April 17, 2020 - IU Research Impact: COVID-19 update

A message from Vice President for Research Fred Cate:

Dear Friends,

Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s executive orders have recognized that university research is “essential” to our state and to our fight against COVID-19. I am delighted to report that at IU, research that can be conducted consistent with CDC health guidelines is continuing and, in many areas, actually increasing. In fact, during the month of March, IU faculty, staff, and students submitted more research proposals for federal and other external funding than in any previous month in the past decade.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the creativity and commitment of IU researchers to fight COVID-19 and help us all better understand its impact on public and individual health and well-being, our communities, the economy, education, transportation, supply chains, and our social interactions, among many other areas.

To help support some of this imaginative work and help position it for future external support or fill critical gaps where such support may not be available, my office has partnered with schools and campuses to provide modest support to a dozen new research initiatives. As described in greater detail below, these range from efforts evaluating distance education in K-12 and university settings to understanding the impact of increased self-isolation on older adults and other vulnerable populations, and from assessing the impact of executive orders on the spread of coronavirus to fostering entrepreneurial responses to meet the needs of hospitals and first responders. We continue to evaluate proposals and will continue to provide limited but strategic support for important research related to COVID-19 (and you are welcome to submit ideas to vpr@iu.edu).

Our research infrastructure continues largely intact, labs animals are being cared for, equipment is being maintained, and our IACUCs and IRBs that oversee research involving animal and human subjects not only continue to operate, but are providing faster-than-ever service to support innovative research proposals. Our government relations, foundation relations, and business partnerships teams in VPR are hard at work connecting researchers with new and expanding funding opportunities. Grants are being processed and compliance is continuing—even though this work at present is being done remotely.

I couldn’t be more proud of—or more grateful to—my colleagues in VPR and throughout the university who have continued to support research, even while dealing with the challenges of a pandemic, remote work, childcare, and financial uncertainty.

I would also be remiss if I did not thank our many external partners in federal and state government, industry, and foundations who have not only directed unprecedented support to research over the past month, but also provided us with remarkable flexibility in response to COVID-19.

Most of all, however, I want to thank IU’s extraordinary researchers for your creativity and tenacity to not merely carry on in difficult conditions, but to blaze new trails to help us all understand and respond to COVID-19, to help us cope, to inform policymakers and the public, and to prove in hundreds of other ways, many of which may have nothing to do with coronavirus, how essential the work is that you do every day. Indeed, never has research been more critical to our state and our nation and never have we had more reason to be proud of the thousands of IU researchers and the cadre of people here and elsewhere who support them.



Fred H. Cate
Vice President for Research

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