WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (all D-Md.) today announced $110,399 in federal funding to the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant program for research into the social consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this project will assess how state and local governments’ social distancing directives are affecting daily behavior and mental and physical wellbeing, looking specifically at sociodemographic characteristics.
“Individuals and families throughout Maryland have undergone massive upheaval to their daily lives in recent months. Understanding those changes, and how they vary for different demographic and socio-economic groups, is critical to being able to respond well.” said Senator Cardin. “Maryland’s leading research institutions continue to contribute importantly to our understanding of and ability to respond to this public health crisis.”
“We know from the data that communities of color have been especially hard hit by COVID-19. This project at the University of Maryland, College Park – and its emphasis on socioeconomic factors – will be instrumental in helping us better understand how this crisis has affected different communities and demographic groups, and will help us determine how we can best address the inequities,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee. “I’m glad to see Maryland take the lead on undertaking this important endeavor.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has impacted nearly every aspect of life, and this funding awarded to the University of Maryland, College Park will help us better understand how this pandemic is affecting the mental and physical well-being of Marylanders,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Given the racial and socioeconomic disparities that exist in health care and other policy areas, it is particularly important that this research funding will be used to examine sociodemographic characteristics. Understanding the different mental and physical aspects of this public health crisis will help federal, state, and local governments better respond to this unprecedented emergency.”
Last month, the lawmakers urged Governor Hogan to release complete COVID-19 demographic data on race and ethnicity, broken down by zip code. Full abstract and additional information on the award may be found through the NSF here.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized $75 million to NSF to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including to fund research grants and other necessary expenses. NSF will allocate funding to support research at molecular, cellular, physiological and ecological levels to better understand coronavirus genetics, modes of action, transmission, virulence and population dynamics. NSF supports research activities at more than 2,000 research institutions across the United States and is ready to mobilize the full force of the academic community including through Rapid Response Research (RAPID) proposals. The delegation previously announced the awards of RAPID Grants at UMD and at Johns Hopkins University.