Wanted: New ideas to address the new pandemic

William Shakespeare wrote King Lear (and possibly Macbeth) when London’s Globe theater was forced to shut down. Isaac Newton discovered calculus after he fled London during the Great Plague. These are just two of the memes floating through our digital world as individuals settle into their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These anecdotes provide solace, but they also offer truth. Ingenuity thrives at times of adversity. We have witnessed that fact over and over during the last several weeks as professors look for novel ways to reach their students, as small business owners try to keep their doors open virtually, and as American industry works to meet expanding health care needs.

George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, which receives support from the Charles Koch Foundation, is working to foster discovery during this extraordinary time. To start, the Mercatus Center has launched a special COVID-19 policy brief series that offers innovative and action-oriented responses to the pandemic and options for recovery. Click here to browse the published briefs. Proposals related to this series can be submitted here

The Mercatus Center’s Emergent Ventures, which supports entrepreneurs and thinkers trying to meaningfully improve society, is awarding more than $1 million in prize money for cutting-edge work on COVID-19. Prizes are in areas such as:

  • $500,000 and $200,000 prizes for the best efforts to find a good treatment rapidly
  • $100,000 for best innovation in social distancing
  • $100,000 for most important innovation or improvement for India
  • $100,000 for the best blog or social media tracking/analysis of the virus
  • $50,000 for the best investigative journalism on coronavirus
  • $50,000 for best coronavirus policy writing

There is no application for these prizes; Emergent Ventures will award them when a significant success is spotted. (Click here to see the first cohort of winners.) Tyler Cowen, faculty director at Mercatus, explained, “When it comes to fighting COVID-19, we don’t know where the critical advancements and breakthroughs are going to come from. These prizes are a way to incentivize innovation.”

The Mercatus Center also invites individuals to apply for grant funding for COVID-19 projects through the Emergent Ventures portal. Mercatus has said COVID-related applications will be fast-tracked until the pandemic has abated.

Finally, Mercatus has pre-released its long-planned 2020 edition of the Healthcare Openness and Access Project (HOAP). This resource offers ideas to policymakers for how to improve healthcare delivery and access as COVID-19 sweeps the country. Click here for more information.

If you, your company, or foundation want to support these efforts, please contact Mercatus Center directly.

05-19-2020 02:09pm

Minerva Schools: continuing to serve university students during COVID-19

Because COVID-19 has forced many leading colleges and universities to delay, defer, or cancel their enrollment for thousands of students, upcoming on-campus plans have never been more uncertain. To address this need, Minvera has launched its Visiting Scholars Year—a remote, credit-bearing opportunity for university students.

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05-15-2020 10:00am

WMU Center for Principled Leadership and Business Strategy encourages students to “lean into” COVID crisis

Instead of abandoning the coursework for the year and simply resorting to teaching business strategy online, Lepisto and McIver leaned into the crisis. They decided they would not shield their students from it and instead would use it to expose them to the realities of being an entrepreneur, including the uncertainty and hardship, while trying to help local businesses as they struggled to survive.

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05-14-2020 10:00am

TEL offers free resources and affordable courses to keep students on track

With COVID-19 keeping students out of residence and lecture halls, TEL quickly pivoted, launching another program, Learn Together!, which provides free learning resources to high school and college instructors, students, and families during COVID-19.

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