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Latest round of funding brings USF's total coronavirus project commitment to $1 million

Latest round of funding brings USF's total coronavirus project commitment to $1 million

The University of South Florida has submitted a third round of funding for coronavirus-related research projects, bringing its total investment to over $1 million.

The latest round of "seed grants" will help fund 14 new coronavirus-related research projects. Those projects were tasked with partnering with community organizations, such as Tampa General Hospital and Feeding Tampa Bay, to make the research be put toward a more immediate, real-world use.

The university initially invested over $300,000 into 14 projects in April, then adding an additional $350,000 for 14 more projects in June. The latest is a $320,000 investment from the university and $100,000 from the Florida High Tech Corridor, to support five projects for a total 14 projects.

“Each of these projects tackles a specific shortcoming in the world’s ability to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and works to find a creative, innovative or inventive solution that can move from lab to market quickly,” Paul Sanberg, USF’s senior vice president for research, innovation and knowledge enterprise, said in a statement.

Some of the new research projects and partnerships include:

A Decentralized Digital ID for Pandemics

Community partner: Tampa-based BlockSpaces, a blockchain-focused organization

"The proposed project supports the development of a secure decentralized system using blockchain technology to provide essential services during pandemics such as access to reliable information, optimal patient care, essential goods, and privacy-preserving proofs of immunity, and immutable proof of Covid-19 tests."

Impact of Covid-19 on The Management of Type 2 Diabetes Among Older Individuals: Food Insecurity, Decreased Physical Activity, and Social Isolation

Community partners: Feeding Tampa Bay and Community Health Centers of Pinellas

"The proposed project seeks to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the health and well-being of older adults with type 2 diabetes. Covid-19 restrictions have increased rates of food insecurity, social isolation and sedentary behaviors, making it difficult for some to manage their type 2 diabetes and further increasing risk for health complications. The year-long project seeks to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of delivering self-management education along with healthy foods to a sample group."

Restaurant Resiliency Through Digital Communication and Ordering Channels During COVID-19

Community partners: Carrabba’s Italian Grill and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

"The project will evaluate the resiliency of local service businesses during Covid-19, using restaurants in the Tampa Bay area as case studies. As the Covid-19 pandemic progressed, the service industry had to utilize and adopt digital communication and ordering channels to remain in contact with and continue to serve consumers. At the same time, consumers were changing their behavior by spending more time and money online. The researchers hope to identify geographic and restaurant-specific factors that may help restaurants survive the ongoing pandemic."

Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients with Respiratory Comorbidity Recovering From Covid-19

Community partner: Tampa General Hospital

"Hospitalized patients recovering from Covid-19 have a significant risk of continued pulmonary complications including persistent inflammation and reduced lung function. Since antibody protection from secondary infection remains uncertain, patients with preexisting conditions are at extremely high risk for re-infection or post-recovery complications. The project will explore a home-based rehabilitation program for patients with pulmonary conditions recovering from Covid-19."

Article on Tampa Bay Business Journal
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