Touchdown the Cornell mascot sits under a tree socially distanced from a female student, wearing a mask

REFRESH Initiative to Support Research Success

The REFRESH (Re-energizing Faculty Research Engagement and Success) program, launched by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI) and the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD), has partnered with COE, CHE, CALS, CIS, CAS, ILR, CVM, and CCB to provide support for faculty whose research activities have been adversely affected or curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis continues to impact the Cornell research community in many ways, including an impact on research productivity. As reported by media outlets, by the NIH, and in scientific journals, the impact is more acute for some sectors of the research community than others.

The broad goal of REFRESH is to provide resources to help

  • facilitate a return to faculty research activities 
  • promote the long-term success of our research faculty
  • ensure that those researchers who have been most severely disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic receive the support they need to resume research activities.

To help achieve these goals, REFRESH focuses on supporting external grant funding activities. We will do this in several ways by

  • identifying the unique and changing needs of each researcher through a “Needs Survey”
  • funding grant writing support for eligible individuals
  • developing mentoring networks and improving interactions across different colleges
  • providing resources for dependent care support
  • responding to ongoing needs as they arise.

Submit an Application

The REFRESH application process helps us identify the needs of individual faculty as well as highlight common issues experienced by specific groups of faculty. Additionally, the process helps us connect individual researchers to the appropriate support that they need to re-energize their research. A major goal of REFRESH is to identify the additional needs of our researchers.

Please consider submitting an application even if you don’t immediately need help. This will help us identify and develop new programs in the future.  

The REFRESH team will hold these responses in the strictest confidence.

In completing an application, you’ll be asked a few easy-to-answer questions about the following:

  • How COVID has impacted your research success.
  • Whether you need some specific types of support, including the following:
    • Grant writing support (monetary or mentoring) 
    • Mentoring or networking—finding the right connections on campus
    • Dependent care

Once you have submitted your application it will be reviewed by the REFRESH team and a decision will be emailed to you within a month of your application submission. For those requesting networking or mentoring assistance, you will be matched with relevant campus programs or specific individuals. See below for more information for those seeking dependent care support.

Grant Writing Support

Funding for grant writing help is available and everyone is eligible to apply. Please email the REFRESH team for further information at

Additionally, Cornell offers the following programs to help with grant writing:

Help with Dependent Care for Faculty

Assistant and associate professors who need backup dependent care can apply for the COVID19 Faculty Dependent Back Up Care Fund.

Please consider submitting an application to give the REFRESH team additional insights into the specific needs of caregivers. However, completing the survey is not a precondition to receiving the care funds. 

For Researchers with NSF Grants: NSF offers supplemental funding to help researchers who are confronted with a short-term increase in dependent care responsibilities ensure that the research activities supported by an NSF award can continue. See details in the Dear Colleague letter on the NSF site



  • Paula Cohen, Associate Vice Provost for Life Sciences, Director of the Center for Reproductive Genomics, Professor of Genetics
  • Maria Fitzpatrick, Associate Vice Provost for the Social Sciences, Director of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Professor of Economics and Public Policy
  • Yael Levitte, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity
  • Carmel Lee, Director of Research Development
  • Josephine Martell, Director of Research Development, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Gayle Fagan, Program Manager, Research Development