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29 April 2020
More than 50 Scottish studies underway to tackle COVID-19 and its impact

Image credit: PA images

More than 50 Scottish studies underway to tackle COVID-19 and its impact

There are now 55 “rapid research” projects underway at Scottish universities and institutions to support global efforts to combat COVID-19 and understand its wider effects, the Scottish Government has revealed.

The government has announced rapid research to increase the understanding of coronavirus, screen potential treatments and support clinical trials will benefit from almost £5m of funding.

The money will support 55 “rapid research projects” underway at 15 Scottish universities and research institutions.

The studies include looking at how to better understand the effects of infection, to develop and test new diagnostics and treatments, to investigate new disease surveillance approaches, to inform interventions to prevent transmission of infection, to support the mental health of frontline health and social care workers and understand the physical and mental health implications of lockdown measures.

Scotland’s Chief Scientist for Health Professor David Crossman said the research would “help us understand many aspects of this terrible disease”.

“The projects selected for funding all aim to give results as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Scotland is in a strong position to undertake clinical research and the response from universities and research institution to this COVID-19 research call emphatically reinforces that view.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Scotland is home to some of the most respected researchers and scientists in the world.

“COVID-19 is the biggest challenge we have faced in our lifetimes and it is vital that we capture the potential of the extraordinarily strong research base here to contribute to the global efforts to tackle and mitigate the impact of it.

“I know many academics are already thinking about how their research can be used during this national and international emergency.

“This funding enables universities and research institutions to immediately draw on the very best science and methodologies available to build on our understanding of this virus, develop new treatments, stop infection and support people’s mental and physical health.”

A call for rapid search on coronavirus was launched by the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office on 25 March, with successful applicants chosen by an independent expert panel, co-chaired by Professor Eleanor Davies from the University of Glasgow and Professor Shaun Treweek from the University of Aberdeen.

All research projects are in a position to start without delay and will be completed within a six-month timeframe.

Projects from following universities and research institutions have been awarded funding: University of Aberdeen: six projects, £972,870; University of Dundee: two projects, £487,710; University of Edinburgh: eight projects, £603,500; Glasgow Caledonian University: three projects, £136,290; University of Glasgow: nine projects, £1,025,458; Institute of Occupational Medicine: one project, £206,300; Edinburgh Napier University: three projects, £166,826; Queen Margaret University: two projects, £92,424; Robert Gordon University: one project, £55,789; University of St Andrews: three projects, £132,719; University of Strathclyde: four projects, £355,096; Scotland’s Rural College: one project, £36,118; University of Stirling: ten projects, £480,707; University of the Highlands and Islands: one project, £44,581; University of the West of Scotland: one project, £128,882.

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