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      A message from our Vice-Chancellor and President

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      A message from our Vice-Chancellor and President

      Professor Chris Day outlines some of the many ways the University is contributing to the effort to combat Covid-19.

      Important role to play

      These are unprecedented times, for Newcastle and for the world. In the space of a few short weeks, people’s lives have been turned upside down in a way that none of us could have foreseen.

      As the Covid-19 crisis unfolds around the world, I have been reflecting on our beginnings as a University, founded to address the economic, health and social needs of an industrial city.

      Now more than ever before, as we witness history in the making, our University has an important role to play in supporting our partners, our city and our region.

      Chris Day

      Students and staff contributing to the effort to combat Covid-19

      Each day brings new challenges, but each day also brings inspiring new stories of the many and various ways in which our students and staff are contributing to the effort to combat Covid-19, harnessing their knowledge, creativity and energy to good effect for the benefit of society as a whole.

      Our homes have become our classrooms and our offices. Researchers across all three of our Faculties have mobilised, redirecting their expertise towards developing rapid diagnostics and targeted experimental therapy for Covid-19, studying the resilience of food chains and food security as the crisis unfolds and informing government policy on the consequences of Covid-19 restrictions for the rural economy. Our energy experts are looking at the effects of the lockdown on energy use across the UK and our data scientists are monitoring the impact on our urban environment.

      Members of our Faculty of Medical Sciences staff are now working in the COVID-19 screening facility in one of our hospitals, and we have loaned some of our equipment to the national screening centre in Milton Keynes. Our design engineers are preparing to manufacture ventilator components using 3D printing.

      Students providing much-needed capacity

      Some 300 of our medical students graduated five weeks early, to enable them to begin their careers as doctors, providing much needed capacity in our Health Service.

      Elsewhere, a team of fourth and final year students have set up the North East group of Medical Students Helping Hands, part of a national volunteering initiative that is providing practical help with childcare, shopping, and in some cases animal care, for our overstretched health workers.

      Computer Science students are volunteering to support NHS IT helpdesks.

      We will continue to work together to support the national and international effort to combat Covid-19, and in doing so, I have every confidence that the things we do here can, and will, make a difference.

      Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President

      Supporting carers and parents

      We’re providing free online courses for carers of people with dementia, helping to reduce isolation during current restrictions on social activities, and our academics are sharing online ideas to support parents with home schooling.

      Offering free accommodation to health professionals

      Our Estate is playing its part too. We are offering free accommodation in University Halls of Residence close to one of our major hospitals for healthcare professionals, and providing them with free car parking on campus.

      Our maintenance team is offering to provide emergency cover for the team at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

      We will be sharing more information about these and other examples of how our Newcastle community is responding to the Covid-19 crisis in these pages in the days and weeks to come.

      Excellence, creativity and impact

      The values of excellence, creativity and impact that are at the heart of our vision and strategy for the University, and the principles of working together, visibly leading, responding to current and future challenges, and freedom and opportunity to succeed that guide us in all that we do have never been more in evidence than they are at this moment.

      We will continue to work together to support the national and international effort to combat Covid-19, and in doing so, I have every confidence that the things we do here can, and will, make a difference.

      Professor Chris Day
      Vice-Chancellor and President

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