SRUC awarded £36,000 to research Covid-19 in rural Scotland

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is one of 15 Scottish universities and research institutions contributing to global efforts to combat coronavirus and its wider effects.

SRUC has been awarded more than £36,000 to study the quantitative epidemiology of Covid-19 in rural areas.

It follows the Scottish Government announcement that it would release £5 million for research projects to increase the understanding of Covid-19, screen potential treatments and support clinical trials.

The 55 rapid research projects funded by the money aim to:

  • Better understand the effects of infection;
  • Develop and test new diagnostics and treatments;
  • Investigate new disease surveillance approaches;
  • Inform interventions to prevent transmission of infection;
  • Support the mental health of frontline health and social care workers;
  • Understand the physical and mental health implications of lockdown measures.

Prof. Eileen Wall, head of research at SRUC, said: “This extremely competitive rapid response research call had a strong NHS focus, helping to develop solutions for Scotland to respond to the Covid-19 challenges.

“A total of 139 projects were submitted from 19 Scottish higher education institutes and partners, including five diverse research projects proposed by SRUC researchers and partners.

Building on a wealth of experience in animal disease epidemiology, Dr. Aaron Reeves will work with SRUC and NHS Highland colleagues to undertake a six-month project looking at the quantitative epidemiology of Covid-19 in rural Scotland.

“It highlights how important it is for us to think outside our traditional research domain and area of activity to help deliver solutions for the current challenges we face, and we will work with all the project teams to explore other funding opportunities for their ideas.”

The Rapid Research in Covid-19 funding call was launched by the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office on March 25.

All the research projects will start immediately and will be complete within a six-month timeframe.