How our University is responding to the Covid-19 challenge

Message from the Vice-Chancellor

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is having an unprecedented impact across the world. For the UK, the last few weeks have been transformational and I think we can safely say that very few of us fully anticipated the range of impacts that this virus would be able to cause.

There are undoubtedly going to be further challenges ahead. We continue to work closely with, among others, ministers and the government, the Mayor and other leaders from the Sheffield City Region, Universities UK and the Russell Group, our industrial partners and and other universities in the UK and in Europe. They help us understand how we can respond and adapt to the pandemic.

We are also working with the NHS locally and nationally, to ensure that we do all we can to support not only our local hospitals, but also the national effort in mitigating the effects of this global outbreak.

These are very worrying times for all of us, but we are doing all we can to ensure that the University can continue to play its part, in research, education and in its civic role. Being an anchor institution means that we have to hold the ship steady in the storm and bring stability, and that is exactly what we are doing right now.

Message from Professor Koen Lamberts

How we're helping the national and global effort

The Covid-19 pandemic is creating a vast and growing number of challenges for all of us. Staff and students from across the University of Sheffield are working to mitigate its effects on society with a rapid response through crucial research and innovation, local and global collaborations and practical support for the community.

In this section:

DNA sequencing

Face shields

Research and innovation

Our genomics research is helping in the fight against coronavirus

Scientists from our Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease have worked with the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Virology team to sequence the first two genomes of Covid-19. This type of evidence helps the global science community to understand how this virus is spreading and changing, and will eventually help to develop a vaccine.

Dr Thushan de Silva's team has now been asked to be part of a national consortium to sequence as many UK genomes as possible, and working with experts across the UK, the team will be able to sequence up to 120 genomes per week to help provide critical intelligence which could underpin how we manage or treat the pandemic.

At the forefront of innovative manufacturing research

As part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, our Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC are involved in an industrial consortium that will accelerate the production of 10,000 medical ventilators.

Our engineers are responding to a national call for help in the fight against coronavirus by 3D printing face shields for doctors and healthcare workers. The team includes experts in all stages of the manufacturing process, including 3D printing and disinfection, so that the face shields can be quickly manufactured in bulk.

Understanding the impact of the coronavirus crisis on mental health and behaviour

A study led by University of Sheffield psychologists has found there was a spike in levels of depression and anxiety immediately following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a lockdown on 23 March. The team will survey the 2,000 participants again in the coming months to see how their experiences, beliefs and mental health symptoms change as the pandemic progresses in the UK.

Explore crucial research and innovation

How our staff and students have responded

Supporting Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the NHS has been at the forefront of our response to Covid-19.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) has been donated by University of Sheffield departments and alumni to front-line NHS staff treating patients with coronavirus. Over 160,000 items of disposable PPE costing around £60,000, including masks, gloves, aprons and eyewear, has been collected from our laboratories and workshops to assist key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As well as donating PPE, we've been carrying out crucial research and innovation. University engineers have worked with teams at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to design and produce face shields, and the team at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has been part of a national effort to manufacture more ventilators.

Researchers from across the faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health are supporting Covid-19 testing, and NHS key workers have been taking advantage of University car parking and accommodation made available for them to use during the pandemic.

Samuel Fox House, our Medical School's teaching facility, is being used to provide clinical skills training for returning care workers, ensuring they are ready to return to the front lines over the next few weeks.

We know how pressed our regional workforce could become and so we have followed guidance from the Medical Schools Council to change our final assessment process and allow our final-year medical students to graduate, and begin practising, earlier than usual. Our medical students in earlier cohorts have also been offering volunteer services to doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Driven by the desire to help their future colleagues, they have asked healthcare workers to let them know how they can support them and have been volunteering their time on multiple tasks - from childcare to prescription collections.

More stories: supporting the NHS and community

Clinical work in lab

Donating PPE

Podcast series: Coronavirus, Examined

About this series

We live in a world that is facing one of its biggest challenges in living memory. The coronavirus pandemic has devastating potential as it sweeps across the globe. To fight this virus and slow its spread, we’ve had to change almost everything about how we live our lives.

In Coronavirus, Examined we’re talking to experts from the University of Sheffield to explore the different ways in which coronavirus is changing our world and the way we live.

How we're supporting recovery and renewal in the Sheffield City Region

We're supporting the regional response to the Covid-19 challenge by ensuring healthcare services, cultural and creative sectors and industry partners across the Sheffield City Region are supported.

In the media: expert comment and research

Let's reduce the epidemic of loneliness (The Star)

Health informatics expert, Professor Peter Bath, discusses what we can do to support people who are currently feeling isolated and lonely.

Economic slowdown causes temporary slump in pollution (iNews)

Researcher, Rohit Chakraborty, shares insights into the effect of COVID-19 on UK air pollution data.

UK to start production of ventilators (The Guardian)

The University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has been involved in a consortium of British manufacturers called on to help quickly produce ventilators.

Behind Sheffield's coronavirus figures (The Guardian)

Dr Andrew Lee, from the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), discusses coronavirus testing in Sheffield and how this has affected the number of cases reported.

Tips for educating pre-school children at home (Sheffield Telegraph)

Dr Louise Kay from the School of Education discusses activities and resources for educating your children at home.


Contact our media team