Covid-19 research projects

Researchers in Cheshire and Merseyside have come together to share their knowledge and learnings of the effects of COVID-19 on local people.

A series of studies are taking place across our Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to understand how the pandemic and subsequent lockdown has affected the region’s population.

University of Liverpool

Covid-Liv Cohort Study: The Psychological and social impact of Covid 19

Professor Kate Bennett and Professor Rhiannon Corcoran

This study explores the psychological and social impact of COVID-19 and associated restrictions on disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the Liverpool City Region. Discover more about the methodology and our latest findings here.


Understanding choice, control and risk in public and community responses to Covid-19 across the health divide to inform public health strategies in the UK and Malawi

Professor Mark Gabbay and Dr Nicola Desmond

The aim of this research project is to understand the perception and actions around risk related to the pandemic.


Testimonies of Care in the Context of Covid-19: meditations on medical and healthcare work at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Professor Ciara Kierans, Professor Bridget Young; Dr Sylviane Defres, Dr Fran Sherratt, Dr Morven Cook

We are working with healthcare staff at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital to generate a sample of accounts of providing care in the context of Covid-19. This project will provide a living document of healthcare practice, as well as the challenges for supporting staff.


Let’s Keep Talking

Professor Philippa Hunter Jones, Chloe Spence and Dr Rachel Spence

This is an evaluation of a telephone-based mental health support service introduced in response to the first COVID-19 lockdown, and the mental health trauma experienced by people unable to access support. Read about out our work and latest findings here as well as our recent blog.


Covid-19 Community Mental Health Teams study

Professor Elizabeth Perkins

This study explores the impact of COVID-19 on people working in community mental health teams (CMHTs).


Optimising COVID-19 adaptations for ethical, equitable and quality delivery of essential health services and more resilient health systems

Professor Sally Theobald, Dr Lucy Frith, Professor Miriam Taegtmeyer, Dr Laura Dean, Professor Imelda Bates and Zeela Zaizay

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of COVID-19 on health systems in the UK and Liberia and learn to promote stronger health systems in the immediate recovery phase and beyond. The study brings together teams from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Liverpool, and from Liberia.


Responding to the COVID-19 economic (after) shocks: Developing learning and resources to strengthen the resilience of the Liverpool City Region economy

Professor Mark Boyle and Sue Jarvis

Utilising a global comparative method this project asks: On which metrics have British cities failed the COVID-19 test? Why have British cities failed them? What does failure tell us about what leaders need to fix?  Find out more by reading our policy briefs here or listen to our podcasts.

Intermin Report

Generating actionable evidence for containing the spread of misinformation

Dr Mark Green

This project supports response operations through studying the emotional responses of individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly focusing on the spread of misinformation and ‘fake news’ on social media. Read more about our findings here.


When pandemic and everyday ethics collide: supporting ethical decision-making in maternity care and paediatrics during the Covid-19 pandemic – NHS Reset Ethics

Dr. Lucy Frith, Dr. Caroline Redhead, Dr. Anna Chiumento and Dr. Carol Grey (UoL), Prof. Heather Draper and Dr. Paul Baines (University of Warwick) and Prof. Sara Fovargue (Lancaster University)

We have been researching the distinctive ethical issues raised by what we have called ‘the reset period’, when non-Covid services resumed as the pandemic continued in the UK.

In April 2020, as the first wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was subsiding, the UK Government declared that non COVID-19 clinical services must resume but that capacity to manage subsequent waves of COVID-19 should be maintained. This created a unique ‘reset’ context in which it became critical to consider how ethical considerations did, and should, underpin decisions about how to restore and recover (or ‘reset’) health services. Our ‘Reset ethics’ research is exploring these ethical issues as hospitals ‘reset’ normal services alongside coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

Find out more about our research and our findings, and read our newsletters, publications and responses to recent calls for evidence, by visiting our Reset Ethics website.


Exploring remote working practices for patient public involvement and engagement (PPIE) in health and social care research – responding to Covid-19 and rising health inequalities

Lucy Frith, Shaima Hassan, Mark Gabbay, Muhammad Hossain, Verity Watson, Luis Loria and Katie Bristow

This project focuses on the shift to remote forms of working in patient public involvement and engagement (PPIE) brought on by Covid-19 prevention measures. It is important to consider how social distancing, ongoing forms of lock-down and the resultant economic down-turn will affect participation and diversity in PPIE. Developing good remote working practices in PPIE is becoming increasingly important for all health and social care research carried out in the UK. For further information please visit our website.


Covid-19 CARE - Culture and the Arts, from Restriction to Enhancement: Protecting Mental Health in the Liverpool City Region

Professor Josie Billington

This UKRI/AHRC-funded project seeks to assess the impact of COVID-19 on arts and cultural provision in the Liverpool City Region and on the mental health of those whom arts and cultural organisations serve. Read our Heseltine Policy Brief or find further details about the study here.


The effects of Covid-19 measures on mental health of Syrian refugees in Istanbul

Dr Luca Bernardi

Funded by a COVID-19 ODA Rapid Response Fund, this project was designed to understand the effects of Covid-19 measures on the mental health of Syrian refugees in Istanbul. Further details can be found here.


The consequences of Covid-19 responses on mental health and political attitudes

Dr Luca Bernardi

The project is funded by a British Academy Special Research Grant on COVID-19 to understand the consequences of Covid-19 responses on mental health and political attitudes in Britain. Funder details can be found here.


Being Alone Together: Developing Fake News Immunity

Dr Elena Musi

The project is about empowering citizens to understand and engage with the information manipulations they encounter on the Internet during COVID-19. The goal is to reverse-engineer the manipulation of information providing citizens with the means to act as fact checkers and communication gatekeepers with the means to avoid creating and spreading misleading news. Further information is available here.


Examining the potential long-term consequences of COVID-19 on the mental health of health and social care workers due to possible embitterment about what happened during the pandemic response

Professor Jon Cole and Chloe Brennan

We are examining the potential long-term consequences of COVID-19 on the mental health of health and social care workers due to possible embitterment about what happened during the pandemic response. Listen to Jon Cole talk about the project.


Understanding the dynamics of policy development and healthcare worker behaviour in the UK during the COVID-19 public health emergency

Prof Sally Sheard, Dr Nina Gobat (Oxford), Dr Paul Atkinson, Dr Hayley Mableson, Prof Tom Solomon

This UKRI-funded project aims to understand how UK policymakers have arrived at decisions during COVID-19, and the impact of those decisions on healthcare workers. It is a novel longitudinal study, drawing on interviews conducted during the first year of the pandemic. Find out more about the study here.


Lives on Hold, Our Stories Told (LOHST): Exploring The Legal and Social Impacts of Covid-19 on Young Unaccompanied Asylum-Seekers in England

Professor Helen Stalford, Dr Elaine Chase, Dr Jana Kreppner, Shpresa Programme

This research will provide the first detailed study of the legal and welfare effects of COVID-19 on unaccompanied asylum seekers aged 16 – 25. The study will give a voice to young unaccompanied asylum seekers, with a focus on Albanians as a particularly marginalised group. Find further information here.


Implications of COVID-19 for modern slavery challenges in supply chain management

Dr Bruce Pinnington, Dr Joanne Meehan, Dr Alex Trautrims (University of Nottingham, Rights Lab).

This research will explore challenges in addressing modern slavery in corporate supply chains whilst responding to COVID-19 disruptions. Insights into (de)prioritisation of modern slavery will provide evidence on whether existing progress is being undermined. Further information can be found here.


Exploring the use of remote and digital/online services, and the perceived effectiveness of this mode of delivery in addressing young people’s mental health needs

Professor Rhiannon Corcoran, Dr Shaima Hassan and Dr Joanne Worsley

With funding from Liverpool CCG’s Research Capability Funding, this study will use mixed methods to explore children, young people, parent/carer and service providers’ experiences of online services delivered by Liverpool’s CAMHS team.

Liverpool John Moores University  

PHOENIX project: A survey of People and Households Ongoing Efforts in Response to the National COVID-19 Guidance and its Impacts Across

Prof Viv Hope

The PHOENIX project is a study examining how government restrictions about social distancing have been received, to understand the health and wellbeing-related impact, and to explore if and how these impacts differ across population groups.


Incorporating COVID-19 surveillance into Intelligence & Monitoring Systems

Mark Whitfield and Prof Viv Hope

The Integrated Monitoring System dataset which covers needle service provision across Cheshire and Merseyside has been expanded in order to ascertain the impact of Covid-19 and social distancing restrictions on people who inject drugs across the sub-region. Click here for further information.

Strengthening the public health response to violence against women and children

Prof Zara Quigg

The project has been delivered in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and involved an assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on violence against women and children across the European Region, and public health responses to assist WHO in supporting country prevention and response efforts. Read our latest paper in the BMJ here.


Local assessment of unmet needs in communities

Dr Hannah Timpson

This study explores the impact of COVID-19 on 71 Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) organisations across the Liverpool City Region.


Health & Equity in Recovery Plans Working Group

Dr Lisa Jones & Dr Andy Turner (Combined Authority)

The purpose of the Health & Equity in Recovery Plans Working Group was to assist with the development of priorities and mitigating actions to support economic recovery in the Liverpool City Region without exacerbating existing inequalities. Read more in our blog for LHP here.

Read our rapid evidence review of the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 here and our Heseltine Institute Policy Briefing here.


Ask, Listen, Act: Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities adversely affected by COVID-19 lockdowns

Dr Emma Ashworth (LJMU), Dr Joanna Kirkby (LJMU), Prof Lucy Bray (EHU),  Prof Amel Alghrani (UoL)

Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns.  Many suffered isolation and had their access to education, health services and social, emotional and mental health support disrupted or withdrawn.

Read about the latest findings here.

Edge Hill University    

An exploratory study of cyberbullying and cyberstalking in the academic context during COVID-19

Dr Anna Bussu (PI), Dr Sally Ann Ashton, Prof. Manuela Pulina, (University of Sassari, Italy)

The study aims to examine stalking-related behaviours and whether exposure to such behaviour was related to respondents’ self-perception of being a stalking victim. It will be focused on cyberstalking and cyberbullying. It will explore the impact of cyberstalking and cyberbullying on students’ and staff life, their knowledge and reactions to these behaviours during the pandemic.


Arts for the Blues: An evidence-based creative psychological group intervention for depression - adapting to the new Covid-19 world

Prof Vicky Karkou in collaboration with the University of Salford and support from Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Mersey Care.

 We are looking to understand how recruitment, research tools and treatment manuals of an evidence-based creative psychological group intervention can be modified to reflect client needs and structures in diverse community and NHS services. For more detailed information please visit:  


A multi-levelled evidence-based creative psychological intervention to support NHS clinical staff affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: a feasibility study

Prof Vicky Karkou

The study will evaluate a creative psychological intervention for NHS clinical staff affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in one NHS Trust. The intervention is based on previous research with patients with depression called Arts for the Blues which we will adapt to the needs of NHS staff affected by the pandemic.


NURSe COVID study: a qualitative exploration of experiences of NUrses with Respiratory Skills working during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Carol Kelly

This study aims to explore respiratory nurses’ experiences, approaches and adaptations to respiratory patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges, learning and adaptions warrant sharing within the respiratory nursing community, the wider nursing and respiratory communities, and the NHS.

For more information, please visit


An exploratory study of attitudes and awareness of Covid-19 among emergency medical service workers in several European countries

Kacper Sumera

The aim of this project was to measure emergency medical service workers’ knowledge, attitudes, perception and risk of COVID-19 to themselves and the general public, including their views of policies and procedures designed to manage the pandemic. The study has been conducted in several European countries.


An exploration of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on individual and organisational performance in an NHS Ambulance Service in England

Paresh Wankhade

This study examines the impacts of the pandemic context on the lived experience of individual and small groups and teams in an Ambulance Service setting and its implications for organisational response including lessons learned for preparedness and planning.

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