The coronavirus pandemic has been the central force driving all aspects of life since March of this year. It has changed how we live, how we work, how we interact socially, and how we view the future. As the CEO of CURE, COVID-19 permeates everything thing that I do. From thinking about the safety of my team to the funding of our research grants to the planning of our annual benefit, I am constantly asking myself how do we continue to move forward, because although most aspects of our daily life have stopped amid COVID-19, epilepsy has not.
As the prevalence of coronavirus increased in the US and stay-at-home orders came into force, one of the first things that the CURE team did was reach out to the grantees that we have currently working on CURE-funded research grants. As the parent of a college-aged student, I knew all too well that most colleges and universities were closing their campuses and access to their facilities. We learned broadly that many research activities at academic institutions have been put on hold or shut down altogether. Fortunately, after speaking with our grantees, we were able to confirm all were able to get permission for access to their laboratories or were able to redirect their work to focus on data analysis so that they could continue their research activities. To-date, none of them have had to abandon their studies.
While this is fantastic news, it does not mean that the pandemic will not have an impact on our research portfolio. For the research underway, there will likely be delays in completion of the work. The delays may range from weeks to months. We are living in unprecedented times with no crystal ball to tell us what the next week, month or year will hold, so we will continue an open and frequent dialogue with our researchers and provide them support where we can.
The pandemic will also have implications upon our future research. We are moving ahead with our planned 2020 research grants. In March the CURE Board of Directors supported funding additional grants, and we continue forward with our current grant cycles focused on our Taking Flight at CURE Epilepsy grants that will be awarded mid-year. We plan on awarding an additional round of grants at the end of 2020. Epilepsy has not stopped, so our research must continue. However, once the grants are awarded, we will have to work with the researchers and their institutions to determine when they will be able to initiate their work and how COVID-19 restrictions will impact their timelines. And very soon, we will need to forecast how the economic environment is impacting our donation revenue so that we can determine the amount of research funding we can support in 2021.
There is still much uncertainty in the environment, but the CURE team is focusing on what we know. Epilepsy is unrelenting, and so are we. We will continue to accelerate research and drive knowledge forward by funding cutting-edge science that will lead us to a CURE. We are grateful for both your past and your future support of our research, especially in these challenging times.
Beth Lewin Dean