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Pandemic efforts recognised with tree-planting ceremony on BioQuarter


As part of The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, two ceremonial Rowan Trees have been planted on Edinburgh BioQuarter, in honour of Her Late Majesty The Queen and to recognise contributions the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian made in the fight against Covid-19.

The University has collaborated with the NHS on a number of important programmes to support efforts to tackle Covid-19.

In 2020, the University’s scientists, laboratories and equipment helped bolster NHS Lothian’s testing capacity. 25 scientists supported NHS Lothian staff to deliver up to 1000 additional tests per day.

Elsewhere, a study carried out by the University identified key differences in the genes of ICU patients and why some people become desperately sick with Covid-19, while others are not affected.

Having highlighted the genes, the team were then able to predict the effect of drug treatments because some genetic variants respond in a similar way to particular drugs.

In another case study – a collaboration with Public Health Scotland and the universities of St. Andrews, Strathclyde, and Aberdeen – the pandemic, as well as the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines, was successfully tracked in real time across Scotland.

Findings from the EAVE II case study directly influenced the decision-making of the Scottish and UK governments, including helping to shape the easing of lockdown restrictions.

“I am pleased that the tireless work of our academics, NHS health professionals and staff is being recognised by the City of Edinburgh Council as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. Often working closely with NHS colleagues, our researchers continue to make a significant contribution to support the world’s effort to overcome Covid-19. I am very proud of the ways we have adapted, innovated and collaborated in often deeply challenging circumstances.”

Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, the University of Edinburgh


The Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, Councillor Robert Aldridge, gifted the two trees.  University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, and Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Professor David Argyle, attended the tree-planting ceremony  on Tuesday 14 February alongside the Chairman of NHS Lothian, Professor John Connaghan CBE; and Gill MacLean, Senior Charge Nurse, Critical Care.

The Queen’s Green Canopy is a tree planting initiative launched 2022 to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The two trees gifted to the University and NHS Lothian will join more than a million trees planted as part of a living legacy in honour of The Queen.

“These gifted trees are in recognition of the extraordinary contribution made by NHS Lothian and the University of Edinburgh in the fight against Covid-19. We are very fortunate to have one of the world’s leading biomedical research centres here in the capital and the ability to mobilise the colossal resources needed to meet the challenge of Covid-19 is something for which we are all very thankful.”

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh