More than 700 members of the public have given over £150,000 to an online fundraising appeal for coronavirus research at Oxford. The funds are being distributed on a regular basis to high-priority projects capable of having an immediate impact on the pandemic, such as those focusing on vaccine development, clinical care and drug delivery.

Launched in the middle of March, Oxford’s public appeal is harnessing the power of collaborative giving to incredible effect. Collectively, gifts of all sizes make a significant difference to the University’s response, helping clinical trials to continue at pace, keeping supply lines moving and ensuring that scientists can forge ahead at both speed and scale.

Cryovials and blood samples from the first volunteer to receive Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Sean Elias

Online donations have been made to the public appeal from all around the world and at all levels, ranging from £3 up to £10,000. As well as giving directly via the website, a number of supporters have been inspired to set up their own mini fundraising appeals through the University’s Virgin Money Giving page.

Sue Pollard is one of those currently rallying friends and family to support coronavirus research at Oxford through the platform. ‘I wanted to do my bit in the fight against COVID-19,’ explains Sue, who has already raised £1,500. ‘Having a new knee and a new hip, a marathon is out of the question! So I have decided to donate a percentage of my state pension for the next three months to the efforts being made by Oxford University’s Medical Sciences Division to find a vaccine.’

With 150 senior scientists at the University now working on every conceivable aspect of the pandemic, the need for fast and flexible funding has never been more acute. Oxford’s coronavirus research fund directly meets this need by bringing together the many gifts that have been given by the public with donations made by trusts, foundations, industry and philanthropists, as well as government research funding.

A number of high-priority projects have already received support through the fund, including trials of potential coronavirus treatments, population surveys to understand immunity levels, and the COVID-19 vaccine programme, which recently began trials in humans.

Gavin Screaton, Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University, says: ‘Flexible, fast-response funding, such as the 700+ donations given by the public to Oxford’s coronavirus research fund, has been, and still is, of paramount importance. While support from government and other research funders continues to be vital, the money raised through the online appeal has allowed our researchers to move even more rapidly.

‘We are learning more about this virus every day, and sharing our findings globally. We are optimistic about the efficacy of our results, including drug trials and our vaccine candidate. Thank you for helping us to mobilise so quickly and for being such an important part of the response. Together, we will continue to accelerate this time-critical research for global benefit.’

To support Oxford’s COVID-19 research effort, please make a gift to the appeal today.

Further information about the work being undertaken across the University can be found on the coronavirus microsite.