The unintended consequences of the pandemic on non-pandemic research activities

James Walker*, Chris Brewer, Rita Fontinha, Washika Haak-Saheem, Stefano Benigni, Fabio Lamperti, Dalila Ribaudo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research about the Covid-19 pandemic has taken center stage in shaping the work of many scholars, inter alia highlighting the importance of research in addressing the grand challenges humanity faces. However, the pandemic has also ushered in increased administrative, teaching and out of work commitments for many researchers, leading to concerns that academics will become less willing to invest time in obtaining resources to undertake non-Covid-related projects. Using a large-scale survey of business, economics and management researchers, coupled with their publication histories and additional institutional data, we examine how far individuals experienced the focus on the pandemic as ‘crowding out’ interest in, and undermining their confidence in applying for grants for work not focused on the pandemic. We found 40% of the sample agree that the pandemic has impaired their confidence in applying for non-pandemic-related grants and ‘crowded out’ other projects. Researchers with current and prior grants, particularly those with the most experience of holding grants, scholars whose work ‘impacted’ beyond academia, and early career researchers, disproportionately considered themselves to be most affected. We also found that researchers’ perceptions differed based on institutional characteristics. We discuss the implications of these findings for grant providers and national research agencies as well as for individual academic researchers and the institutions in which they work.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104369
Number of pages12
JournalResearch policy
Issue number1
Early online date15 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2021, Elsevier B.V. This accepted manuscript version is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


  • Academic, Economic and societal impact, Multidisciplinary
  • Covid-19
  • Early career research
  • Grant funding


Dive into the research topics of 'The unintended consequences of the pandemic on non-pandemic research activities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this