Research Ramp-up

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The past few months, we’ve taken painful but necessary precautions to reduce research activity on campus in order to “flatten the curve” and keep our hospitals from exceeding their capacity. We are now in a position to begin ramping research activities back up, but to preserve everyone’s safety while we do so, we will have to adjust how we operate. Labs will come up with plans for shift work to minimize density of people, and the GSC will work to make sure grad students aren’t placed in situations that feel unsafe. Here is some relevant information:


Research Ramp-up Phase II

MIT is now moving into Research Ramp-up Phase II in accordance with the announcement here. This is associated with an increase in allowed lab hours and density, subject to close adherence to public health procedures. Individual DLC’s (Departments, Labs and Centers) can enter Phase II after, among other things, setting up a DLC Monitoring and Compliance Committee (DMC) to ensure adherence to guidelines.

The guidance for Phase II is collected here under Kerberos authentication. This includes the instructions all labs must follow in order to ramp up.

Additional pertinent information:

While participation is still voluntary, the GSC is closely monitoring the process and negotiations around the potential impending change to return-if-needed. We aim to ensure those with health reasons, or visa reasons, can continue working remotely are able to. Please contact if you have questions, concerns, or issues you wish brought before the MIT administration.


Staying safe during the Research Ramp-up

During Phase I of the research ramp-up, returning to lab has been optional at all times. Grad students reported whether we wanted to return to lab to a form on Atlas rather than directly to our PIs; PIs were tasked with developing schedules to keep room occupancy under the limit for each room, and total in-person lab hours under the 25% threshold.

Meanwhile, the Thunder Committee, whose membership and charge are found here, are meeting frequently to develop guidelines for library and museum reopening, outline processes for field work and ethnographic research, and generally decide on matters relevant to research in SHASS, SA+P and Sloan.

That said, if your PI has asked you to return directly and you are unable or uncomfortable with answering to them directly, you should contact:

  • MIT Anonymous Hotline (
  • Your department head or lab director
  • Your school’s dean
  • Maria Zuber, VP of Research (

Further, see: Research ramp-up process overview slides

MIT Hotline details:

The MIT Hotline is an anonymous reporting option for whistleblower or other complaints about wrongdoing and violations of Institute policy. The reporting system is hosted and maintained by an outside  vendor called Ethicspoint.

Anyone may use the hotline to report a concern about suspected wrongdoing in the MIT community.  The complaint can be raised electronically or by phone directly to Ethicspoint.  Ethicspoint collects reports and then transfers them to a small group of MIT representatives from Risk Management & Compliance Services, the Audit Division, and the Office of the General Counsel. Important things to note are:

  • Non-retaliation policy applies to all complaints: Any action perceived as retaliatory – i.e., a PI penalizing a student who reported inappropriate behavior in good faith – can be reported and will result in significant consequences if there is a finding the PI violated this policy. In addition, a student can work with the department if she needs alternative funding or transition to a new lab. The first report may not solve the problem: Because this reporting option does not require the complaint filer to be identified, investigations of initial reports are limited and any response may be indirect, such as behavior training for a lab, residence hall or department. With that in mind, if the problematic behavior that led to a complaint persists, it is important to submit another report with more specific information and bring up that the problematic behavior has continued. This will allow for further action.
  • Non-Anonymous complaints may yield better results: MIT may be limited in responding to anonymous reports based on the amount information provided. For example, if only a department is named in a complaint regarding diversity, then the entire department may go through some kind of training. There are many other ways to report issues around the Institute. In many cases, MIT is better able to respond to complaints that are not anonymous. Other options in raising complaints may provide for stronger protection against retaliation. Grad students can file formal complaints with the Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office or Human Resources or through other channels. See (link to