SMSAS Staff Volunteer to Support Epidemic Modelling

Day to day work life at the University often focuses on our students, meaning that the powerhouse of research, skills and knowledge of our academic staff sometimes clicks and whirrs away in the background. While the impact of Covid-19 has been devastating, it has been a bittersweet to witness our research community volunteer to assist frontline services in the fight against the virus.

The Schools of Pharmacy and Biosciences are working with international partners to try and find Covid-19 therapies as well as loaning their equipment and volunteering to help perform tests for the virus in local hospitals. Meanwhile, our Forensic Science team have donated their PPE to the Infection Prevention and Control Team at the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. These are just a handful of stories of many that make us #ProudToBeKent.

The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science were not to be outdone by their colleagues and they too are offering their expertise and advice to help curb the spread of Covid-19. A high number of statisticians and mathematicians have volunteered as part of the Royal Society’s Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic call. The Royal Society have asked for help from all those who have expertise in modelling, be it specifically related to pandemics or not. The idea is to utilise a breadth and depth of knowledge in the hope that modelling the pandemic will be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Society’s results are instrumental and are used to inform government policies.

The Royal Society are aiming to produce their first clear results between April and July, with the objective of enhancing modelling capacity in order to examine the impact of different exit strategies from lockdown. Mechanistic models and data-driven exercises will form the first stages and then they will be filtered using real-world data from across the globe. An interdisciplinary approach will allow a more robust and complete prediction than would otherwise be possible.

Through working together, across disciplines and international borders, the fight against Covid-19 grows everyday and we are incredibly proud that our academics  will be performing such a crucial role in helping the NHS and government keep the nation safe.