A further update on Covid-19 and its impact on membersFor example, ITENE, Spain, says that the virus has had “some impact” both in general terms on its operations and specifically from a financial perspective. “Approximately 70% of our staff have been able to work from home,” says CEO Javier Zabaleta. “However, since late May, most of us have been working from our facilities.”
Some lab team-members had continued to work on-site “with extreme safety measures and the necessary protective equipment”, he explains. “We have adapted to keep working on all of our projects which are underway.”
Like other organizations, ITENE has had to cancel face-to-face workshops and training. “But we immediately organized a complete program of webinars, which have been received with great success,” Zabaleta adds.
A further Asia-based member, which took part in the anonymous survey, reported a “significant” impact from the virus, both operationally and in terms of financial effects. Up to half of staff have been working from home, with a major impact on current research projects and the start of new ones. Live events have needed to be postponed.
This member’s survey response also served as a reminder that, although some restrictions in parts of Europe, North America and China, for example, are starting to relax, for many others, an open-ended lockdown continues – with all the uncertainties that come with it.
In the wider membership survey, carried out in late April, access to lab-based research varied considerably between different member organizations. Universities offering a strong teaching component were using a range of software tools to facilitate online learning, with some appreciating the wider value of these tools for the future.
Teams in both private and publicly-funded universities expressed concern about future funding. Organizations of all kinds which depended on research and commercial ventures with external partners pointed out how travel restrictions were affecting future opportunities, in the short term.
Meanwhile, several members have been helping with community efforts to combat the virus and its impacts. Some have been producing protective masks and visors, and at least one is producing temporary beds for the homeless made out of corrugated board. ITENE has been working on a compact biosensor to detect Covid-19 in situ, in real-time (see separate news story).