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Fast Funding for Covid-19 Science

Registration is closed
Funding details
Registration opens
07 Apr 2020, 00:00
Registration closes
15 Apr 2020, 00:00
15 Apr 2020, 00:00
$10k to $500k per project
Emergent Ventures

As of 16th April, this has temporarily closed to new applicants, but check their site for updates.

A new venture fund is offering grants of $10,000 to $500,000 to coronavirus researchers, and every grant decision will be made in less than 48 hours. The fund, Fast Grants, has raised $10 million from 10 backers including Paul Graham, Stripe cofounders John and Patrick Collison, and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman. Backers include Y-Combinator cofounder Paul Graham, billionaire entrepreneur brothers John and Patrick Collison, and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, among other entrepreneurs and VCs. The grants will be administered by George Mason University’s Emergent Ventures.”

Science funding mechanisms are too slow in normal times and may be much too slow during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fast Grants are an effort to correct this.

If you are a scientist at an academic institution currently working on a Covid-19 related project and in need of funding, we invite you to apply for a Fast Grant. Fast Grants are $10k to $500k and decisions are made in under 48 hours. If we approve the grant, you’ll receive payment as quickly as your university can receive it.

Who is eligible to apply for a Fast Grant?

You must be:

  • A PI at an academic institution;
  • Already working on a project that could help with the Covid-19 pandemic within the next six months;
  • In need of additional funding to complete the project.

Researchers outside the US are eligible for funding.

Why the six month constraint?

Most existing funding bodies focus on supporting longer-term work. Given Covid-19’s human costs, speed is of paramount importance.

Who will make grant decisions?

A panel of biomedical scientists will make funding recommendations to Emergent Ventures.

What can a Fast Grant be used for?

We require that a Fast Grant be used solely to expedite Covid-19-related science. Beyond that, the grant recipient has complete discretion over how it is spent.

What criteria will panelists use?

We’ll prefer projects that are cheap (so that our fund dollars go further) and that will yield results quickly (during Covid-19, days matter).

Does the grant go to the PI or to the university?

This is at the discretion of the applicant.

When can I apply?

Fast Grants open at 12:00 Pacific Time on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. We will wait until Sunday, April 12 before we award our first grants in order to give our reviewers time to calibrate. Subsequent decisions will be made within 48 hours.

What conditions apply?

You must use the grant to work on Covid-19-related science.
For six months, you must send us monthly updates, summarizing your progress. These updates can be as simple as a single-paragraph email.
You must upload all manuscripts reporting work supported by the grant to a preprint server such as bioRxiv or arXiv upon submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
In line with Gates Foundation policy, will pay at most 10% in overhead costs to the university.

How do IP rights work?

Apart from the open science publication requirement above, there are no IP restrictions associated with Fast Grants.

Who administers Fast Grants?

Fast Grants is a part of Emergent Ventures, a project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. For Canadian recipients, Fast Grants makes funding recommendations to the Thistledown Foundation.

Will the identities of grant recipients be made public?

This shall be at the recipient’s discretion. We will list those who agree to be named. We will also provide regular updates on the total dollars that have been allocated.

What inspired Fast Grants?

During World War II, the NDRC accomplished a lot of research very quickly. In his memoir, Vannevar Bush recounts: “Within a week NDRC could review the project. The next day the director could authorize, the business office could send out a letter of intent, and the actual work could start.” Fast Grants are an effort to unlock progress at a cadence similar to that which served us well then.

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