Impact of COVID-19 on Scientific Societies, Research Questions

March 12, 2020

Concerns for the health of society members, residents of host cities, and the general public, have led many scientific societies to either cancel, postpone, or transition their annual meetings to virtual events.

With the rapid spread of the virus and emerging information, the American Physics Society was one of the first scientific societies to cancel their annual meeting of 11,000 attendees, originally scheduled for March 2 – 6. Several FABBS societies have also been forced to make difficult decisions in recent days, American Psychosomatic Society cancelled their meeting while the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and American Educational Research Association announced shifting from place-based meetings to virtual gatherings. As societies scramble to preserve what they can of conference content, they are also working to minimize financial loss to all parties involved. FABBS, along with groups like the American Society of Association Executives, will be engaged on the issue of the damage sustained by scientific societies when developing federal aid packages or supplemental COVID-19 funding.  FABBS has also been engaged with federal agencies to better understand any implications related to conditions of federal grants.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a Dear Colleague Letter on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which invites submission of proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical-care research that can be used immediately to explore how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19, to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and prevention, and to encourage the development of processes and actions to address this global challenge. (See FAQs for Proposers and Awardees.)

NSF has played a critical role supporting timely basic behavioral and biological research on infectious diseases during past epidemics. FABBS disciplines have been central to understanding how people respond to and perceive uncertainty and how human behavior contributes to either the spread or curtailment of disease transmission.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Proposal Submission and Award Management Related to COVID-19. The notice addresses general questions associated with proposal submission and award management that may arise in relation to COVID-19.