Science policy needs related to COVID-19 coming into focus

The research community’s policy-related needs and concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to take shape. The ASCB Public Policy staff is collecting a list of those issues and is already beginning to work on them. These issues include:

  • How will additional funds provided to science agencies in COVID-19-related stimulus legislation be used?
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) should provide support for lab assistants while labs are shut down. ASCB has already written a letter to NIH Director Francis Collins expressing the need to support these important employees. (The NIH has said that fellows and trainees will continue to receive stipend payments while labs are closed.)
  • International trainees who are here in the United States but unable to conduct their research may face problems with expiring visas.
  • Institutions should extend tenure clocks to make up for lost time arising from lab closures.
  • Institution hiring freezes are leaving many young investigators without jobs.
  • There will be a need to provide labs with supplemental funding to reopen.
  • Specific materials and equipment funding
    will be needed.

If you have concerns related to research policy, please contact Kevin Wilson (

See the article on p. 25 for information about how NIH and the National Science Foundation are supporting their communities.

For updates, follow the ASCB twitter feed @ASCBiology.

About the Author:

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: