COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants

The RIO COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants aim to catalyze and energize small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the risk associated with the coronavirus pandemic, including cascading impacts in communities. The primary focus of the grants is to fund research that informs near real-time decision making for professionals tasked with making operational response decisions. Awards range from $5,000 to $10,000, with grants lasting 12 months (no extensions permitted).


Funding was made available starting March 19, 2020 and continued until May 31, 2020.

Awards Granted 

Abdennour Abbas, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering
Rapid assay for RNA extraction and concentration for COVID-19 molecular diagnostics
CFANS scientists innovate to fight COVID-19: Abbas Research Lab (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences, May 27, 2020)

Abimbola Asojo, Tom Fisher, and Virajita Singh, College of Design
Service Redesign for health, safety and well-being in a Pandemic era: A partnership with Minnesota Counties
Reimagining How to Provide County Services in the Time of COVID (RIO, July 29, 2020)

Ryan Demmer, Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health
Asymptomatic COVID-19 surveillance and transmission among the healthcare workforce
UMN Study finds no Covid-19 among Twin Cities health care workers, cites effective precautions (WCCO TV, August 6, 2020)

Ryan Demmer, Jayne Fulkerson, School of Public Health, School of Nursing
Stress, attitudes and behaviors among healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic

Arthur Erdman, Bakken Medical Devices Center
Copper-Composite for Face Masks

Jiarong Hong, Mechanical Engineering/St Anthony Falls Laboratory
Investigate the potential of COVID-19 transmission through human breathing and speaking
U works to pinpoint how indoor spaces, ventilation affect COVID-19 hot spots (Star Tribune, July 6, 2020)

Alireza Khani, Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering
Mitigating public health risk through the optimization of transit service in response to the COVID-19 outbreak
Social distancing on mass transit (CSE, August 11, 2020)

Dan Knights, Computer Science, Biotechnology Institute
Evaluation of saliva-based COVID-19 testing

Shalini Kulasingam, Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health
Social contact patterns in the Greater Twin Cities to inform COVID19 mitigation strategies
Surveying social interactions during the pandemic (School of Public Health News, July 23, 2020) 

Erich Kummerfeld, Ju Sun, and Christopher Tignanelli, Institute for Health Informatics, Computer Science & Engineering, Medical School
COVID-19 artificial intelligence driven clinical decision support (Kummerfeld, Sun, Tignanelli). Rapid and accurate detection and severity trajectory prediction of COVID-19 from X-ray images (Sun).
M Health Fairview X-ray analysis helps find COVID (Star Tribune, October 2, 2020)

Rebekah Nagler, Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Perceptions of conflict, controversy, and politicization surrounding COVID-19: A population-based survey of U.S. adults

Ruby H.N. Nguyen, Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health
Optimal Procedures for Providing Effective Domestic and Sexual Violence Services in Minnesota During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As Minnesotans Stay Home, Risk of Domestic & Sexual Violence Grows (RIO, April, 22)