Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

MS&E responds to COVID-19

Main content start

Updated December 20, 2020

MS&E researchers are using their expertise in data, analysis, and modeling to find solutions to problems brought about during the COVID-19 crisis.

A laptop appears connected to a network web that is shaped like a map of the world

Management Science and Engineering faculty and students are focusing their research efforts on health care, the economy, human rights, government operations, and more. Explore specific projects, content, and events below.

An aerial view of a few dozen trucks of different sizes and colors parked in a parking lot
Global Impact

Students create computer models to combat COVID-19 on three continents

As California's shelter-in-place order went into effect in March, Prof. Ashish Goel's thoughts turned both to the teachable moment it presented for his students and to the dire ramifications COVID-19 might have in his native India and other developing nations. Students formed into groups and acted as research advisers to government officials, relationships that are continuing even after the class has finished.

Read more

Michael O’Sullivan: Data leads New Zealand’s COVID-19 response

Auckland, New Zealand
Success story | Adobe Stock/Lev

O’Sullivan (PhD '01), now at the University of Auckland, likes to say his business is the “science of decision-making.” The expertise he gained at MS&E paid off handsomely in his native New Zealand’s successful response to COVID-19.
Read more

The future of remote work

Portraits of Professors Pamela Hinds and Melissa Valentine

How organizations transition between remote and in-person work

Profs. Pamela Hinds and Melissa Valentine are conducting research with Slack to understand how organizations transition from a mandatory fully remote workforce under COVID-19 restrictions to a remote-first or hybrid culture as the post-COVID new normal unfolds.

Stay tuned for details on their research.

Graphic depicting collaborative work

Are virtual workplaces our future?

Major shifts toward remote work pose new and complex management challenges. Prof. Melissa Valentine and incoming post-doctoral scholar Jen Rhymer discuss why remote work might yield different results when it's suddenly mandatory, as opposed to being ingrained into an organization's culture.

Read more

Remote work is here to stay. Bosses better adjust.

Graphic depicting an orchestra conductor conducting virtual screens of workers
Remote work | The Wall Street Journal

In the Wall Street Journal, Prof. Bob Sutton and Tsedal Neely, who received her PhD in MS&E and is now a Professor at Harvard Business School, discuss how managers can make sure remote workers stay productive—without burning out.
Read more

Modeling COVID-19's impact on health

Collage of health policy researchers
Top to bottom, left to right: Jose Blanchet, Margaret Brandeau, Anneke Claypool, Johannes Ferstad, Peter Glynn, Giovanni Malloy, Isabelle Rao, David Scheinker, Jacqueline Vallon.

Researchers are developing techniques to estimate bed demand for COVID-related hospitalizations, both within individual hospitals and across geographic regions. Professors Jose Blanchet and Peter Glynn, along with Adjunct Professor David Scheinker and School of Medicine colleagues rapidly implemented tools to help hospital leaders decide when to eliminate elective surgeries, how much acute care and ICU capacity to allocate to COVID-19 patients, and how to stretch out usage of personal protective equipment.

Read more about their COVID-19 calculator, which helps hospitals prepare on a county-by-county basis, and watch their discussion of students' many contributions to early COVID research at the 2021 virtual alumni reunion event.

A person inserts one of many keys into a lock

Why prisons and jails have become COVID hotspots

A study by Prof. Margaret Brandeau and PhD candidate Giovanni Malloy shows that with few opportunities for social distancing and relatively low sanitary conditions, the virus is spreading fast in America’s jails and prisons.

Read more
A healthcare worker holds up a face mask that looks like the California state flag

Stanford Team Uses Data to Help California Track & Prevent COVID-19

PhD student Anneke Claypool is among the Stanford researchers working around the clock to pump data into a new assessment tool that is helping California hospitals and public health officials determine their next moves.

Learn more about the CalCAT research project
A person has their temperature taken on their forehead while wearing a mask.

Stanford PhD Students Investigate Racial Disparities in COVID-19

COVID-19 has hit Black and Hispanic populations harder than most. PhD student Anneke Claypool is among researchers investigating interventions.

Read more

Additionally, students are modeling COVID-19 health disparities and the effectiveness of face masks in slowing pandemics, estimating the fraction of COVID-19 cases that are still undetected, and more.

Utilizing mobile data

Photos of Professors Nick Bambos, Ramesh Johari, and Amin Saberi

Prof. Nick Bambos is studying public health monitoring using machine learning to process data collected from mobile phones. And Profs. Ramesh Johari and Amin Saberi have teamed up to develop a post-lockdown contact tracing app. These projects are still being researched and developed.

Logo for Pandemic Pulse podcast

Master's student Catherine Gu started the Pandemic Pulse weekly podcast to make sense of some of the most pressing issues that are transforming our lives.

Pandemic Pulse is one of many projects born out of the COVID-19 Response Innovation Lab, a student-led initiative across Stanford.

Measuring social interventions

Portrait of Professor Johan Ugander

Prof. Johan Ugander is studying the efficacy of interventions that encourage social distancing, to see which measures are the most effective and which, if any, don't help as much.

How to be a good boss during trying times

Graphic depicting a group of people ascending an incline

How do great leaders lead during times of great uncertainty?

Professor Bob Sutton and Graduate School of Business Professor Huggy Rao shared how leaders can meet the challenge of leading during a crisis in their free webinar, How to Be a Good Boss During Trying Times, hosted April 16, 2020.

They drew on rigorous research and lessons from wise and caring leaders to show bosses how to make, communicate, and implement necessary tough decisions.

Watch the recording

Portrait of Michael Tubbs
Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

ETL speaker series continues online

We're hosting the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (ETL) series online for free.

You can also watch the Spring speaker series, as well as our first-ever Summer series, which were presented virtually and recorded.

Crisis Innovation content series

A crisis is an opportunity to think like an entrepreneur. MS&E's Stanford Technology Ventures Program pulled together video clips, articles and podcast episodes about how innovators find agency amid recessions, disruptions and uncertainties.

Keep an eye out for new content on the Crisis Innovation page. We'll be adding new content as our ETL speakers address the evolving COVID-19 pandemic in real time.

Portrait of Tina Seelig

Creativity in a crisis

Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig discussed the creative value of constraints in her webinar, Creativity in a Crisis, hosted by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.