Cornell Atkinson calls for COVID-19 rapid-response proposals

The Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability is calling for proposals for faculty research related to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The center’s Rapid Response Fund will award seed grants of $5,000 to $10,000 for projects.

“Cornell has broad and deep expertise relevant to the urgent questions of the day,” said David Lodge, the Francis J. DiSalvo Director of Cornell Atkinson. “Faculty need resources to gather their ideas, get their colleagues across disciplines assembled, and create a more specific shape to the research.

“Faculty need to be ready for the inevitable calls for larger federal and international funding opportunities to examine very important problems,” he said.

Cornell Atkinson will hold an hourlong, online informational meeting on the fund April 13 at 1 p.m.; to obtain access to the meeting, go to the Rapid Response Fund page.

For this special call for proposals, the center is collaborating with Cornell’s Master of Public Health Program, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, and Cornell Research Service’s SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Rapid Response Research initiative.

Proposals are welcome from any field of study, but Lodge is encouraging researchers in the social sciences to apply for these grants.

“While ongoing research in natural science and engineering is essential, research proposals from social scientists, including economists, is vitally important,” he said. “Policymakers urgently need a greater understanding about forthcoming civic issues, planning concerns, brand new legal issues, the effectiveness of social distance practices, supply-chain matters and ways to restart and help the economy.”

Lodge said this special call for Rapid Response Fund proposals fits well with the Cornell Atkinson’s One Health initiative, one of its four primary research priorities. One Health is a concept, he said, that recognizes the inextricable connections between humans, ecosystems and animal health – both wild and agricultural animals.

“We as a faculty need to get into a position to foster research that will help inform and motivate the prevention of this kind of pandemic or global problem from happening in the future,” Lodge said. “Cornell faculty have the opportunity to start organizing and researching right now to answer society’s urgent questions and policymakers’ longer-term problems.

“With rapid-response funding,” he said, ”Cornell faculty can be in a position to write competitive proposals for when the national and international funding agencies release their own calls for proposals.”

Project duration is expected to be short, up to one year, and must be executed with personnel and resources already at Cornell. Proposals are being accepted through June 30, 2020.

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Rebecca Valli