Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dear Alumni and Friends

We hope you and your loved ones remain in good health at this extraordinary time.

Here at UCD, the safety and wellbeing of our students, colleagues, and wider community is our utmost priority as together we face the challenge of containing the spread of COVID-19. Physical classes and tutorials on campus have been suspended and teaching and learning is instead progressing by technological means, including video conferencing, online chat rooms, and podcasts.

At UCD Alumni Relations we remain committed to our vision for the advancement of UCD as a global centre of excellence in education and research. However, despite everyone’s best efforts, it is not business as usual. Rather, we are seeking creative and innovative ways of working together as a remote team and remaining engaged with our friends and supporters as we navigate this new normal. You may continue to reach us by phone at +353 1 7161447 or email at alumnicommunications@ucd.ie.

One of the most effective actions we can take to slow the spread of the virus is to practise social distancing, and so we are not organising in-person meetings at present. We are also working to reschedule a number of our upcoming events.

Now, more than ever, it is vital that we keep open the lines of communication and support one another in solidarity. The constant barrage of worrying news can leave us feeling overwhelmed and anxious, but there is good news too, and cause for hope. As Ireland’s Global University, UCD has a vital role to play in shaping our response to the current crisis nationally and globally, culturally and scientifically. Be assured that our brightest minds are rising to the challenge across all academic disciplines, from medicine, science and engineering to the arts and humanities.

The Presidents of all Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology sent a joint letter to students. We will leave you with their parting words – wise advice for all of us as we find our way through the coming months:

“Be kind to each other and take care of yourselves and each other. Let’s give each other the space to find our way through these challenging times, and the time to find humanity and meaning here too.”

UCD Community Stepping Up To Coronavirus

Through research, innovation and frontline delivery of our healthcare services, UCD academics are at the forefront of the nationwide effort to combat coronavirus

Dr Patrick Wall, Professor of Public Health in UCD, responding to the UK’s coronavirus lockdown with the British public ordered to stay at home.

Dr Tom Curran from the UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering on how the current societal changes could have a detrimental impact on our environment.

Dr Cillian De Gascun – a medical virologist, chair of the HSE’s Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group, and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at UCD – on the latest developments around contact tracing and scaling our testing capacity.

A look inside Ireland’s first remote contact tracing coordination centre located within the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science. With Dr Patrick Wall, Professor of Public Health, and Mary Codd, Associate Professor in UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.

The Open Source Ventilator project is the brainchild of Colin Keogh, a 3D printing expert from UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering who has previously appeared on Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” ranking of leading innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. The project is seeking to develop a working ventilator that can be built using 3D printers and off-the-shelf components.

Speaking here with presenter Baz Ashmawy, Professor Patrick Mallon (Professor of Microbial Diseases in UCD School of Medicine and a Consultant in Infectious Diseases in St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin) gives an update on the current pandemic, and again stresses the importance of social distancing.

Associate Professor Paul D’Alton is co-director of the MSc in Mindfulness Based Interventions and teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across UCD School of Psychology. He is also Head of Psychology at St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Professor Mary Horgan, a world-renowned expert in infectious disease and UCD Alumni Award Winner in Health and Agricultural Sciences, has been one of the leading voices on the importance of social distancing in controlling the spread of the pandemic.

Due to the cancellation of Agri Aware’s “Farm Walk & Talk 2020” educational series, the Irish agri-food body along with the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science have gone the extra mile and created a series of videos from UCD Lyons Farm to support students and teachers. More than 1,600 Leaving Cert Agricultural Students from over 60 secondary schools nationwide participated in the ‘Farm Walk and Talk 2020’ which took place in the Teagasc Colleges and Research Farms across Ireland.

Based within NovaUCD, Akkure’s risk assessment tool aims to give users an idea of their status and the impact the coronavirus could have on their health within 90 seconds.

UCD COVID-19 Emergency Fund

UCD Foundation has launched an Emergency Fund in support of the ongoing response to Covid-19. With your support we will rise to this challenge. There are five urgent priorities to which a tax-efficient gift of €250 or more could make a real difference:

UCD’s Ongoing Covid-19 Response

UCD is at the forefront of the response to this pandemic. We want to support the selfless dedication of academic staff and students of UCD schools working on the front line to save lives by funding materials costs for making PPE and hand sanitiser on campus, as well as supporting other priorities as they arise. We want to ensure that we all play our part in making a meaningful difference. Your support in this effort is vital. Whatever it takes, we aim to do it.

Student Hardship Funding

The current pandemic will leave a great number of current and prospective students in urgent need of financial aid. UCD supporters will likely recall our feature on Colin Keogh (pictured) in last year’s donor impact report.

Colin’s story highlights the impact of student support on individuals and their families. But the programme’s real impact is far greater and wide reaching. Colin is currently leading the global Open Source Ventilator initiative in response to Covid-19. This creative effort to allow life-saving ventilators to be produced quickly and easily anywhere in the world using 3D printing has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.

We cannot afford to lose the potential of UCD students just like Colin, whose impact on the world right at this moment could be transformative.

Pandemic Research Fund

As Ireland’s leading research university, our academic staff are on the frontline leading clinical trials with COVID-19 patients in intensive care, while UCD researchers are manufacturing reagents, developing national contact tracing capability, and investigating new ways to tackle the disease. Our researchers hope to expand Ireland’s testing capacity by developing novel approaches to delivering essential reagents for COVID-19 testing – responding to the collapse of supply chains due to unprecedented international demands. Your financial support for research at UCD will enable us to make a valuable contribution in solving the current crisis as quickly as possible and mitigating for the future.

Adapting our Learning Environment for a Changed World

As they adapt to learning from home, students face challenges like broadband access/signal, lack of privacy or simply not having a laptop or PC. It is vital that such students can still excel remotely. We are working hard to make a host of online supports available to our student body. Here in Belfield, we must also create a new normality that includes enhanced automated access to buildings.

Mental Health

The University has a duty of care to protect the mental health of our students. We recognise that this is now more important than ever. We therefore want to fund a minimum of three additional student advisors and provide on-campus resources to support students who may be affected by the current crisis. Your support is crucial to delivering this.

Click here to find out more and to make a donation.

Helpful Tips & Resources

Tips and other resources to help you manage anxiety, put news reports in perspective and maintain a positive outlook.

UCD Nature and Biodiversity Colouring Book

Kingfisher, Mallard, Holly Blue, Orange Tip – Want to know more about them? Check out the UCD Nature and Biodiversity colouring book written by UCD Green Campus Coordinators, supported by Estate Services.

The Choral Scholars of UCD

 During this difficult time of social distancing, The Choral Scholars bring you ‘Body of the Moon’, a beautiful composition based on the texts of Galileo. As Galileo Galilei reminds us in the texts, we are all connected to each other through our common humanity.

Finding it hard to sleep? 

Dr Paul D’Alton, Associate Professor in UCD School of Psychology, presents mini podcasts on staying calm during stressful periods on RTÉ’s Drivetime. Check out “Finding it hard to sleep?” and “A guide to calming the mind” to listen to his advice.

THANK YOU TO THESE COMMUNITY MEMBERS

During an extraordinary time for UCD, our nation, and the world, the following UCD community members have been recognized for going the extra mile to keep our community functioning and safe.Thank someone today.

Lydia Cumiskey

Thank you, Lydia, for bringing you skills of encouragement to handmade cards and items to lift people's spirits and to raise money for Pieta House! Beautiful work in a beautiful direction.

- Beata Lobel, UCD Medicine Alumnae

Research group on Covid 19

I wish to sincerely express my appreciation to all wonderful people in UCD who are doing such trojan work in these difficult times.You are all legends and must be admired.
Keep up the good work and all I can say to whoever sees this message is please donate as it is badly needed by us in Ireland and indeed the entire world.The research work is fantastic.

- Judge Patrick McMahon, B.C.L and LL.B graduate in 1964 and 1965

UCD Alumni Relations

Thank you UCD Alumni Relations, for posting inspirational messages and sharing stories. We are all together in this.

- Artur Paprzycki, Alumni of Forensic Computing & Cybercrime

Employees,alumni,students and friends. This has been a strange time in Ireland and around the world we are all in touch in staying apart. Shine your light, follow medical advice, use your critical thinking and we will see this through.

Thank you to all front-line workers.

- Kathleen O'Connor, Social science

All our frontline workers and everyone doing their bit to fight this pandemic

Thank you all! Your selflessness and kind nature and your tireless efforts to fight this awful pandemic is much appreciated! Well done!
Míle Buíochas daoibh go léir!

- Catherine Morrissey-Smyth, Higher Education

The department who manage the grounds of UCD

A big thank you for those responsible for maintaining the grounds of UCD Belfied campus, in particular, the woodland walkways.

Thankfully we live 2km from the campus and we can take our walks there, at this time. It is a wonderful amenity for which we are very grateful at this time.

- Carmel Gilbride, Alumni and former staff member

Prof. Mary Codd & Prof. Patrick Wall

For all of their hard work setting up, managing and developing the Covid-19 contact tracing centre to a level of excellence. For keeping volunteers interested and for being keen, passionate and unmovable in their quest to assist, aid and better public health, on the island of Ireland.

- Karl Conyard, ALumni and ex Staff at CSTAR UCD

Alan Thompson and David Crampton

A big thank you to Alan Thompson in the UCD Centre for Emergency Medical Science and David Crampton in UCD School of Medicine for coordinating the collection of PPE across UCD, and delivery of the equipment to Dublin hospitals and frontline healthcare providers.

Thanks also to those in UCD Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Science who generously raided their lab stores to donate equipment. They are all heroes, playing their part to combat COVID-19.

- Cella Carr, UCD Foundation