FAQ for Researchers

Status: 25 March 2020, 4.00pm

I can’t abort my measurements right away. What must I do to be allowed to continue working in the lab after UZH buildings close?

From Thursday, 26 March 2020, working in UZH buildings is no longer permitted. However, you can apply for special authorization for tasks/activities that cannot be delayed. The Office of the Vice President Research will issue permits for researchers to measure unique samples that were already created before 26 March or to process them in such a way that they can be stored without significant loss of quality. Please get in touch with Thomas Trüb on 044 63 41 31 or send an e-mail to exceptional@research.uzh.ch.

I am working on a research project that cannot be suspended or that is of crucial importance, especially in the current coronavirus crisis. What must I do to be able to continue my research?

From Thursday, 26 March 2020, working in UZH buildings is no longer permitted. You can request special authorization from the Vice President Research for exceptional research projects. Instructions on how to do so and the relevant application form are available on the the following Website: Criteria for Exceptional Research Projects

Applications must be submitted by e-mail to exceptional@research.uzh.ch.

What measures are in place for SNF projects?

In the current situation, the SNSF provides flexible solutions for grant holders and applicants. Information on the current measures can be found on the “Coronavirus: SNSF update” website, which is updated regularly:
Coronavirus: SNSF update

In addition, the SNSF has a general FAQ on Covid-19 which is continually being updated: FAQ SNF

Is there still support in the area of international research funding and where can I find information on the effects on Horizon 2020 projects?

EU GrantsAccess continues to support researchers in all aspects of international public research funding. Information on coronavirus and Horizon 2020 projects can be found on the EU GrantsAccess website:
EU Grants Access

I have submitted an application for UZH internal research funding (Forschungskredit Candoc/Postdoc, URPP). Will the applications be evaluated?

Yes, all applications will be evaluated as in normal operation and decisions will be communicated at the scheduled time.

I have to go abroad for a research project. Can I still go?

UZH members who are planning to go abroad for an internship or a research stay are recommended to cancel their arrangements for the time being. Approvals for exceptional research projects are possible and may be requested by following the procedure described on the website Criteria for Exceptional Research Projects.

I was invited to talk at an international symposium. Do I have to cancel?

Work-related travel abroad on behalf of UZH is no longer permitted. Travel permits in relation to work on exceptional research projects are possible and may be requested by following the procedure described on the website Criteria for Exceptional Research Projects. Exceptions for other cases of unavoidable work-related travel require the approval of the relevant dean or member of the Executive Board of the University.

Is it mandatory for everyone to work at home?

UZH has started to operate on a skeleton staff. This means that in principle, members of UZH must now work from home. Please consult with your line managers, who will decide which tasks must be maintained on-site as far as possible. Those who are required to work on UZH premises must follow the measures issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Canton of Zurich’s Department of Health (social distancing and further measures). There are separate guidelines for members of UZH who are at especially high risk: Protective Measures for People at Especially High Risk

I don’t have a laptop. Do I have to use my own computer when working from?

The Information Technology office will try to provide additional laptops. Nevertheless, not all employees can be equipped with a laptop. Please discuss this with your line manager. 

I have a job that can’t be done from home. Do I have to come to work?

In cases where the technological requirements for working from home are not yet in place, line managers and their employees should sort out how these requirements can be introduced.

What tools do I need if I have to work from home? How can I work with my colleagues?

The University of Zurich has made Microsoft Office 365, including the Microsoft Teams program, available to all its members. This tool enables you to connect with your team and hold video calls as well as share instant messages (chat function) and documents with others.

Office 365 - Installation instructions (in German)

Additional tools required for working from home will depend on the nature of your work. Please discuss this with your line managers.

Do I always need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to work from home?

Many tasks don’t require a VPN. For example, you can check your e-mails directly online on webmail.uzh.ch. By using your VPN only when you need it, you can help to prevent bottlenecks.

Regulation on the Use of IT resources with Access from Outside of UZH (PDF)

UZH VPN: How to guide (in German)

How can I best communicate with my colleagues, e.g. when there are problems with the connection?

Calling an internal phone number puts a strain on the phone lines, especially when calls forwarding is enabled. In the current situation, this can lead to disruptions. Therefore, whenever possible, please use other means of communicating, such as Microsoft Teams or the Sametime chat function (integrated in your inbox). If necessary, you can also use your mobile phone or landline.

Regulation on the Use of IT resources with Access from Outside of UZH (PDF)

I have school-age children and no childcare options. Will I have to take time off to look after them?

For the month of March, time needed for looking after children aged 16 or under will count as working hours. This means that employees can care for their children during their regular working hours.

For the next few months, employees are advised to organize their childcare duties so that these are split evenly among all parents in the family and to use communal and private childcare services.

Detailed provisions for parents working from home will be made available and communicated next week.


Are the university’s libraries staying open?

Since Tuesday, 17 March 2020, the university’s libraries are closed. The libraries provide UZH staff and students with the literature necessary for research or study as far as possible.

They offer:

  • A current, temporarily extended range of electronic resources Information on Use of E-Media
  • Access for lecturers to their library with a key or badge
  • Free delivery of books and copies to all members of the UZH

Corona Crisis – Services of the UZH Libraries

Will the cafeterias and cafés stay open?

All cafeterias other than Irchel Seerose are currently closed. The ZFV team on Irchel Campus wants to meet the catering needs of the organizational units/key staff who have to be on-site during skeleton operations as best they can. For questions, please get in touch with Daniel Greminger (Head of ZFV Operations Irchel, mensauzhirchel@zfv.ch) by e-mail or, if necessary, over the phone (044 635 40 71).

Please visit the website of ZFV for further details: Cafeterias and Cafes

I live with somebody who is in the high-risk group. What happens if I can’t work from home due to my role/tasks at the university?

Discuss the situation with your line manager. If you cannot find a solution together, please get in touch with the HR consultant responsible for your area.