Stanford University COVID-19
Crisis Response

Respond. Innovate. Scale. Empower.

Vision    |    Themes    |    Highlights


The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic poses a humanitarian crisis unprecedented in its scale of complexity, calling for coordination and collaboration between many fields of study. From addressing immediate medical shortages to ensuring an equitable recovery for all people, Stanford is bringing our considerable expertise across disciplines to bear on these urgent challenges. Through Stanford RISE, we will respond with solutions for our community that can be scaled to benefit the world, helping organizations respond to the complex medical, economic, policy and societal needs of this moment and far beyond.

The challenges before us are significant in both scale and complexity. Medical workers are in need of lifesaving new therapies and devices to help patients. Without jobs, people are in need of economic relief as well as food and other services. With the global economy struggling, governments and business leaders are trying to revitalize industries. And decision-makers are looking for reliable ways of tracking and stopping this pandemic, while anticipating new threats before they arise.

Stanford has a history of tackling challenging problems like these. Indeed, the university was founded on the principle of “exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” We have a culture of collaboration that draws researchers together around common problems, and a spirit of innovation that allows for fast translation of discoveries into proven solutions. Our medical researchers have created a robust pathway to new therapies, our engineers routinely turn ideas into breakthrough technologies, and our policy experts have worked with governments worldwide to benefit their citizens.

With Stanford RISE, we are building on our strengths to halt the COVID-19 pandemic and developing a model for how public and private institutions can rise to this historic challenge and others in the future.

News and announcements about Stanford University’s response to COVID-19, for faculty, staff, students and visitors.

A message from the president

At Stanford we seek to provide intellectual leadership at a moment when our world is in crisis, and when we are facing a great deal of uncertainty about our future and about the most effective courses of action. Researchers and scientists from around the world are working together to understand the virus, discover drugs that might prove effective against it, and develop solutions to mitigate its societal and economic effects. It is our goal to help foster this interdisciplinary scholarship within Stanford and across borders.


Marc Tessier-Lavigne
President, Stanford University


This response plan will unite research efforts around core priorities that address the current medical and humanitarian crisis brought by COVID-19. Our results in these areas will also serve as a foundation for responding to future global threats.

Meeting the challenges posed by COVID-19 requires ideas that cut across disciplines and demands collaboration both within Stanford and beyond our campus. With strength across disciplines and a history of turning ideas into innovations and policies, Stanford is well positioned to generate interdisciplinary solutions in these core areas. That might mean doctors working with engineers to develop new treatments or diagnostics, or policy experts working with business leaders and governments to ensure an equitable recovery.

Stanford RISE highlights our multi-disciplinary research across four key themes:

Rapid Discovery

Propelling fundamental and clinical research to discover targeted treatments and cures, nimbly

Human Resilience

Amplifying our individual and collective capacity to respond, adapt, and emerge stronger in the face of crisis

Inclusive Recovery

Striving for an economic recovery that is sustainable, equitable for, and inclusive of all

Post-Pandemic Cooperation

Influencing the new political and social issues that will define our future

Collaboration across Stanford

Education • Research • Translation

  • Art  •
  • Business  •
  • Earth  •
  • Education  •
  • Energy  •
  • Engineering  •
  • Environmental Sciences  •
  • Humanities  •
  • Law  •
  • Medicine  •
  • Natural Sciences  •
  • Policy  •
  • Social Sciences

Current Research Highlights

As soon as COVID-19 began spreading, Stanford researchers pivoted their focus to this crisis. Researchers quickly developed novel ways of testing for COVID-19, began testing drugs that might treat the disease and modeled the effects of social distancing. Other research efforts just getting underway will be generating insights for years to come.

A few research projects are highlighted below. Additional projects will be rotated through in the coming days. 

For Stanford Researchers: 
 View a list of COVID-19 research and projects using your SUNet login.

Human Resilience

In a podcast with Russ Altman, Meg Palmer, executive director of Bio Policy and Leadership Initiatives at Stanford, discusses the ways in which we can prepare for future pandemics, suggesting that lessons from COVID-19 could ultimately help the world become a more secure, peaceful and prosperous place.

Inclusive Recovery

Historically, pandemics and plagues have played a critical role in redistributing income and reducing inequality, according to research by Walter Scheidel, a professor of Classics and History. In this article, Scheidel addresses whether the COVID-19 pandemic could similarly spark social and economic transformations.

Post-Pandemic Cooperation

As society navigates how to emerge from sheltering in place,  Kathryn Moler, vice provost and dean of research at Stanford and collaborators from other leading institutions advocate for a gradual, stepwise approach to reopening academic research, guided by the recommendations of public health experts.

Post-Pandemic Cooperation

Experts at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence conference, including Stanford HAI associate director Rob Reich, a professor of political science in the School of Humanities and Sciences, discussed what the workforce and society at large face as a result of the pandemic, including topics such as vaccine development and contact tracing.

Rapid Discovery

An effort called the Innovative Medicines Accelerator, which arose as part of Stanford’s Long-Range Vision and is led by  Chaitan Khosla, Baker Family co-Director of Stanford ChEM-H, was originally intended to help researchers overcome obstacles in developing new therapeutic drugs. Now it has shifted goals, working to boost nascent COVID-19 projects as they get off the ground.

Rapid Discovery

Stanford biochemist Rhiju Das, PhD, is working to develop a a safe, widely available vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 through a new project called OpenVaccine. This effort is supported by a platform Das co-invented called Eterna, which harnesses the online gaming activity of people all over the world to design a more stable RNA molecule for use in vaccines.