UC launches grant program to boost urgent research on COVID-19

To accelerate the urgently needed breakthroughs in the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of California will provide $ 2 million in seed funding to state scientists to help them jump-start their high-impact research projects.

Scholarships of up to $ 25,000 are available immediately, said Theresa Maldonado, Ph.D., vice president of UC’s system-wide research and innovation division. The goal is to help researchers start work as soon as possible, knowing that larger federal grants may take longer to distribute.

The awards are funded by three statewide research grant programs administered by UC that focus on breast cancer, tobacco-related illnesses and HIV / AIDS.

“Since people with breast cancer, HIV and tobacco-related illnesses are also among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, it made sense to urgently start directing some of these funds from research towards this global pandemic, ”said Maldonado. “Our goal is to begin work in areas that can have a big impact in a short period of time and to help California communities that need it most.”

Research proposals will be evaluated as they are received, with priority going to those that meet three criteria: a high potential for the pandemic’s impact in the short term; the ability of researchers to start work immediately; and a line of research that will help the most vulnerable populations in California.

Maldonado and other UC leaders have also spearheaded an effort to facilitate greater collaboration on COVID-19 research between scientists and researchers from five medical centers, three national laboratories and 10 UC campuses.

A rapid-response survey of UC researchers gathered around 300 researchers whose work can help inform the medical and public health response to the pandemic in areas considered by the World Health Organization to be of concern. highest priority.

“The negative impact on health and the economy of the pandemic, as it is occurring in California, cannot be overstated,” said Maldonado. “But the University of California has extensive expertise in critical areas that can help respond quickly to this unprecedented health crisis.”

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