As we head into this fall season, for most people lockdowns, and gathering restrictions seem a distant memory. We’re more at ease with the knowledge of how to manage COVID-19 and the availability of vaccines specific to circulating variants. However, we cannot take for granted our current sense of ease—and we must not be quick to forget the lessons we learned from the pandemic.

One vital lesson is that our capacity to deal with emergencies includes having a strong, well-funded research infrastructure. COVID-19 showed us what long-term investment in research does for us, and how much we depend on university researchers to future-proof our country.

It’s not just the obvious areas of science that need funding to give us the resilience we need as a nation. We need investment across all disciplines.

The main take-away from the pandemic is that nobody can predict what knowledge will become critical to helping us navigate our next challenges. Nor can they claim to know exactly in which disciplines we should invest our tax dollars to guarantee a return on our investment.

Continue reading the (September 27, 2023) op-ed at Hill Times (subscription required)