Here’s a nice video on FastGrants, started by Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen early in the pandemic to get money out to researchers quickly enough to make a difference:
Here’s more about the program, including a list of projects funded.
What’s important is the mechanism itself, a way of funding research ($10K to $500k) that does away with red tape and tedium in the grant process. It was set up under the general rubric of Emergent Ventures, which is a program aimed at ventures of any and all kinds and at people at all stages in their career from student on up. That’s an important distinction, targeted at a specific objective (Covid-19) vs. innovation of any kind. Judging the former is very different from judging the latter.