In April 2019, the National Science Foundation (NSF) invited researchers to submit "proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical-care research that can be used immediately to explore how to model and understand the spread of Covid-19, to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and prevention, and to encourage the development of processes and actions to address this global challenge." In addition to existing funding opportunities for this research, NSF also encouraged the use of the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism, "which allows NSF to receive and review proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events."
To date, two Media Lab projects have received RAPID grants for work related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ramesh Raskar was awarded $100,000 for SafePaths: A privacy-first contact tracing solution for early interventions of Covid-19 spread during the first wave and to minimize the second wave of the epidemic.
Fadel Adib, Joseph Paradiso, and Kevin Esvelt were awarded $100,000 for Wireless Positioning for Mitigating Covid-19 Surface Transmissions.