This article examines the research work of the University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS), the policy research unit of the University of the Philippines System, as it sought to address the challenges to Philippine society arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The main concern of the various UP CIDS programmes is addressing the needs of marginalized sectors, including strengthening the primary healthcare system; relieving the plight of farmers, fisher folk and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; and providing solutions to the demands of the education sector during the pandemic. The article shows that the social sciences played an important role in highlighting aspects of the pandemic that affect various sectors of society and, to some extent, in feeding into the policymaking process.