Fund for Covid-19 projects passes £1m mark

A University fund launched to address urgent challenges created by the Covid-19 virus has raised more than £1m.

The Covid-19 Partnerships Fund was launched in May to bolster efforts by the University’s community as they respond to the pandemic.  

The funds have been donated by University of Edinburgh alumni, supporters and staff for projects which address the pandemic.

One of the recipients of the fund is a project to identify new treatments for Covid-19 by repurposing existing drugs.

A team of 150 researchers, led by Professor Kev Dhaliwal, is focusing on the inflammatory pathways that lead directly to lung injury, associated with the most serious Covid-19 cases.

Researchers are attempting to block damaging types of inflammation in the early stages of the disease to change the course of infection and prevent the need for a ventilator.

Community Grants Scheme

The fund is also raising money for the University’s Community Grants Scheme, which supports grass-roots charities to provide essential services for those hardest hit by the effects of the virus in Edinburgh.

Projects supported by the Scheme have distributed emergency food supplies, provided IT equipment for families in need, and delivered support for carers. 

Student Hardship Fund

Donors can also contribute to the Student Hardship Fund to support students who are facing financial hardship as a result of the economic consequences and uncertainty created by the pandemic, including the loss of many summer jobs which students often rely on for essential living costs.

There have been more than 2,500 applications to the University’s Student Hardship Fund this year, more than 30 times the volume typically expected in any given year.

Donor contributions, in addition to University funding and support from the Scottish Government's package for Covid-related student hardship, will help the University to meet this continuing demand.

The funding has helped me massively and without this I feel I would have struggled financially and would have been questioning whether I would be able to complete my degree. I am entirely grateful for the money I have received, and I think it’s amazing that donors offer to help students during this difficult time in everyone’s lives.

Chloe O'BrienBSc Oral Health Sciences (4th year)

Support from the fund has also come from foundations and the corporate sector, including Santander Universities.

 Universities are doing some fantastic work to contribute to the UK’s effort to combat the outbreak of Covid-19, so we’re delighted to collaborate with our university partners in a way which increases their response effort and look forward to continuing to work with them on supporting both students and the broader higher education community with further initiatives over the coming months.

Matt HutnellDirector of Santander Universities


 The way our University community has come together to support the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic has offered some positivity and hope in what has been an exceptionally challenging time for so many people.

“We are enormously grateful to everyone who has taken the time to support the Covid-19 Partnerships Fund so far. We hope that donors continue to give to the fund, which will help our researchers better understand and treat the virus, and help us reach out to our local community and support our students during these challenging circumstances.

Chris CoxVice-Principal of Philanthropy and Advancement, University of Edinburgh


Covid-19 Partnerships Fund

Community Grants Scheme

Student Hardship Fund