What can science contribute in a pandemic? The OeAW looked for answers to this question in a publicly advertised prize question. A jury selected the best three contributions from over 100 submitted essays. In their article "Von Viren, Ankern und Uhren" (Of viruses, anchors and clocks), which won third prize, Thomas König and head of WWTF Michael Stampfer address, among other things, the role of research funding in Austria. The authors plead for long-term active funding by politics that would strengthen competitive scientific research, scientific institutions as well as sector research and interdisciplinary research for future challenges.