I want to thank you again for your patience and perseverance as we continue to manage a major disruption to our personal and professional lives. Your response to this unprecedented challenge has been inspiring. You have adjusted to online instruction here at Clemson, while in some cases homeschooling your children, too. You are juggling work-from-home schedules with your families. I have seen PhD students defend their dissertations on Zoom calls. I have seen our faculty members race to the call for research support from our health care partners. You have quickly ramped down your research projects to help protect the health of our Clemson family.
You have done all of these things while faced with the uncertainty and stress of a global pandemic. The Clemson COVID-19 Updates page includes a list of resources available for support. Your health and wellbeing is the top priority.
I thank you for all you have already done and appreciate your patience and support as we continue to work through this.
This is not over, and we will continue to work under modified operating conditions until further notice, with only essential research activity performed on site. A couple reminders on essential research:
- Approval for new “essential research” and changes to existing projects, including personnel changes and facility access schedules, should be submitted to your Associate Dean for Research. The University will review requests on the second and fourth Friday of each month.
- Consult the Guidance for Essential Research Activities During Modified Operations for additional information.
- Visit our COVID-19 Research Resources page regularly for updates.
We are monitoring funding agency responses to this pandemic and have compiled a list of frequently asked questions at our COVID-19 Research Resources webpage that may answer some of your questions about research funding and operations. Please review and if you have additional questions not listed there, email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can find answers to share with the entire Clemson research community.
I have been communicating regularly with vice presidents of research at regional universities, Atlantic Coast Conference universities and with others around the country to compare continuity plans and learn from their planning and experiences. We have been monitoring COVID-19 responses at major universities across the country. Clemson is not alone. This is an unprecedented challenge to the global academic community.
I encourage you to continue to push research forward however possible: reading literature; analyzing data; writing and/or revising publications, including student theses and dissertations; preparing new ideas and developing new proposals. New opportunities may be on the horizon, so we must prepare.
With the United States reeling from recession in 2009, Congress invested heavily in an economic turnaround through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That stimulus package amounted to a one-time increase to research spending of 25 percent, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Could a similar opportunity come in COVID-19’s wake? Very likely in my opinion.
Economic concerns have already pushed Congress to pass the CARES Act, which provides billions in taxpayer payments, cash-flow assistance to small businesses, loans to large corporations and other stimulus aid.
The act provides federal research agencies with additional funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
Additional federal research funding includes:
- $75 million for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for RAPID grant awards;
- $945 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for COVID-19 research;
- $99 million to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science to support the national laboratory system’s work on COVID-19; and
- $60 million to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with $50 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership to support manufacturing research and $10 million for Manufacturing USA to spend on pharmaceutical and biotech research.
The Office of Research Development has compiled an online list of COVID-19 Funding Opportunities available. Check this site regularly because we are updating it daily.
Additionally, we have worked with the School of Health Research to identify Clemson faculty members interested in collaborating on COVID-19 research. Be sure to add your information to the page.
This pandemic will challenge higher education operations. We are hopeful that the CARES Act and potentially future stimulus packages will provide support for higher education. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and universities across the country have banded together.
In the meantime, prepare yourself for new opportunities. Think creatively. Consider how you could shift your research to support this pandemic in some way. Find collaborators. Keep moving forward.
I empathize with what you and all of our Clemson faculty, students and staff members are facing. I continue to conduct research under the modified operational conditions. I am working with graduate students and postdocs, writing proposals and manuscripts, and searching for answers as research stalls. Like all of us, I want to see this situation resolve quickly. These unprecedented circumstances will test our ingenuity and resolve, but I believe we can tackle this challenge through empathy, cooperation and support of one another.