In response the COVID-19 pandemic, the Glasgow City region has capitalised on opportunities arising from its strengths in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to help tackle new societal challenges, and provide a platform to recover and re-build.
Over the course of July, as restrictions have lifted, our understanding of COVID19 has improved, and more avenues to tackle the virus are being identified as we look to a positive future and the journey towards building a sustainable recovery. For more info/examples of the COVID-related research and innovation happening in the Glasgow city region, check out our previous blog.
University of Glasgow contributed to a study which studied the lineage of the COVID-19 virus and found it has been circulating in bats for decades. These findings have implications for the prevention of future pandemics stemming from this lineage. A team of scientists at the University also showed that the virus can be transmitted (very rarely) to other animals, after identifying a cat in the UK that was infected with SARS-CoV-2, (the virus that causes COVID-19).
Researchers from UWS, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde and the Institute for Research & Innovation in Social Services will look to assess the psychological impact – and the wider social repercussions – of distancing and other Covid-19 related constraints. This work will help inform decision making with regards to implementing virtual technology in order to mitigate the mental toll that isolation places on individuals.
Glasgow product design agency Filament has been awarded funding to develop a protective barrier that could prevent airborne spread of bacteria during medical treatment. COVID-19 prompted the firm to design VapourSafe, a transparent barrier which creates a micro-environment around the patient, but through which medical staff can work safely. The hope is that the device will reduce the need for NHS staff to require PPE, which is not only restrictive but can be difficult to source. The funding comes from an Innovate UK competition designed to drive forward new technological advances borne out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 continues to step up to the challenge. O2 have announced a partnership with the NHS to launch a trial of a 5G connected COVID-19 clinic-on-wheels. The mobile clinic is designed to provide remote testing and tracking of care home residents and workers in Glasgow. The clinic can also deliver essential medical supplies. This will make testing more efficient and safer than ever. The University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School and James Watt School of Engineering, and O2’s Darwin Innovation Group have collaborated to bring this 5G-powered mobile clinic to life.
Thermal imaging cameras are being tested as a way of screening patients for a high temperature when they arrive at hospital. A company which supplies the military is working with the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to develop a system which can rapidly identify people with a fever. This will allow patients to be quarantined quickly and reduce the risk of transmission through the hospital, preventing potential outbreaks.
Senior Director of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Alison McRae has highlighted the importance of nurturing the next generation of young people moving into the workforce as key in order to stimulate economic recovery from COVID-19.
The Scottish Government-funded and business-driven Developing the Young Workforce has been praised for using virtual tech to run series of events during July and August to develop young people’s skills, whilst the business community in Glasgow, including Dell, Jacobs, Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Power, have looked to provide virtual work experiences, mock interviews and CV writing workshops.
In addition, hundreds vulnerable people across Glasgow will receive a free computer thanks to an innovative new refurbishment scheme backed by the Scottish Government. The innovative idea, which is the first of its kind, asks people to provide unused laptops which will be refurbished and distributed to people who can benefit from them. The behind REMADE stemmed from the inequalities that were highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will provide more people than ever with access to digital learning, resources, and development opportunities.
Finally, a new report has been published which urges Glasgow to invest a fleet of innovative electric buses prior to next years COP26 summit, with the report suggesting this investment will be key in increasing public confidence in public transport and stimulating a green recovery.
To keep up-to-date with the latest news surrounding science and innovation within the Glasgow City region, subscribe to our newsletter.