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R&D projects to support global recovery from Covid-19


UK government invests £7.2m in international projects through Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund

The UK government has invested £7.2 million in international projects to support global recovery from the effects of Covid-19.

A total of 20 projects led by teams of researchers from the UK and developing countries have been awarded through the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Newton Fund’s Agile Covid-19 call, UK Research and Innovation announced on 5 September.

“The research projects we are backing today will ensure we equip some of the most vulnerable communities with the resources they need to tackle Covid-19 and build their long-term resilience to respond to future pandemics, making us all safer,” said business secretary Alok Sharma.

The projects, which will be carried out over the next 18 months, will work to address the negative impacts of the virus on communities that are already vulnerable due to long-term conflict, food and water shortages, and crowded living conditions.

They include a project led by the University of Sheffield, the London College of Fashion, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Al albayt University in Jordan, and the University of Petra, which is using digital printing and sewing to create personal protective equipment such as laser-cut and 3D-printed face shields and masks.

Another project led by the University of Salford, Gulu University in Uganda, Gulu Regional Hospital, Uganda Virus Research Institute, Makerere University and the University of Liverpool aims to build capacity for Covid-19 diagnostics and molecular epidemiology in Uganda.

“Defeating coronavirus is a truly global endeavour, which is why we’re backing Britain’s scientists and researchers to work with their international counterparts to find tech solutions to treat and combat this virus around the world,” said Sharma.

Andrew Thompson, UKRI’s international champion, added: “To find lasting, sustainable solutions to the current pandemic and its aftermath, as well as to make us more resilient for the future, we require global thinking, the mobilisation of global expertise and a global response. That is exactly what these new projects provide.

“Working together, researchers across the UK and the Global South are combining their knowledge and experience to develop innovative solutions to empower local communities to overcome the wide-ranging challenges created by Covid.”