The current crisis underscores the importance of research investment as we urgently seek solutions to the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic across the spheres of medicine, science, engineering, psychology, economics, and social and public policy.
We have the necessary infrastructure in place to respond rapidly to these challenges, but we need your generous support to sustain and increase our research momentum. UCD Foundation has established the BREAKTHROUGH FUND to enable our researchers to address the immediate problems facing our society as well as ensuring that we are prepared to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities as they arise in the future.

COVID-19 Research at UCD

Across UCD and in our university hospitals, researchers are rising to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are providing critical supports that have a real and tangible impact on patients’ lives. They are expanding Ireland’s testing capacity, developing new supply chains, manufacturing reagents, developing national contact tracing capability, and investigating new ways to tackle the disease.

UCD academics are also addressing the social and economic impacts of the pandemic and working to support Ireland’s recovery in the wake of the crisis.

Many of you have asked how you can help in this unprecedented effort. To this end, UCD’s Vice President of Research & Innovation, Professor Orla Feely, has identified five urgent COVID-19 research projects in need of financial support.

Supporting UCD’s Breakthrough Research Fund will allow us to deliver a real impact in five key areas relating to COVID-19:

1) Treating the Disease

The COVID-19 Research Programme is coordinated by Professor Peter Doran and Professor Michael Keane at the UCD Clinical Research Centre, based at the Mater Misericordiae and St Vincent’s University Hospitals in Dublin. The programme comprises 14 projects covering a broad spectrum of research and clinical trials to develop effective treatments for COVID-19.

The clinical trials are led by Professor Alistair Nichol, Chair of Critical Care Medicine at UCD, and Professor Paddy Mallon, Professor of Microbial Diseases at UCD – both also consultants at St Vincent’s University Hospital. These studies will explore the efficacy of azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine, convalescent serum, tocilizumab and other agents as potential drug therapies for COVID-19.

With your support, we can ramp up these and other trials more rapidly, and invest in critical support staff, materials and infrastructure. Your investment would help UCD respond immediately and conduct the necessary research to prepare for future pandemics.

2) Testing and Tracing

Our researchers are developing novel approaches to delivering essential reagents for COVID-19 testing – responding to the collapse of supply chains due to unprecedented international demands. Meanwhile, our data scientists are providing critical know-how in terms of mapping and forecasting the spread of the disease.

3) Understanding the Disease

There is still much we do not know about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. UCD’s outstanding biomedical researchers are working to understand the disease so we can develop new treatments and preventative strategies. The UCD Conway Institute is leading on a number of different lines of research inquiry, including working directly with the virus in the special virology lab in the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, and leveraging UCD’s international networks under the One Health research umbrella, to examine the links between human, animal and environmental health.

4) Supporting Economic Recovery

Researchers at UCD are seeking to identify and address longer term impacts of this pandemic. We are drawing on business-related expertise to develop leadership in times of uncertainty and to create new models of working and risk assessment.

Our academics are coordinating research into supply chain management to optimise transportation of critical products and components. They are also examining unique sectoral challenges, security considerations, new business models, and new behaviour approaches to ensure appropriate return-to-work protocols are in place.

Thought leaders in the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy are informing policy-making discussions on a national level, while colleagues in the College of Social Sciences and Law are addressing unprecedented challenges in education, developing new ways of delivering educational content, ensuring continued student engagement, and managing the complexities of the supporting infrastructure.

Your support will help ensure that our greatest minds can get the resources they need to help support a return to a functioning economy and future economic growth.

5) Addressing Social and Cultural Impacts

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions are having an enormous impact on how we live as a society. We want to be able to apply our research to understand and address these social impacts, and to learn from them into the future. These impacts are felt across a wide range of areas, from early childhood education to the health of our older populations, and from the organisation of our cities to rural development, and our research will address all of these. It will cover the impact of the pandemic on issues such as educational inequalities due to school closures, and the impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It will also include the very significant impacts of the pandemic on our culture and on the creative sectors.

Your support will help our researchers to address these social and cultural challenges in the near and longer terms.

How to Support Ground-Breaking Research at this Critical Time

If you would like to support UCD’s Breakthrough Fund for Research & Innovation, you may do so by choosing one of the below options to make an online contribution or by requesting a call back to discuss the Breakthrough Fund and your giving options.

Online Contribution. Request a Callback