COVID-19 Impact on Biomedical Research Funding Organizations

COVID-19 Impact on Biomedical Research Funding Organizations

A Survey of the Health Research Alliance Membership

The COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to create a disruptive and measurable imprint on nonprofit organizations. In addition to disrupting the health and safety of the workforce, the pandemic challenges the fundamental ways nonprofits are meeting their organizational missions.

The Health Research Alliance (HRA) is a collaborative membership of over 100 nonprofit biomedical research funding organizations. We are committed to maximizing the impact of biomedical research to improve human health and we work collaboratively to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.

We work via information sharing and collaboration on common directives in the field – e.g., effective ways to support early career scientists; how to accelerate open science; how to support diversity, inclusion, and equity in the research workforce; etc. After hearing similar anecdotes from member organizations about the impact of the pandemic on fundraising events, research programs, etc., we decided to conduct a survey of our membership to understand the pandemic’s broader organizational impacts. We were particularly interested in the pandemic’s impact on organizational revenues (e.g., revenue diversification, fundraising/endowment performance), operations (e.g., staff changes, restructuring, impact of remote work other bottom-line adaptations), research grant awards (e.g., number of awards, extensions, diversity of awards), and programming (e.g., conversion to virtual, cancelling).

In the report linked below, you will read about these impacts. While we suspected the trends that this survey quantified, some results were surprising. At HRA, we have started to use this report to help facilitate complicated conversations within our CEO Roundtable and collaborative working groups. We believe that HRA is a microcosm of the broader nonprofit sector and hope this report and its strategic insights are helpful to you as you reflect on your own organizational changes and as you plan for the future.

We are grateful to our evaluation partners, Jenna White and Megan McDermott for helping us identify the most salient impacts among our membership.

Maryrose Franko, PhD
Executive Director, HRA

Report Analyzing HRA’s COVID-19 Impact Survey