The outbreak of COVID-19 has stalled both the basic, clinical and non-COVID medical research. The scientific community has shown extraordinary flexibility and resilience in responding to the pandemic. However, funding restructuring, risk of infection, cancelation of scientific conferences and delayed experiments have already proven detrimental to the career opportunities of early-career scientists. Moreover, school closures and a lack of systematic support for childcare have been additional challenges for early- and mid-career researchers who have young children. This Editorial describes an early-career researcher’s experience and highlights how after efficiently contributing to ‘flattening the curve’ of COVID-19 infections, the research community has an opportunity for growth and re-structuring.