suspended *but* with exemptions allowed by applying through the “Return to Research / Travel” process outlined on this webpage; so, stated another way: international travel may be allowed, but we still considering and reviewing each request for such travel on a case-by-case basis, utilizing the Return to Research / Travel
    • NOTE: in July 2021, the VPAR expanded the scope of the Return to Research committee and process to also include consideration of all requests for international travel by SMU faculty/staff/students/courses through until the end of calendar 2021 – whether it be for research activity, or otherwise (and note that we are currently receiving and reviewing applications for international travel that will be happening through the first semester of 2022)


If you are considering international travel for yourself, for students you are supervising, or for requesting international field courses in 2022, please contact the Return to Research committee with your plans for review and approval (email Research Office Assistant,, or Associate Vice-President, Research,  Note that participation in international conferences is not being approved through until the end of calendar 2021, requests for such conference travel starting in January 2022 are appropriate for submission.

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