The President of NUI Galway has said significant investment in profound research focused on helping human health and well-being during the current health emergency will be announced today by the Taoiseach.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said the funding will support medical, technical and social research projects specifically focused on Covid-19, a number of which are based at NUI Galway.

He said the funding support shows the importance of the public service in responding to Covid-19 and the role of research in supporting public good.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said that the current health crisis has highlighted the vital role of research and evidence more generally in realising our responses.

A number of the research projects are in the technical and medical areas, including a project to maximise ventilator usage and another which looks at developing anti-viral agent wipes.

Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said many of these offer profound responses.

The project on ventilators involves two teams which are looking at how to share ventilators more effectively and have them calibrated for two patients rather than one.

It will look at issues around infection control and improving oxygen delivery.
Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said that NUIG's relationship with the med-tech sector and hospitals has been very useful in making care available to patients at this critically vital time.

Another project under way in partnership with the Health Service Executive and the Defence Forces is looking to develop anti-viral wipes to help prevent the transmission of the virus.

The social science research, Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said, is about "the life of the heart" and will look at the importance of empathy as we understand living in a different type of society.

A second project will look at health behaviour changes in society more generally.

He said this research can also help us to "re-imagine our humanity".

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