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Research Sans Frontières: resources for doing research from home

Posted on: Apr 27, 2020



At CUE, we are aware of the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic may have had on your research activities. To assist you in maintaining your research productivity, we have expanded some existing resources and created some additional ones.

In addition, we would value your input on the potential for establishing additional resources, which may be rolled out later, as cost-benefit and need warrants.



NEW GRANT! – Special Call for Research Projects on COVID-19 (Faculty only)

We are pleased to announce a Special Call for Research Projects on COVID-19 (SCRP COVID-19). This call is for a grant specific to projects related to the pandemic. It is worth mentioning that, albeit internally CUE-funded, this is a separate stream of funding for which the annual limit of $5,000 in combined funding does not apply. However, faculty members may submit only one application for this competition. Detailed information on this new grant has been released via Inside CUE and email. Applications are due May 15th, 2020.


NEW GRANT! – Natural Sciences and Engineering (CUE-NSE)

The Office of Research Services is pleased to announce the launch of the NSE Grant pilot program. These awards are specific for projects in the areas of Natural Sciences and Engineering. CUE-NSE Grants are funded by CUE and, if successful, will become part of our Internal Research Grant program. Deadline is May 15th, 2020. Details related to this new grant have been released via Inside CUE and email.


Existing and upcoming Internal Research Grants

To assist faculty members who have seen their projects delayed by COVID-19, we offered six-month, no cost extensions to their existing grants in the Seed and SSHRC (SIG) Explore streams. While we have opted not to offer dissemination awards in the upcoming months, we will still hold competitions for the SSHRC (SIG) Explore and Seed streams, due April 30th and May 15th, respectively. Information on the upcoming competitions is being released via Inside CUE.


External Research Grants

We have been monitoring the updates from sponsors and contacting those holding external research grants from the Tri-Agency (SSHRC, NSERC) who may be eligible for extensions. The Tri-Agency has extended the deadlines for several competitions, while others remain unchanged. Some results from previous competitions may be delayed.

If you are interested in applying for an external grant, please contact the ORS as soon as possible to obtain relevant information. Submissions of applications for external funding are still allowed, the only difference being that the External Grant Institutional Signature Page requirement is now processed electronically.



Research Assistants

The COVID-19 pandemic affects not only faculty members, but also students and their research. We had to cancel the 2020 Research Forum and Student Poster Competition, which negatively impacts student research and CV development. However, the Undergraduate Research in Science Conference of Alberta (URSCA 2020), has been moved online and will be held on May 25th, 2020. For more information on this, please visit our Inside CUE posting.

While no on-campus research activities are possible at CUE, students can still be of invaluable support while working from home. Please consider the use of internal and external grant funds to employ research assistants; this remains an eligible expense, provided that student’s health and safety are protected. We continue to encourage faculty members to include research assistants in their application budgets.


Off-campus Library access

CUE faculty, staff and students can access CUE’s IT and online library resources off-campus. For resources requiring authentication, users log in using their CUE email and password. If you need specific access to a resource, or to obtain software or hardware for your research, please contact IT.

Many resources can be accessed via CUE’s library, including Scopus, Pubmed, Sage Journals, SpringerLink, Statistics Canada, UN Data, and Wiley Online.  Please visit the library’s website here. The Library has liaisons for each Faculty who can assist with your research, a list of which can be found here.

The library has prepared a variety of resources to assist researchers working off campus. Of particular interest are those related to accessing eBooks or interlibrary loans.  For information on how to access this resource, please watch this video tutorial on CUE eBooks. While the physical collections are currently unavailable and requests for such items cannot be filled at this time, interlibrary loans for electronic items, such as eBook chapters and journal articles, will continue as usual. Instructions on how to place an interlibrary loan request can be found in this video tutorial prepared by the library. For this, you will need your Library Barcode and PIN.

Additional insight and tips are available on the library’s blog, CUE Library Essentials, where you will find postings on a wide variety of topics, such as database searching. The library can also guide on how to correctly cite documents and on copyright matters.


CUE’s Scholarly Communications Librarian (SCL)

CUE’s SCL, Victoria Eke, is available to:

  • Advise members of the CUE community on scholarly communications topics, such as determining whether a journal or publisher is predatory in nature and providing information about reputable open access journals and publishers.
  • Provide virtual reference services for using the library’s collections and resources, developing search strategies, and creating formal citations.
  • Provide virtual research support and feedback for search strategies.
  • Prepare online materials covering various aspects of information literacy, such as finding resources using the library’s catalogue and developing a search strategy for database searching.

Victoria will be holding virtual office hours every Wednesday morning from 10 am until noon, starting on May 6th. Please click on the following meeting link to join: https://meet.google.com/xmy-cbdo-hoo?hs=122. For those interested in connecting but who are unavailable during the above-mentioned time, Victoria is also available for one-on-one consultations. Please email her directly at victoria.eke@concordia.ab.ca to arrange an appointment.


IT and software resources

CUE’s IT has several resources that can facilitate research and working from home, including a very helpful Helpdesk and knowledge base. There are also software options, some of which are free for CUE employees:

Jupyter. Jupyter is an integrative application that incorporates math, science and engineering tools, along with communication and visualization resources, in one web-based platform. It enables a broad suite of computing capabilities on any device that has an internet connection, for free. This platform has been developed by Cybera and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS).

Office 365. Faculty are entitled to download and use Office 365 for up to 4 additional devices, in addition to their CUE-assigned computer. To access/download Office 365, please go to portal.office.com. Login with your CUE email address and password. Faculty are entitled to use the software as long as they are employed at CUE.

Reference management software.  Free software, such as Mendeley and Zotero, can help you manage references, but there are also other options available for purchase, including EndNote and RefWorks. Our SCL can provide additional information for you.

Spartan. There are various interfaces for this chemistry software, which can be consulted using this link. You can consult information on Spartan here. To obtain a copy, please contact IT.

SPSS. Powerful statistical analysis software that includes various useful modules, including graphing options. To obtain a copy, please contact IT.

Secure file storage. For this, CUE uses Alfresco. We know some people find it complex, but IT is happy to provide support for users, and has developed a guide with additional information on how to use it here.


Webinar series. Research Sans Frontières: how to be a productive researcher while working from home

The Office of Research Services is seeking input from investigators on potential topics to develop the webinar series “Research Sans Frontières: how to be a productive researcher while working from home”. The ORS would like to develop audiovisual materials that can benefit faculty members while off-campus (e.g., how to supervise Research Assistants online). This resource will expand as new content is incorporated and updated.

A variety of resources are already available on the library’s YouTube channel. However, Victoria will be happy to provide assistance by developing additional materials related to research activities off-campus (e.g., how to develop comprehensive search strategies and effective searching tips through virtual instruction). She will work with the Office of Research Services to create additional online resources and provide instruction to groups, with expert advice and guidance.

Developing online teaching resources

For researchers interested in investigating online teaching, Daniel Braun has been recently recruited by CUE to assist faculty members in their online teaching strategies, and has agreed to provide support to such investigations. For additional information on Daniel, please consult the Inside CUE news release.

Office of Research Services and Research at Cue

The ORS continues to strengthen CUE’s research culture and provide support for existing and upcoming grant applications and much more. The ORS continues to release important information via Inside CUE on a regular basis. During this period of off-campus service, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at research@concordia.ab.ca.



Ramses Ilarraza, PhD

Asst. Vice-President Research