WMU Launches COVID-19 Grant Program

Apr 16, 2020

3D printers at WMU make face shields for healthcare workers
Credit Mark Bugnaski / Western MIchigan University

Western Michigan University is offering grants to help faculty members and others fight COVID-19.


Terri Goss Kinsey is the university's vice-president for research and innovation. She says the money will support projects that go beyond the areas that are getting the most attention right now.

"We're talking about clinical trials and drugs (but) it's important to know that there's a lot of other areas in the social sciences, the humanities, physical therapy, and engineering where we can contribute a lot. And that's what we're trying to do with these grants."

Kinsey says there's $50,000 available for the grants. Three projects have already been greenlighted. Kinsey says one is looking at how religious groups have responded to the crisis across the nation.

"And (it will) set up a national database of what that response has looked like so scholars can understand what was successful in terms of leveraging not just state, local, and federal governments, but our community groups as well."

Kinsey says another approved proposal focuses on the lingering effects of coronavirus infections.

"There's evidence that there could be long-term damage, and the equipment to do that assessment is very expensive. So, our Physical Therapy Department, one of the faculty members, wants to make a technology that's easier in rural (and) underserved areas."

All but essential services at WMU are still shut down because of the pandemic. But Kinsey says the grants will support projects that can be done remotely, at least initially, and those that can begin right away.

"Most of these projects are supporting students, graduate students particularly, to work on them, which is a very important thing at this time when there's so much challenge."

Grant applications by qualified WMU faculty, administrators, and staff are due by May 4. Kinsey says 20 proposals have been received so far.