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Coronavirus developments at a glance—7 May

A look at Covid-19 funding, UK university woes, and EU cash collections

Focus on funding: Our Funding Insight team look into how the pandemic has revealed Africa’s enhanced research capacity but may threaten international funding, speak to Norwegian researchers about how to get rapid clinical trials off the ground, and take a look at a modern languages project tracking the coronavirus pandemic.


Universities will be forced to set budgets “in the dark” in the absence of a more comprehensive support package from the government, shadow universities minister Emma Hardy has warned in an open letter to students and staff, published exclusively on Research Professional News on 6 May

UK Research and Innovation has signed a joint statement committing to the rapid and widespread sharing of research data and findings relevant to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Four unions are demanding the scrapping of tuition fees for all student nurses, which they say have left the nursing workforce with “one arm effectively tied behind its back” during the pandemic.

Research leaders have welcomed the success of a global fundraising drive for Covid-19 R&D, which has raised $8 billion for work on vaccines, diagnostic tests and therapeutics, and moves to make them accessible and affordable worldwide.

The European Commission’s plan to steer EU member states’ research and innovation on Covid-19 “lacks a clear international dimension”, an influential advisory committee has said. World-renowned Belgian virologist Peter Piot has been appointed special adviser on Covid-19 to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

The head of the health network of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology has said he is “frustrated” that the EIT has received no additional funding in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, despite a similar EU funder being showered with extra money.

Some research activities are taking place in locked-down South Africa, with permits offered for essential business on a case-by-case basis. But as the lockdown levels lift it’s unclear what qualifies and when urgent research can start again—and scientists whose work is time-sensitive are getting desperate.

South Africa’s higher education minister has admitted that half the country’s universities might not finish the 2020 academic year.