New COVID-19 Research and Innovation Fund engages community in Vanderbilt’s fight against coronavirus

Vanderbilt University has established a new COVID-19 Research and Innovation Fund. The fund enables donations to support research and innovation projects to fight COVID-19.

“Since the beginning of this global crisis, Vanderbilt University has been called upon to use our research capabilities to address urgent needs due to the impacts of COVID-19,” said Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente. “In response to the many requests from our community on how these efforts can be propelled by additional financial support, we are establishing the COVID-19 Research and Innovation Fund. This fund will enable the work of our faculty, staff and students who are either fighting this pandemic directly or helping our community adjust to the many new realties we face. Together, we can conquer COVID-19.”

The School of Engineering is involved in more than 20 COVID-related projects, including some of the above. Six researchers presented their ongoing work recently to the school’s Board of Visitors during a special online briefing. The projects ranged from fabricating ventilators, masks, and face shields to international collaborations that investigate the molecular structure of the novel coronavirus and use mosquitoes as early warning systems of potential pandemics. You can watch the impressive below:

Donations to the new fund will support COVID-19 researchers and innovators from across the university, including cross-disciplinary collaborations that address the medical, societal and interpersonal effects of the pandemic. Many projects are already ongoing and exemplify the diversity of disciplines and outcomes the new fund is designed to support, including:

  • Vaccine formulation to enhance resistance to COVID-19
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) to safeguard health care workers on the front lines
  • Expert guidance for individuals and families ranging from managing stress, eating healthy and educating children at home while social distancing
  • “Smart” face masks to better identify and track COVID-19 infections
  • Virtual self-screening tools to help individuals assess their symptoms and seek appropriate health care
  • Geospatial solutions to track the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate future outbreaks

The COVID-19 Research and Innovation Fund pointedly emphasizes both research and innovation as distinct but interrelated goals, encapsulating both the long voyages of discovery guided by deep scientific expertise and the sudden leaps forward that meet an immediate need in a new way. This dual approach addressing both the present and future simultaneously is built around the vision and mission of the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center, where researchers and innovators from across all disciplines connect to break barriers to creativity.

“With a gift of any size to the COVID-19 Research and Innovation Fund, you inspire Vanderbilt researchers and innovators to keep fighting COVID-19,” said Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan. “Your trust in us strengthens our resolve.”

To learn more and to make a gift, visit