Insurer’s £225k support will fund key research by Pandemic Institute

Insurance group, Aviva, has funded key research projects into the longer term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK, carried out by Liverpool’s Pandemic Institute.

The £225,000 investment will support eight diverse research projects involving the Institute’s founding institutions, the University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Liverpool City Council.

Two projects are based around the impact of COVID-19 in the city:

  • Right to Health: Tackling health inequalities and promoting resilience among migrant, refugee and asylum seeker communities affected by COVID-19 in Liverpool. Principal lead: Prof Marie Claire Van Hout, Liverpool John Moores University.
  • Healthcare Communications and Information Distortion in Crisis Situations: The Case of COVID-19 in Merseyside. Principal lead: Prof Kay O’Halloran, chair Prof and Head of Department of Communication and Media in the School of the Arts, University of Liverpool.

Aviva’s funding will also enable six other research projects to take place, which are:

  • Hierarchical forecasting models for COVID-19 bed occupancy and admissions for individual NHS Trusts. Principal leads: Dr Christopher Overton and Dr Emily Nixon, University of Liverpool.
  • What are the long term impacts and implications of the pandemic on accessing and using health and social care for dementia? Principal lead: Dr Clarissa Giebel, University of Liverpool.
  • Estimating excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Cheshire and Merseyside. Principal lead: Dr Xingna Zhang, Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool.
  • Exploring the role of social and community trust in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic to inform future community pandemic preparedness and resilience in Malawi. Principal lead: Dr Nicola Desmond, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
  • Supply chain risk management during a pandemic: A public/private partnership insurance solution. Principal lead: Dr Hossein Sharifi, Reader in Operations and Supply Chain Management, University of Liverpool.
  • Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 response on the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people in Merseyside: A rapid assessment to inform support needs, strengthening of resilience, and inclusive responses to future pandemics. Principal lead: Prof Vivian Hope, Professor of Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University.

The Pandemic Institute aims to build strong, sustainable, resilient communities that are better prepared for future crisis events on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute has a strategic focus on emerging infections and future pandemic threats including influenza and Mpox, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever to Ebola and Japanese encephalitis.

COVID-19 research, however, still has a prominent role as the pandemic and its effects continue to evolve both in the UK and also globally.

Prof Tom Solomon, director of The Pandemic Institute, said: “We are very proud to announce these eight research projects into differing strands of COVID-19, which have been made possible by Aviva’s generous grant.

“This will help us take further steps forward in continuing to tackle COVID-19 and also to be better prepared for the future. The work we do from Liverpool has national and international impact and being able to further expand our research through these eight submissions will help keep us at the fore of the challenges around, and solutions to, COVID-19 and how best to recover from a pandemic.”

David Schofield, group sustainability director at Aviva, said: “Aviva exists to be there for our customers when it really matters. Part of Aviva’s sustainability ambition is to make 10 million people more resilient by 2025, as part of this we’re committed to help build health and wellbeing resilience by investing in the big challenges our customers and communities face.

“Funding research into how we can build stronger communities is so important. We look forward to the outcomes of this work.”

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