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University of Leeds

COVID-19: Understanding the Research Behind the Pandemic

University of Leeds and The National Institute for Health Research via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


Explore the critical role of research in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise, causing a global health crisis. Reducing the spread of the disease and treating patients relied on how rapidly we could harness our research capabilities. This has led to developments that will change how we conduct future research.

On this course, you will understand the challenges that COVID-19 poses to health research communities and find out how scientists in the UK conduct innovative research that meets ethical, legal and safety requirements.

Understand the research process of developing new drugs and vaccines

You will look at the steps of the clinical research cycle to understand how vaccine development was sped up. You will also discover the spectrum of COVID-19 research taking place including the development of new life-saving treatments.

Learn about the importance of the public in delivering innovative research.

You will find out how ethical considerations and the safety of participants are central to research. In stimulating case studies, research participants discuss their experiences before, during, and after COVID-19 clinical trials.

This course will help you understand how crucial your participation in research is for the future of healthcare and the development of life-saving treatments and vaccines.

Discover the next challenges for researchers.

You will explore how our response to COVID-19 may affect the future of research, and find out the next big questions for researchers, such as understanding Long COVID and the development of future vaccines.

Our Lead Educator and Mentors will be on hand from October 4 to 29 to support discussions and to answer your questions. If you join the course after October 29, moderators will still be checking the comments regularly to respond to your queries.

This course is for everyone interested in finding out about the research on COVID-19. This course is also useful for people that work in healthcare to help answer the questions members of the public may ask about COVID-19 research.

Taught by

Gwynneth Cracknell


5.0 rating, based on 9 Class Central reviews

Start your review of COVID-19: Understanding the Research Behind the Pandemic

  • Anonymous
    An interesting and informative course, reviewing how Covid 19 research has developed and built upon earlier knowledge. The ethical issues are well covered with examples of how research is managed to protect the participants, The content is well presented, using differing formats of text and video to inform how trials use data to determine benefits of trials. Tests help to check understanding.

    Unfortunately, the final test is expensive for a retired person who doesn't need a certificate but would like to check overall understanding.

    Thank you
  • Anonymous
    This is a really great course. It is well structured and easy to follow. The tutor input was particularly good compared to some other FL courses.

    The fly in the ointment is that you have to pay for a certificate if you want to do the end of course "check your understanding" test. As I don't need a certificate I find this rather a let down.
  • Anonymous
    I found this an excellent overview of Covid research and the impact the need for quick results has had on the way researchers have collaborated, and the public have participated.
    I think it should be promoted more widely.
    It’s disappointing that you don’t get to check your understanding unless you pay £32, as another reviewer has noted.
  • Anonymous
    Well explained and delivered using current researchers and trial participants. The separate learning items were short and interesting. The glossary proved a valuable resource. Pointers to associated courses were also valuable. Excellent offering from NIHR/Future Learn.
  • Anonymous
    This course was great, lots of information but written in a clear way, so ot was easy to understand and remember. I especially liked the videos where people spoke about their own experiences.

  • Anonymous
    Clear, easy to understand and informative. Needless to say, one presumes that the follow-on will elaborate further on the new vaccines that are trialled and awaiting approval.

    Thank you
  • Anonymous
    The first week presumed little understanding of health research so good for the new learner. The second week was excellent revealing the depth and complexity of covid-19 research
  • Anonymous
    An excellent course for those who want to learn more about Covid 19 and how the research was developed. The lay person will find it easy to understand.
  • Anonymous
    Not only did I learn a lot in theory, but I was provided with resources to support and participate in research in reality.

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