Its doors may be closed for now, but Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) – a creative alliance between the National Library of Ireland and UCD, housed in the historic Newman House on St Stephen’s Green – continues to inspire literature lovers with a wealth of online resources.

Its latest offering is RadioMoLI, an on-demand digital radio station for Irish literature.

There are dozens of interviews, lecture and readings available, with new recordings added weekly. Whether your literary tastes incline towards fiction, non-fiction or poetry, there’s something for everyone on RadioMoLI. What better soundtrack to accompany your pandemic baking or gardening?

The Feeling Better Project Offers Support for Uncertain Times

Whether working at home alone and in isolation or cooped up with family members or housemates, we could all do with a boost to our mental health as we adapt to the limitations, challenges and anxieties of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thankfully, help is at hand! As part of its Feeling Better Project, the Contextual Behavioural Science Research Lab in UCD School of Psychology is releasing a series of videos to promote positive mental wellbeing during the crisis.  

The videos – available on YouTube – cover a range of topics, including managing worry, staying grounded in the present moment, connecting to what’s important and practising self-compassion.

UCD Spinout Company Helps Athletes Optimise Their Training During COVID-19 Isolation

The sports technology start-up Output Sports has developed a single wearable sensor that enables athletes to track multiple components of their performance and share their training data with their coaches via an app.

The value of the company’s Output // Capture technology is underscored by current circumstances, in which athletes have had to adapt their training programmes to comply with social distancing requirements. Many are now training at home and being coached remotely.

Among the athletes using the system are Paralympic swimmer Nicole Turner and Leinster Rugby’s Adam Byrne and Dave Kearney.

Output Sports was founded in 2018 as a spinout from the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science and is headquartered at NovaUCD in Belfield.

COVID-19 and Business: Impact and Response

The COVID-19 pandemic will have significant and lasting impacts, not least in the world of business. “We are looking at an entirely new world,” according to Andreas Hoepner, Professor of Operational Risk, Banking & Finance in the UCD  College of Business.

In an Irish Times article, Prof. Hoepner and his colleague Prof. Brian Fynes assess the huge operational risk businesses are exposed to as a result of the pandemic, consider the outlook for companies that are focused on effectiveness versus those focused on efficiency, and discuss the importance of strategic supply chain management at this time.   

The College of Business has also launched the UCD Business Impact Podcast, in which thought leaders from academia and industry will discuss the most compelling issues facing society from a business perspective. In the first episode, Ireland’s leading expert on corporate governance Prof. Niamh Brennan discusses the financial implications of the COVID-19 crisis.

Keeping Families Connected Through Digital Technology

Being critically ill in hospital and without the comfort of visits from family and friends can be an incredibly scary and lonely experience. This is especially true for older people, who may not have smartphones or other digital devices that would enable them to remain connected to their loved ones.

UCD alumna Suzanne Stewart experienced first-hand the emotional distress caused by COVID-19 when her partner was hospitalised with the illness, but thanks to digital communication technology she was able to keep in touch with him while she remained isolated at home. This relieved her own anxiety, and was – she believes – an important factor in expediting her partner’s recovery.

Along with friends Ciara Close and Emma Farrell – whom she met at UCD while studying for the Smurfit MBA in 2019 – Suzanne has launched a crowdfunding campaign to source 100 digital tablets for hospitals and nursing homes, to enable families to remain connected during this difficult time.

Covid19 Tablet Campaign #comfort4covid

A Special Message from Alumnus Michael Moloney

UCD Alumni from around the world have been sharing special video messages of support for our students, friends and fellow alumni as we all work through the COVID-19 pandemic together. That deep-rooted concern and compassion for one another is what makes the UCD community truly great.

Michael Moloney studied experimental physics at UCD School of Physics and was awarded the Thomas E. Nevin Medal when he graduated. He is currently CEO of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) based in Washington D.C.

We’re Coping “Extraordinarily Well” With COVID-19 Restrictions

The people of Ireland are not showing signs of behavioural fatigue in the face of the restrictions imposed on us to ‘flatten the curve’ and contain the spread of COVID-19.

This is according to ongoing research by Professor Liam Delaney of UCD School of Economics and his colleagues in the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) Behavioural Change Subgroup.

In an Irish Times article Prof. Delaney and co-author Pete Lunn of the ESRI look at how we’re adapting to the stresses and challenges of having our freedom curtailed, our social lives diminished, and our normal routines disrupted. Notwithstanding the inevitable worry and anxiety, a majority of the population are supportive of the restrictions, acknowledging our collective responsibility and the impact our behavior is having in limiting the spread of infection.   

UCD Researchers Design and Manufacture Face Shields for Frontline Medical Staff

Researchers at I-Form – an advanced manufacturing research facility based in UCD’s O’Brien Centre for Science – are using 3D printing to produce face shields for healthcare staff in Dublin battling the spread of COVID-19.

Responding to a request from Tallaght University Hospital, and in the face of a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), the team at the SFI-funded facility worked with engineering colleagues at UCD to optimise existing designs for rapid production. Over the course of a single weekend in the lab they produced 300 face shields, and they are now scaling up production.

I-Form is also donating face shields to other hospitals and to COVID-19 testing centres in the greater Dublin area.

The researchers are now investigating the possibility of producing other critical items of PPE, including goggles and ventilator-related technology.

InvoiceFair Enables Irish Cosmetics Company to Ramp Up Production of Hand Sanitiser

InvoiceFair – based at NexusUCD, The Industry Partnership Centre – runs an innovative receivables trading platform that enables small and medium enterprises to access working capital quickly and flexibly.

The company, which was co-founded by UCD alumni Helen Cahill and Ivan Fox along with Peter Brady, has supported Irish manufacturer Cosmetic Creations in accessing the working capital needed to ramp up production of hand sanitiser to meet the unprecedented demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to InvoiceFair, the manufacturing company was able to secure funding for raw materials and components, and to increase its skilled workforce. Cosmetic Creations is now producing over 150,000 units of Airmedica hand sanitiser a week for use in clinical environments, and has hired 20 additional staff members to ensure supply lines remain open.

Prof. Alistair Nichol Leads COVID-19 Clinical Trial in Ireland

Professor Alistair Nichol, Chair of Critical Care Medicine at UCD and intensive care consultant at St Vincent’s University Hospital, is leading the Irish contribution to a clinical trial on COVID-19.

In partnership with an international network of researchers, Prof. Nichol and intensive care teams at University Hospital Galway and St Vincent’s University Hospital are working with a local network of clinical research facilities and other partners across academia to identify drugs that can protect against or treat the worst symptoms of the virus. Likewise, treatments that are ineffective will also be quickly identified. Other hospitals around the country are also expected to join the trial.

COVID-19 patients requiring critical care in intensive care units will be asked to take part in the trial. In cases where patients are too ill to provide consent, their families will be asked to provide consent on their behalf.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland programme, Prof. Nichol acknowledged the additional stress of being unable to have these difficult conversations face to face.

“Normally we have this conversation at the bedside or in the hospital, but these conversations will have to happen over the phone during this particular crisis.”

The clinical trial will allow doctors to respond rapidly to the findings, to improve outcomes for critically ill patients. If one treatment is found to be working more effectively than another, doctors can actively direct patients towards it straight away.