According to Science Business, universities and research institutes around Europe are shutting down many projects and experiments in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, limiting activities to the bare essentials. One exception is research related to understanding and fighting the new coronavirus.
The article, published on March 26th, reports on how researchers in Poland, Germany, the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands are paring down activities, in many cases maintaining only essential operations like the care of laboratory animals.
For Switzerland’s part, the article quotes ETH Zurich president Joel Mesot as saying that controlling the spread of the virus “must come before anything else”. All activities requiring a physical presence on the campus are being stopped, except for those focused on coronavirus research. “We will not be making any cutbacks in the research projects focused on coronavirus. On the contrary, we are currently pooling the university’s entire expertise,” Mesot said.
Unless related to developing a treatment for COVID-19, clinical trials have also been put on hold across Europe to protect both scientists and participants. Large research facilities such as synchrotrons have also reduced their on-site activities to a minimum, with researchers working from home as much as possible.
On the brighter side, the conversion of a large Finnish neuroscience conference to an online format was seen in a positive light: organizers pointed out that the virtual format helped reduce carbon footprints, and made it easier for more attendees to participate.
Read the full article: Research on ice across Europe, as all resources are focussed on COVID-19