UCD Together – Stepping Up to the Challenges of COVID-19

We hope you and your loved ones remain in good health at this extraordinary time.

Here at UCD, the safety and wellbeing of our students, colleagues, and wider community is our utmost priority as together we face the challenge of containing the spread of COVID-19. Physical classes and tutorials on campus have been suspended and teaching and learning is instead progressing by technological means, including video conferencing, online chat rooms, and podcasts.

At UCD Foundation we remain committed to our vision for the advancement of UCD as a global centre of excellence in education and research. However, despite everyone’s best efforts, it is not business as usual. Rather, we are seeking creative and innovative ways of working together as a remote team and remaining engaged with our friends and supporters as we navigate this new normal. You may continue to reach us by phone at +353 1 7161393 or email at info@ucdfoundation.ie .

One of the most effective actions we can take to slow the spread of the virus is to practise social distancing, and so we are not organising in-person meetings at present. We are also working to reschedule a number of our upcoming events, including the annual Newman Fellowship Dinner and our Seasonal Supper Club, which will now take place in September.

Now, more than ever, it is vital that we keep open the lines of communication and support one another in solidarity. The constant barrage of worrying news can leave us feeling overwhelmed and anxious, but there is good news too, and cause for hope. As Ireland’s Global University, UCD has a vital role to play in shaping our response to the current crisis nationally and globally, culturally and scientifically. Be assured that our brightest minds are rising to the challenge across all academic disciplines, from medicine, science and engineering to the arts and humanities.

Last week the Presidents of all Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology sent a joint letter to students. I will leave you with their parting words – wise advice for all of us as we find our way through the coming months:

“Be kind to each other and take care of yourselves and each other. Let’s give each other the space to find our way through these challenging times, and the time to find humanity and meaning here too.”

Through research, innovation and frontline delivery of our healthcare services, UCD academics are at the forefront of the nationwide effort to combat coronavirus

Dr Patrick Wall, Professor of Public Health in UCD, responding to the UK’s coronavirus lockdown with the British public ordered to stay at home.

Dr Tom Curran from the UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering on how the current societal changes could have a detrimental impact on our environment.

Dr Cillian De Gascun – a medical virologist, chair of the HSE’s Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group, and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at UCD – on the latest developments around contact tracing and scaling our testing capacity.

A look inside Ireland’s first remote contact tracing coordination centre located within the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science. With Dr Patrick Wall, Professor of Public Health, and Mary Codd, Associate Professor in UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.

The Open Source Ventilator project is the brainchild of Colin Keogh, a 3D printing expert from UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering who has previously appeared on Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” ranking of leading innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. The project is seeking to develop a working ventilator that can be built using 3D printers and off-the-shelf components.

Speaking here with presenter Baz Ashmawy, Professor Patrick Mallon (Professor of Microbial Diseases in UCD School of Medicine and a Consultant in Infectious Diseases in St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin) gives an update on the current pandemic, and again stresses the importance of social distancing.

Associate Professor Paul D’Alton is co-director of the MSc in Mindfulness Based Interventions and teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across UCD School of Psychology. He is also Head of Psychology at St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Professor Mary Horgan, a world-renowned expert in infectious disease and UCD Alumni Award Winner in Health and Agricultural Sciences, has been one of the leading voices on the importance of social distancing in controlling the spread of the pandemic.

Due to the cancellation of Agri Aware’s “Farm Walk & Talk 2020” educational series, the Irish agri-food body along with the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science have gone the extra mile and created a series of videos from UCD Lyons Farm to support students and teachers. More than 1,600 Leaving Cert Agricultural Students from over 60 secondary schools nationwide participated in the ‘Farm Walk and Talk 2020’ which took place in the Teagasc Colleges and Research Farms across Ireland.

Based within NovaUCD, Akkure’s risk assessment tool aims to give users an idea of their status and the impact the coronavirus could have on their health within 90 seconds.

Serving the Greater Good: Alumni Find Ways to Give Back Amid Coronavirus

The spread of the novel coronavirus has closed schools, shuttered restaurants, and left much of the world sequestered in their homes. The cascading series of events has altered nearly every aspect of everyday life, creating a need that is being filled with increasing urgency by a host of UCD alumni eager to make a difference.

In the past few weeks UCD alums have stepped up time and again, across the country and around the world, whether to assist students, reach out to classmates, or support their local communities.

Examples of projects and programmes being led by UCD alumni include a free to use online form that is speeding up COVID-19 testing which has been developed by UCD Smurfit School MBA alumnus Dr Knut Moe and the manufacture of rapid testing kits, developed by Seán Mac Fhearraigh and Colm Ryan of Assay Genie.

Food for Heroes has raised almost €400k for frontline healthcare workers

“Food for Heroes”, a GoFundMe page set up by Cian O’Flaherty, has raised close to €400k since it began on March 15th. Donations go towards providing meals for emergency frontline medical staff fighting COVID-19 in Ireland.

Our future alumni are also stepping up. Pharmacist and UCD medicine student Margaret-Ellen Clerkin is one of the organisers behind a network of students and pharmacists across Ireland who are delivering medicines to people at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is truly awe inspiring to see the UCD community rising to the challenges posed by the coronavirus with creativity and the will to assist those in need. These types of initiatives demonstrate the unity and creativity we must all show in order to get through this crisis, stronger, more resilient and more united.

If you would like to share any stories, projects or initiatives, please don’t hesitate to contact us on +353 1 7161393 or email  info@ucdfoundation.ie. We would love to hear from you.

Tips and other resources to help you manage anxiety, put news reports in perspective and maintain a positive outlook.

Irish singer lifts spirits in Colombia

An Irish singer who lives in Colombia is keeping her neighbours' spirits up during the stay-at-home order brought on by Covid-19. Rebecca Winckworth has been singing to people from her balcony every evening during the lockdown in Medellin. (Recommend sound on)

Posted by RTÉ News on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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