New research projects to tackle COVID-19
A total of 26 rapid response research projects will get underway this week as part of the national, coordinated research and innovation funding response to the COVID-19 pandemic involving Ireland’s leading funding and innovation agencies*.
The Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council will invest €3.4 million across 21 of the projects that look at health, health services, social and policy countermeasures.
The projects address challenges such as:
- successfully maintaining social distancing long term
- addressing mental health issues among frontline workers
- understanding the long-term impact of COVID-19 when people are discharged from hospital
- creating toolkits to equip frontline staff who are redeployed or taking on new roles
- improving knowledge of how COVID-19 affects vulnerable groups such as older people or kids with autism or patients with life limiting illness who need care and how to tackle this
- determining of the number of asymptomatic cases in Ireland as this will help policy makers make more informed decisions about relaxing restrictions.
We have published case studies on some of the research on the HRB COVID-19 news page.
Our researchers have also generated short videos outlining what their projects aim to achieve. These are available in a playlist on the HRB YouTube Channel.
Speaking about the launch of the national projects, Minister for Health, Simon Harris says,
‘Research and development is critical to supporting Ireland’s National Action Plan in response to COVID-19 and in navigating a way forward for individuals, communities and society as a whole.
In these extraordinary circumstances, I am delighted to see such collaboration and coordination in a collective battle against COVID-19.
These projects have real potential to have an impact on the health and wellbeing of patients, families, healthcare workers and the healthcare system.
In particular, having suitable treatments or vaccines is the best exit strategy from COVID-19 and the related restrictions we are living with so I am committed to ensuring a coordinated and proactive approach is taken to ensuring that COVID-19 patients across all settings in Ireland have access to new and emerging treatments as part of clinical trials'.
Dr Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board says,
‘COVID-19 will test people’s health and our health and economic resilience like nothing in recent history. Research and evidence are critical to understanding how COVID-19 works and key to getting Ireland back open again. I want to congratulate the Irish research community who have come up with an incredible range of research projects to help tackle the health, social and economic challenges that COVID-19 presents.
The projects address short, medium and long-term aspects of this crisis. The evidence that they generate will be critical to delivering treatments to tackle COVID 19, supporting frontline staff in delivering care and changing practice so we can continue to deliver all health care while we live alongside COVID-19 in the short term'.
Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council adds,
'The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, a profound effect on nearly every aspect of our lives. The road to social and economic recovery will be multi-dimensional and will benefit from the expertise and evidence of Ireland’s research community across all disciplines. The projects announced here today seek to inform the next steps we take as a nation both in the short term and as we look further ahead. The experts driving these projects are a subset of the broader Irish research and innovation eco-system, which has much to contribute to successfully addressing the many challenges presented by the pandemic'.
* Health Research Board, Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.