Guidance to move the Research Ramp-up to Phase 3

October 13, 2020
Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research | Tyler E. Jacks, Chair of the Lightning Committee |

To the members of the MIT community,

We are pleased to announce that, as of October 14, 2020, MIT will transition to Phase 3 of the Research Ramp-Up (RR3) for laboratory-based research. Under RR3, the current cap on the aggregate number of hours laboratory personnel may work on campus will be lifted. Importantly, in this new phase, all of the other Covid-19–related guidelines for safety and other practices that were in place during Research Ramp-Up 2 (RR2) will remain in place. This includes the existing personnel density requirement of 125 sf/person as well as the physical distancing requirement of at least 6 feet separation in static work conditions. Therefore, many research groups on campus will have to employ work shifts to accommodate their interest in increasing hours worked while maintaining compliance with space-related regulations.

Please review the detailed guidelines for RR3 carefully. The guidelines also have new requirements for the Departmental Monitoring and Compliance committees (DMCs). DLC heads should review and discuss these new requirements with their DMC.

To reduce the risk of infection and spread of Covid-19, it is recommended that all activities of laboratory-based research groups that can be successfully performed remotely, including one-on-one and group meetings, should be conducted remotely. All non-laboratory research activities must continue to adhere to the Thunder Committee's guidelines for office use and human subjects research. Office space use for non-laboratory research must not exceed 50% occupancy and at least 6 feet separation in static work conditions.

Individuals must continue to submit health attestations via Covid Pass each day that they want to access campus, keep their SARS-CoV-2 testing up to date, practice frequent hand washing/hand sanitizing, and regularly sanitize work surfaces. Those accessing campus must also follow the Common Space Usage guidance, RR3 guidance regarding eating and group gatherings in laboratory spaces and buildings, and the Gatherings Policies maintained on the MIT Now site.

While the current on-campus and state conditions have allowed us to take this next step in the laboratory research ramp-up, we must all be aware of the possibility that research may have to be scaled back again with little notice. As such, PIs are strongly encouraged to continuously evaluate their activities with that in mind.

Questions about RR3 should be directed to


Maria T. Zuber
Vice President for Research

Tyler E. Jacks
Chair of the Lightning Committee