Ministerial letter thanks universities for supporting the national coronavirus effort

The Universities Minister Michelle Donelan and Science Minister Amanda Solloway have written to universities expressing their gratitude for all the work the sector is doing in the fight against coronavirus.

The letter states: “We are very grateful for all the work that universities have been doing in the fight against Coronavirus. This is happening in so many different ways, and we are very proud to be ministers of the sector at a time when you are pulling together in spite of other challenges you face. Every single day, we are hearing of new great activities in which you are leading the way – you are making a real difference.

Research expertise

“Crucially, you are helping to mobilise health students including nursing, allied health and medical students to work in hospitals and core facilities. Many of you have offered vital services such as lab space and accommodation, applying your research expertise to develop the medicine and equipment needed to combat the virus, donating PPE and organising volunteers to help the front-line services. It is not lost on us that this effort is being made while you are working hard to provide continuity and support for students and staff.

“We would like to take this opportunity to stress that we do not underestimate the huge challenges you are facing.”

Sector support

The letter also draw attention to some of the specific areas that currently need the sector’s support:

  • Equipment: particularly Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, wipes, swabs etc needed for testing.
  • Accommodation: in particular, rooms for NHS staff to use or for patients who are eligible for discharge or with non-intensive healthcare needs, and for identified vulnerable groups more generally (e.g. rough sleepers).
  • Workforce: the NHS has a need for registered and unregistered healthcare workers, as well as a range of key roles in non-clinical areas to help to deliver essential patient care.
  •  Increasing testing capacity: The Government wants university support to meet its target to increase testing – by supplying materials and equipment, helping to supply complete testing methods, providing new testing methods in four key areas and providing laboratory capacity.

Staff in a wide variety of areas at Liverpool are working hard to assist the NHS and carry out research as part of the global effort to combat coronavirus.

Pump-priming funding

Twenty-two new COVID-19 projects led by researchers at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) are about to begin following a £1.1million boost of pump-priming funding, provided through the support of the University of Liverpool, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Charity, CEIDR Innovations and the NIHR HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections. The funding builds on £10 million of external grant funding that Liverpool researchers have already secured, enabling more than 150 researchers from the University and LSTM to work together alongside NHS and industry partners to deliver an ambitious and innovative programme of work.

The research efforts are summarised at: and


Together with Liverpool Health Partners, the University is delivering an integrated approach to supporting the city’s public health agenda. We’re making as much equipment as possible available to the NHS and have provided a number of oxygen compressors as well as 53 PRC machine and reagents to the local NHS to scale up testing for the virus.

We’re also making student accommodation and University car parks available to NHS staff. Some workers have already moved into Melville Grove halls of residence, which is situated near to the hospital on the outskirts of the city centre and has been made exclusively available to NHS staff during this time.

Front-line medicine

Many clinical academics and final-year medical students are taking positions in front-line medicine and thousands of Y1-4 medical students and staff volunteers are supporting in non-clinical areas such as providing childcare for key workers and helping with food distribution across the city.

The University has also launched a ‘COVID-19 Emergency Fundraising Campaign’ to support its world-leading research programme into combatting the disease as well as providing necessary support for the NHS and the Liverpool City Region. Please read about the campaign and about our ground-breaking work, and share this information via your own social media and other virtual networks.

The full letter from Universities Minister Michelle Donelan and Science Minister Amanda Solloway can be read here.