Press Release

May 21, 2020
Cardin, Van Hollen, Hoyer Announce Nearly $366,000 for COVID-19 Research at University of Maryland, College Park

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (all D-Md.) today announced three additional Rapid Research Response (RAPID) awards for the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) to conduct research related to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The funding was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Projects include:

  • $187,871 for a project to accelerate research into transmission patterns of the virus that causes COVID-19, informing efforts to improve contact tracing procedures as well as efforts to date the origins of outbreaks in regions where contact tracing is not effective. More information is available from NSF here.
  • $91,938 for research into the effects of reduced human activities on forests in North America as a result of the pandemic, informing projections of the environmental impacts of future emissions reductions. This project will be conducted using existing infrastructure and data provided by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center as well as the U.S. Forest Service. More information is available from NSF here.
  • $86,177 for the development of a knowledge resource to help entrepreneurs and manufacturers to assemble the supply chains and processes to produce new types of products as a result of the pandemic, in particular Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). More information is available from the NSF here.

“Addressing the short and long-term impacts of the COVID pandemic depends upon the contributions and collaboration of leading research institutions, including the University of Maryland,” said Senator Cardin. “In different ways, the results of these projects will help policy makers to better serve and protect the public health of the American people.” 

“To truly mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we need a scientific, evidence-based understanding of how the virus spreads and the most effect ways to fight it. This research is crucial to that understanding, safely reopening, and our preparedness for any future surge,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee. “We’re proud to see the University of Maryland leading these efforts, and we’ll continue fighting for the federal resources our state needs to address the pandemic.”

“Congress has passed numerous bills to provide funding for research of COVID-19 to help us better understand this disease,” said Congressman Hoyer. “It is appropriate that the University of Maryland, College Park, a premier research institution, will receive additional funding through the CARES Act to research different facets of this crisis, which will help inform how our nation responds in the months ahead.”

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 is allocating 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 will distribute this funding for research projects, including RAPID awards, at more than 2,000 research institutions across the United States. The RAPID funding mechanism allows NSF to receive and review proposals with a severe urgency with regard to availability of or access to data, facilities, or specialized equipment as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events.

The delegation previously announced RAPID awards for to support research on the replication process of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at Johns Hopkins University, social consequences of stay at home orders at UMD, the connections between mobility and health outcomes at UMD, and for the improvement of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.