We conducted a global survey on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the research activities of materials scientists by distributing a questionnaire on 9th October 2020 with a response deadline of 23rd October 2020. The questions covered issues such as access to labs, effectiveness of online conferences, and effects on doctoral students for the period covering the first lockdowns until the relaxation of restrictions in late September 2020 in many countries. The survey also included online interviews with eminent materials scientists who shared their local experiences during this period. The interviews were compiled as a series of audio conversations for The STAM Podcast that is freely available worldwide. Our findings included that the majority of institutes were not prepared for such a crisis; researchers in China, Japan, and Singapore were able to resume research much quicker—for example after approximately one month in Japan—than their counterparts in the US and Europe after the first lockdowns; researchers adapted to using virtual teleconferencing to maintain contact with colleagues; and doctoral students were the hardest hit by the pandemic with deep concerns about completing their research and career prospects. We hope that the analysis from this survey will enable the global materials science community to learn from each other’s experiences and move forward from the unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic.