America’s leading research universities are at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. They are developing and administering new diagnostic tests, researching potential treatments and vaccines, and developing new, affordable, and easily mass-produced ventilators and personal protective equipment. These are only a few of the ways research universities are using their expertise to confront this national and global health crisis. Research universities are doing this at same time they are grappling with the greatest disruption to their operations and attendant financial crisis that they have ever faced.
AAU universities have rapidly adopted public health safety measures, closed classrooms and non-essential facilities, shifted to online instruction, and maintained essential research. The financial impacts are still unknown as the crisis and limited operations continue, but the costs of disruption are extraordinarily high and growing while at the same time the loss of revenues will be very significant. Sustaining our nation’s research universities and their undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, faculty, staff, and research personnel is vital during this time of crisis and fundamental to the strength of the longstanding government-university partnership that has been essential to ensuring our public health, national security, and economic growth and competitiveness for decades.