Published 4/24/20 on UMD Right Now

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Laurie Locascio, vice president for research at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), was named chair of the University System of Maryland (USM) COVID-19 Research and Innovation Task Force.  Charged by USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman, the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership—the enhanced collaboration between UMCP and UMB—will facilitate the new USM Task Force to leverage and mobilize systemwide research and innovations and to engage policymakers, business leaders, and the entrepreneurial community in addressing the state’s COVID-19 pandemic. 

“There is no time more important for collaborative research,” Locascio said. “This pandemic demands that researchers pull together resources and our best thinking to tackle the challenges before us, and we feel the urgency of the task at hand. Together, researchers across the University System of Maryland will work to serve our state, our region, and our world.”

Four strategic activities will guide the task force: 1) mobilize resources for positive impact; 2) prepare the USM long-term to address future pandemics and other crises; 3) build awareness of the system’s research and development projects centered on COVID-19; and 4) foster R&D collaborations within and outside the system.

Projects are already underway at UMB, UMCP, and across the system that are advancing the discovery and development of COVID-19 solutions: medical interventions and protocols; virology and vaccine research; engineering solutions; and IT, informatics, and artificial intelligence projects that can inform and accelerate the state’s public health strategy.

Experts across the USM are also influencing Maryland’s policy response and guiding the region’s understanding of the disease and its impacts. The USM COVID Research & Innovation Task Force will engage with business and industry to exchange ideas and help the USM move its expertise to scale in meeting both the health and economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Innovation is what we do. But we can do it bigger, better, and stronger if we do it together,” Perman said. “That’s what Maryland’s people deserve, and that’s where our focus is. Therefore, we’re establishing this system-wide task force to steer this essential work—to make sure that the full power of the USM can be applied at this critical moment in time.

The task force will include Perman, UMB Interim President Bruce Jarrell, UMCP President-Designee Darryll Pines, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County Vice President for Research Karl Steiner, UMB School of Medicine Associate Dean of Research and Administration Terry Rogers, and USM Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing Timothy McDonough. Senior staffing for the task force will be provided by USM Vice Chancellor for Economic Development J. Thomas Sadowski.