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Funds to Keep Lab Going

Federal funds are helping university labs weather pandemic-related closures, but more funds might be needed, Science reports.

University endowments and state funding levels have been battered by the economic ramifications of the pandemic, but Science notes that federal funding of research labs has carried on and may even increase as economic relief packages boost funding for COVID-19-related research. Additionally, even with closed-down labs, researchers have been able to draw salaries from their federal grants. "To be honest, the impact [of the pandemic] on my research hasn't been that significant," Case Western Reserve University's Dominique Durand tells Science. "There are things we haven't been able to do, for sure, but as long as you're still making progress on the grant, NIH says it's OK."

Still, Science notes that some university administrators and federal research officials are pushing for increased funding. In May, NIH Director Francis Collins testified that some $10 billion has been lost due to decreases in productivity and in April, a group called Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, said it was seeking $31 billion in emergency NIH funding and an overlapping group is calling for $46 billion in direct payments to university to cover funds lost to decreased tuition and other pandemic-related costs, it adds.