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The University of Southampton

Southampton Coronavirus Response Fund launched to accelerate urgent research and offer student support

Published: 2 April 2020
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The Fund will support and accelerate the University’s urgent work in tackling the coronavirus.

The University of Southampton has launched a new fund-raising effort to urgently raise investment for key projects to fight the escalating coronavirus crisis.

The Southampton Coronavirus Response Fund has been set up to support and accelerate the University’s urgent work in tackling this global pandemic. It represents a fantastic and immediate opportunity for people, groups or organisations in Southampton and the wider region to contribute to a real community effort to raise much-needed funding directly where it is needed most. That includes resources to support research to develop potential coronavirus vaccines or to creating innovative support technology; funding to bring in additional medical staff and vital assistance to vulnerable students in need. 

Professor Mark E Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, and Phillip Greenish, Chair of the University’s Council, have both opened the fund with personal gifts of their own.  SUSU President Emily Harrison has also made a donation.

“We are appealing to our friends and supporters in the community to help support the critical work happening right now at the University of Southampton to protect, save and support vulnerable lives in the city and across the globe,” said Professor Mark E Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton.

Emily added: “Back when the academic year started in September, I don't think any of us could have predicted the situation we find ourselves in now. However, amongst the chaos and confusion, it’s been heart-warming to hear and see so many wonderful stories of kindness and people coming together. This fund is a fantastic example of just that and is an easy way, if you are able, for you to make a real difference to other people.”

In recent weeks, researchers at the University have initiated the trial at University Hospital Southampton with drug development company Synairgen of an inhaled drug that could prevent worsening of COVID-19 in those most at risk.

The University’s experts in population mapping, World Pop, continue to engage in research to assess the effectiveness and timing of COVID-19 interventions, helping the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) with response efforts.

Just this week, engineers and medical staff from the University are testing a prototype of a personal respirator they have developed for frontline healthcare staff tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. If the tests are successful, they hope it will solve the limitations of existing protective equipment doctors and nurses are wearing on the wards.

University staff are also returning to direct clinical practice with more than 170 medical students graduating early to move into their junior doctor roles, while more than 150 nursing students are volunteering to undertake extended paid clinical placements.

The University has also just launched a new Wessex Academic Health Sciences Centre to accelerate and grow research-based innovations within the NHS through coordinated actions to deliver solutions from all disciplines to improve health and social care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centre will combine the expertise of the University with colleagues from the NHS, including the University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, as well as other university and industry partners in Hampshire, Dorset and south Wiltshire.

“I’ve witnessed, firsthand, the enthusiasm and dedication of our staff in working long hours to tackle this deadly virus head-on,” Professor Smith continued. “Their world-leading, multi-disciplinary expertise is a major key to help unlock many of the solutions the world is looking for right now. All donations, big and small, will make a difference and enable us to do even more.”

People wishing to make a donation to the Southampton Coronavirus Response Fund can do so by visiting

All sizes of donations are most welcome and appreciated. More information about the Fund is available at


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