Dear members of the McMaster Research Community,
It’s remarkable to think a month has passed since McMaster’s research enterprise—like those at universities across the country—was shuttered for all but essential research at the direction of government and public health agencies.
That’s a hard truth for so many of us. It’s what we do—create knowledge, drive change and mentor the next generation. We’re missing our labs, our fieldwork and our students. But every day behind us, is one step closer to getting back to where we all belong—at the forefront of innovation and discovery.
With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce the creation of the McMaster COVID-19 Research Fund, to which the University will contribute up to $2.5M, along with additional funding provided through the generosity of compassionate donors, to support a broad range of research that will aid society in dealing with pandemics in the immediate and longer term.
With a global war raging on COVID-19, many of you have already brought much-needed insights and expertise to the cause through your discoveries and creative partnerships. In an effort to do more, the first stream will fund research with immediate impacts. We welcome projects that broaden our understanding of the virus and how we best combat it; build our capacity for vaccine development, therapeutics and diagnostics; advance a cure or effective treatments; employ innovative technologies and AI solutions to enable the manufacturing of the requisite equipment; or identify practices to better address the needs of healthcare workers and patients.
And, we know that the collateral damage of COVID-19 on populations and economies will live well beyond a vaccine. That’s why the second stream is focused on initiatives that look at the post-COVID world—both locally and globally. We welcome projects examining a wide range of issues: global health policy in an era of entrenched nationalism; healthcare and climate change; the role of the media (social and otherwise) and fake news cycles; how epidemics shape history, consciousness and the arts; deepening global inequality and epidemics; race and epidemics; populism and the war on science; better city planning in light of urbanization and densification; the psychological fallout of pandemics on vulnerable populations; or the economics of funding a post-COVID world.
I am also pleased to tell you that our focus is now on our future and our gradual and safe return to research—both in the field and in our labs, in accordance with government and public health policies. We’ve engaged a number of our researchers to assist with our planning, and I am grateful for their advice to get us back on track. I will share our plans over the next few weeks as they continue to unfold but, in the meantime, please continue to visit our website for updates and funding opportunities.
As the backbone of Canada’s most research-intensive university, individually and collectively, we have much to contribute to the provincial, national and global dialogue on all things research. I know everyone is anxious to get back to doing just that, and I so appreciate your patience to our measured approach to a full re-engagement strategy. Your commitment to McMaster and its research enterprise is evident in the generosity, creativity and thoughtfulness you’ve all demonstrated throughout these trying times. I am so proud to have you as colleagues, and please know that the health and safety of our research community is my number one priority.