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Coronavirus developments at a glance—28 May

Covid-19 quick bids, pressure grows in Research Professional News’s nursing tuition fees campaign, and more

Covid-19 Funding Insight: This week from our specialist Funding Insight section: a university funder and grantee on the pressures of quick bids and processes


Our debt, not theirs: Research Professional News’s campaign, Our Debt, Not Theirs, urges the UK government to immediately guarantee that nursing students working on the NHS front line during the coronavirus pandemic will not pay tuition fees while they work.

Today, Conservative MP Robert Halfon writes that the government must clarify whether student nurses on the frontline should pay for tuition. And UK prime minister Boris Johnson promises answers on student nurses’ tuition fees.


The government has confirmed the membership and terms of reference for the taskforce it says will sustain “the university research base and its capability to contribute effectively to UK society and economy in the recovery to coronavirus”. This comes as a voluntary redundancy scheme has opened at the University of Sussex after its council backed the move, citing financial worries caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The UK “did not learn the lessons” from previous outbreaks of other coronavirus infections and as a result was unprepared to meet the demand for testing at the beginning of the current pandemic, according to the prime minister.

The European Commission thinks that funding for health R&D under its Horizon Europe scheme should be increased to “scale up the research effort for challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic”.

United States
Democrat lawmakers have accused the Department of Education of “squandering” emergency pandemic relief funding for universities by providing a uniform grant of $500,000, regardless of institutions’ needs.

Laboratory research by postgraduate and undergraduate students will resume at South Africa’s universities when the country proceeds to level 3 of its nationwide lockdown on 1 June. Top scientists have backed Glenda Gray, South African Medical Research Council president, in a row with health department officials.

And read about how an African science granting network created a Covid-19 programme in record time.