Glasgow has a long and storied history of innovation. From penicillin and ultrasound to refrigeration, our city continues to punch above its weight in making a difference on a global scale. Today, Glasgow can boast world-leading research and innovation across emerging areas including quantum, communications technologies, precision medicine, low carbon and advanced manufacturing, to name a few.
In response the COVID-19 pandemic, Glasgow City region has capitalised on opportunities arising from these strengths in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to help tackle new societal challenges, ensuring our city remains as resilient as ever and providing a platform to recover and re-build to a brighter future.
Whether it is researching vaccines, helping to understand more about how the virus works, designing and developing equipment, or utilizing new technologies, the response across the city region has been truly inspiring.
The University of Glasgow is playing a central role in studying the virus, with the Centre for Virus Research (CVR) being named as one of 13 key Centres in a pan-UK alliance of scientists working on COVID-19 whole genome sequencing. The CVR is using its labs to sequence the genome of the virus from confirmed Scottish patients, and will work with partners to map how COVID-19 spreads and behaves in populations around the UK. It is hoped that the genetic code will arm public health agencies and clinicians with a unique, cutting-edge tool to combat COVID-19.
The Scottish Government awarded the University of Glasgow more than £1m to carry out nine COVID-19 rapid-response research projects on areas such as underlying health conditions, treatments and wider pandemic effects. They have also been researching how the virus affects both mental and physical health. In addition, Strathclyde is undertaking nine projects that seek to tackle various aspects of the impact of COVID-19 with £230,000 allocated by the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). while the University is also using patient data to track the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic in near real time across Scotland. Other tech-based solutions have been appearing across the city, such as an R&D project between CENSIS, Semefab and the University of the West of Scotland’s Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging (ITFSI) and N-Tidal by Wideblue.
Beyond research and tech-based innovation, various organisations across the City Region have been repurposing equipment and thinking outside the box in order to provide vital kit to support the fight against COVID-19. Protective equipment is making its way to the NHS thanks to Glasgow Caledonian University’s 3D-printing operation. The Innovation School at Kelvinside Academy has also played their part, utilising their Prusa 3D printers to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment for local NHS workers. In addition, a large number of Scottish engineers, scientists and manufacturers have come together and turned their expertise to producing needed equipment for NHS workers and patients in the fight against coronavirus.
Reliable testing on a large scale is recognised as a vital part of the journey out of the COVID-19 crisis and the City region has stepped up to the challenge. Glasgow Airport’s Long-stay Car Park has been transformed into a drive-thru mobile testing clinic. The University of Glasgow has also played host to a major COVID-19 testing facility in Glasgow.