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Coronavirus developments at a glance: 29 August to 4 September

This week’s coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic from Research Professional News

Scottish universities chose not to take part in the UK government’s restructuring scheme because they did not want to put their fate in the hands of the Department for Education, Scotland’s minister for further education, higher education and science has said.

The government has announced a £500 million funding package to boost testing technology and capacity in Covid-19 test trials. It also announced a raft of measures to enable the mass rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine, including a change of regulation of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency that would allow it to bypass EU rules if a vaccine is found before 2021.

A group of influential pharmaceutical and health technology companies are calling on the government to provide urgent financial support for medical research charities, which are facing an unprecedented shortfall in income as a result of coronavirus.

Students suffering from “digital poverty” are at risk of falling behind as teaching moves online, the Office for Students has warned ahead of a major review into digital education.

The European Commission has announced that it is exploring how the EU could participate in an international effort to secure equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Danish research is facing a historic decline in funding, according to the Forskerforum, due to a fall in GDP caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated and could entrench existing inequalities around working conditions and career progression in research, but also presents opportunities for lasting improvements, according to speakers at the EuroScience Open Forum.

South Africa’s science and innovation system was under pressure even before budgets were slashed to fund the country’s coronavirus response, the 2020 South African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators report reveals.

Women scientists have shouldered much of the extra laboratory work brought on by Covid-19, a webinar to discuss the challenges faced by women scientists in the pandemic has heard.

United States
The United States’ National Institutes of Health has established centres of excellence to research emerging disease-causing viruses in Africa and elsewhere.

The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare shortfalls in Australian higher education funding that were being “papered over” by international student revenues, according to two of the country’s leading education researchers.

New Zealand
New Zealand’s university system is being severely strained by the country’s latest round of coronavirus restrictions, with uncertainty continuing for postgraduates and staff even as restrictions ease.