|Australia||2020-04-02||The Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN), a standing committee of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), is Australia’s leading network of expert microbiologists. This group is comprised of public health laboratory representatives from each state and territory of Australia. They meet weekly to provide advice, share information and support other laboratories, such as hospital, community and private pathology providers, when issues arise. So far, the Australian Government has funded or will fund the following R&D initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- $15 million to fast-track research into treatments from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) (https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-...) via three open competitive grant opportunities:
o $8 million to identify and develop antiviral therapies for people infected with COVID-19 ($3 million will initially be provided to test up to 10 antiviral therapies to test proof of concept; a further $5 million then available for rapid advancement of the most promising candidates).
o $5 million for clinical trials to better treat and manage COVID-19 patients with severe acute respiratory distress.
o $2 million to support research into development of a vaccine to protect against novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- More than $2.6 million in cutting-edge diagnostics research at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. (https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-...)
On 22 March 2020, a funding injection of up to $17 million (https://stories.uq.edu.au/news/2020/17m-...) was announced for vital University of Queensland research that could help cut the timeline for an effective vaccine for COVID-19 by six months:
• the Queensland Government will allocate $10 million
• the Australian Government has pledged $3 million to the project led by UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.
• the Paul Ramsay Foundation has provided a grant of $3.5 million to the University of Queensland, conditional upon the University of Queensland securing another $6.5 million to reach a total of $20 million from government and other sources.
The Australian Government will invest $30 million for COVID–19 research to enable Australian researchers to contribute to global efforts to control the outbreak. Three research areas, in line with the priorities agreed at the recent Coronavirus Research Roundtable, are vaccine development, anti-viral development and respiratory medicine research
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is fast tracking (i.e. accelerating) regulatory assessment for applications for a therapeutic good related to COVID-19. In some cases, for example point of care tests, due to limited information at the time of application, regulatory approval is granted, with strict conditions that follow-up data and studies including stability shelf-life is provided to the TGA. In addition, a number of exemptions for complying with normal regulatory processes and approvals are in place to facilitate faster access and supply for some tests and PPE medical devices.
• Therapeutic Goods (Medical Devices—Accredited Pathology Laboratories) (COVID-19 Emergency) Exemption 2020 (F2020N00032);(https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020N00032/Download) and
• Therapeutic Goods (Medical Devices—Face Masks and Other Articles) (COVID-19 Emergency) Exemption 2020 (F2020N00033).(https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020N00033/Download)
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funds a Centre of Research Excellence dedicated to emergency pandemic response – the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE). Funding for this network is AUD$5 million over 5 years from 2016 to 2021 (see: https://www.apprise.org.au/). APPRISE is supporting 16 urgent research projects covering areas such as diagnostics, treatment and communication in response to COVID-19. It is joining forces with the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID), to support the national collaborative projects designed to fill areas of critical research need and improve Australia’s emergency response to COVID-19.
|Austria||2020-04-03||A dedicated Joint Call for COVID-19 with a volume of € 21 Mio. from the two Austrian Federal Ministries,the Ministry of Digitalisation and Economy together with the Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Mobility, Innovation and Technology was launched in March to support applied research on tests, vaccines and medication against COVID-19 Mio. See https://www.ffg.at/ausschreibung/emergen.... The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research is supporting its Medical Universities to participate in medical trials with an extra € 2 Mio.
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has introduced fast track approval for COVID-19 relevant research.
The Austrian authorities treat all applications for medical trials preferentially in order to grant approval as fast as possible.
Additionally, Austrian research groups successfully participate in the special Horizon 2020 call at the European level.
|Belgium||2020-05-13||Flanders regional measures: https://stiplab.github.io/Covid19/files/...
Wallonia regional measures: http://stiplab.github.io/Covid19/files/2...
In the last two weeks, we have seen in Belgium numerous initiatives to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. However, these are mainly bottom-up. Everywhere around the country, research groups in all universities and in research centres, as well as in companies, have reallocated budgets to address different issues.
One example is the case of the Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB) that announced the reallocation of about 1 million Euro of its budgets for its Grand Challenges Programme to COVID-19 projects.
In the region of Wallonia, the BioWin cluster (active in the field of health biotechnology and medical technologies) has developed an interactive platform for centralization of health initiatives related to COVID-19 around 6 urgent themes: manufacturing, supply and recycling of masks for companies; development and repair of ventilators; development and manufacturing of hydroalcoholic gels; development and manufacturing of new diagnostic approaches; development of new treatments; and new sources of funding (https://www.biowin.org/en/news/covid-19-...).
Another example is the case of ITM (Institute of Tropical Medicine) experts who joined colleagues of the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) to set up an epidemiological database.
Also the Young Academy (an interdisciplinary and inter-university group of top young researchers and artists in Flanders) launched a number of initiatives to join forces among scientists from all disciplines, including coordination on the production of ventilation equipment and the collection of initiatives in a Slack-environment for scientists.
|Brazil||2020-04-03||The Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications of Brazil (MCTIC) established an advisory committee and strategic plan to provide coordinated and quick responses to emerging viruses. This "Virus-MCTIC Network" coordinates the efforts of research laboratories with a view to identifying complementarities of infrastructure and activities in the ongoing research on Covid-19, influenza and others. The objectives of the network are the integration of scientific research and development efforts in the area of emerging viruses; definition of research priorities; coordination of ongoing R,D&I initiatives related to emerging viruses; and development of technologies to assist the country in facing those challenges. Researchers and representatives of MCTIC, the Ministry of Health and development agencies participate in the initiative.
As an example, within this network, the National Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM) is already employing tools like computational biology and AI to evaluate the effectiveness of about 2 thousand existing drugs against Covid-19. Computational data tests use atomic structure data and the behavior of Covid-19 proteins to examine the interaction of molecules of available medications with these target proteins, and to pre-select those that show promise in interfering with the infection. Selected molecules will then be tested in vitro to verify its effectiveness in eliminating the virus, which will allow the new use of already available medications.
The emergency release of R$ 3.4 billion (around USD 700 million) to be used in initiatives to fight the pandemic has recently been approved by the Federal government. The funds will be allocated to the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Defense; and Ministry of Citizenship.From that amount, R$ 100 million (around USD 20 million) will be directed to STI measures, from the National Scientific and Technological Development Fund (FNDCT), to be applied in Research Networks, National Institutes of Science and Technology (INCT) and public calls via the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Funding for Studies and Projects Agency (Finep)
The funds will be used for emergency support of projects (grants) within the scope of the priorities defined by the Virus-MCTIC Network, including: - Development of diagnostic kits; - Development of vaccines; - Use of advanced technologies for rapid selection of possible drugs; - Large-scale sequencing and monitoring of mutations in SARS-Cov 2 (COVID-19) samples; - Structuring a virus sample bank for scientific studies to understand the disease.
The State National Postal Service Company (Correios) is acting as the logistics partner for the Virus-MCTIC Network, being responsible for collecting viral material (new coronavirus and influenza) from selected laboratories and delivering them to other labs (in-kind contribution). These are being used in studies on contagion, proliferation of viruses and vaccines for diseases. Scientists working on the matter now have priority in receiving and sending research material, since time is crucial for the effectiveness of research with COVID-19.
A research call for projects has already been launched on the total of R$ 50 million (around USD 10 million) by CNPq. The call is aimed at projects on diagnosis, vaccines, clinical trials and other research related to the virus. Overall priority is given to the development of a) medications and respective pre-clinical and clinical tests; b) vaccines and respective pre-clinical and clinical tests; c) innovation for the production in large scale of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) and their related systems; Research, development and innovation in diagnostic tests are also a priority; monitoring and sequencing the virus genome circulating in the country; telemedicine tools.
The Ministry of Health has authorized the use of telemedicine to care for patients with coronavirus (March 23rd, 2020). To this end, the MCTIC will carry out: I - direct contracting of projects, studies, technologies and innovations; II - public call (s) for contracting projects, studies, technologies and innovations; and III - coordination between organizations in the science, technology, innovation and communications system.
MCTIC has also launched 7 orders for technology acquisition on the total amount of R$ 50 million (around USD 10 million). They include development of products for genetic sequencing, clinical trials protocol, the application of AI on inhibiting virus replication, development of test kits and vaccines as well as social projects.
Another initiative by MCTIC is the launch of the platform IdearuMCTIC (www.mctic.gov.br), aimed at connecting ideas and evaluating the maturity of technological solutions related to the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
Besides that, funding State agencies such as FAPESP (State of São Paulo), Fundação Araucária (State of Paraná) and FAPERJ (State of Rio de Janeiro), as well as funding federal agencies such as CAPES (Ministry of Education), are releasing funds for research on tackling the challenges caused by the pandemic, such as the development of tests or vaccines, as well as the genomic sequencing of the virus. Other entities like EMBRAPII (Brazilian Industrial Research and Innovation Company), SEBRAE (Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Agency), and Porto Digital (Science park located at the State of Pernambuco) are taking efforts for innovative solutions to be developed, such as the fabrication of ventilators and of tests for diagnosis of COVID-19.
The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) launched a call for research proposals on COVID-19 within the time limit of 24 months, with a view to understanding the virus` epidemiological characteristics, developing tests and therapies, conducting research on clinical procedures, identifying and evaluating innate immune responses and issues related to the social behavior of the affected population. The total amount of the research call is R$ 10 million (around USD 2 million).
FAPESP and FINEP, under the PIPE/PAPPE Grant Program, launched a call for research projects on the development of technologies for products, services and processes to fight Covid-19. The research call will allow that participants from previous phases of the Grant program (Phase 1 or Phase 2) to commercialize emergency products or services.
Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Agency (SEBRAE) will assign R$ 2 million (around USD 400 thousand) to the development of technological solutions by startups and other small and medium-sized enterprises with a view to help the Brazil face Covid-19. The funds will add up to R$ 4 million (around USD 800 thousand) from the Brazilian Industrial Research and Innovation Company (EMBRAPII) and contributions by participating companies and accredited research and innovation centers. Joint resources are expected to reach the total of R$ 10 million (around USD 2 million). The resources may be used for software development, system devices, hardware, medical parts and equipment, and others.
EMBRAPII has also approved R$ 2.3 million (USD 900 thousand) to the development of mechanical ventilators, that provides oxygen and removes carbon dioxide directly from the blood.
The National Service for Industrial Training (SENAI), through the "Innovation Call for Industry", will select projects that help prevent, diagnose and treat Covid-19. It foresees the destination of R$ 10 million (around USD 2 million) for proposals on solutions against problems caused by the virus, with immediate application and results within 40 days, in the areas of consulting, metrology, testing, analysis, research, development and innovation. Examples of these solutions are the manufacture of mechanical respirators and the development of rapid tests for the detection the disease.
The National Council of State Foundations of Research Support (CONFAP) released a proposal for Brazilian institutions to join the so-called "Development of therapy and diagnosis for fighting coronavirus infections" launched by `Innovative Medicines Initiative`, in cooperation with European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). Its objective is to identify new therapeutic agents, early diagnostic systems, and reliable data related to Covid-19. Brazilian partners can participate in a co-financing scheme. The European side plans to disburse EUR 45 million.
The University of São Paulo (USP) is conducting researches for vaccine development with a quick response against the virus. The work takes advantage of results from previous studies on other types of coronaviruses, which, hopefully, can help in the case of Covid-19. Brazilian research is comparatively safer, as it is based on the creation of a particle similar to coronavirus, the VLP (virus-like particle), equivalent to a hollow virus, without the genetic material and therefore without the transmissibility of the disease.
The Covid Challenge 19 is an initiative by the Public Persecutor`s Office of the State of Pernambuco (MPPE), the State Health Secretariat of Pernambuco (SES-PE) and Porto Digital. The MPPE and SES-PE offer R$ 1.3 million for innovative and high-impact solutions that can be adopted in a short term, with a view to fighting the virus. The challenge already includes the submission of 543 ideas on 5 areas: a) monitoring the risk groups; b) information flow management; c) monitoring social isolation; d) support for health agents; and e) testing and diagnosis.
|Canada||2020-05-08||A report on Government of Canada's research response to COVID-19 was released on April 23, 2020, which outlines a number of the initiatives below. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/s...
Rapid Research Response to COVID-19: On February 10, 2020, the Government of Canada launched a Rapid Research Funding Opportunity.
o Result: 99 research projects ($54.2M over 2 years) funded to provide new evidence on how to address COVID-19 in two broad research areas:
1.Medical countermeasures research (e.g., transmission and zoonotic source of the 2019-nCov, development and evaluation of diagnostic tools for early case detection and surveillance, and development and evaluation of candidate vaccines, among other areas) and
2.Social and policy countermeasures research (e.g., examining how individuals and communities understand and react to the disease, and developing strategies to combat misinformation, stigma, and fear).
On March 11, 2020, the Government of Canada announced more than $1 billion for a whole-of-government COVID-19 Response Fund which included $100 million to support federal public health measures such as enhanced surveillance, increased testing at the Public Health Authority of Canada's (PHAC) National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and ongoing support for preparedness in First Nations and Inuit communities.
On March 20, Canada launched its plan to ‘Mobilize Industry’ to fight COVID-19. https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2.... The plan introduced new measures directly supporting businesses to build domestic capacity, find innovative solutions, and speed procurement of essential supplies. It refocuses Canada’s existing industrial and innovation programs (i.e. Strategic Innovation Fund, Innovation Superclusters and Innovative Solutions Canada) by adding to their mandate a requirement that they prioritize the fight against COVID-19. It also directed support to key Canadian companies that are working on large-scale, late-stage R&D projects aiming, in the immediate term, at producing countermeasures to COVID-19. The National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program also launched a COVID-19 ‘challenge’ program to address a range of medium-term governmental needs, the most promising of which will be selected for procurement, working with Innovative Solutions Canada. https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-develo...
On March 23, 2020, $275 million was announced as part of the $1 billion investment (from March 11) to support research and large-scale efforts towards countermeasures to combat COVID-19. The funding is facilitating partnerships among various Canadian stakeholders including other government departments, industry and academia to respond to COVID-19 and build Canadian capacity to produce a domestic supply of potential vaccines and treatments. https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2.... Funding will be used to advance projects already underway by university researchers and others, including: prioritizing projects under the new Strategic Innovation Fund COVID-19 stream ($192M) for companies including: AbCellera in Vancouver and Medicago in Quebec City. The Government also committed to invest $23M in the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) ($11M from CFI, $12M from WD) to strengthen research expertise, help develop a vaccine, and expand clinical trials and bio-manufacturing capacity in the facility. The National Research Council will receive $15M to upgrade its Human Health Therapeutics facility in Montreal to develop, test and scale up promising vaccine candidates. The Government will also support BlueDot, a Toronto-based technology firm, and use its disease analytics platform to support modelling and monitoring of the spread of COVID-19, and to inform government decision-making as the situation evolves.
On March 31, 2020, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council announced it is providing up to $15 million, as part of its Alliance COVID-19 Grants Initiative, to support academic researchers to contribute their expertise and their research results to address challenges and questions raised by the public and not-for-profit sectors, as well as industry in the context of the pandemic. https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Innovate-I...
In late March, Canada became a participant in "SOLIDARITY”, the WHO-led international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19. By enrolling patients in multiple countries, the SOLIDARITY trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival. WHO has secured access to all treatments so as to obviate the supply issues that may be associated with other trials. The Canadian arm of the global trial, dubbed CATCO (Canadian Treatments for COVID-19), is being funded by the CIHR, which provided nearly $1 million. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/s... https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases...
On April 23, 2020 the Government of Canada announced further investments of $1.1B in new medical countermeasures to better understand COVID-19, and develop the infrastructure needed to fight the virus here in Canada. This includes:
o The establishment of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force that will establish priorities and oversee the coordination of a series of country-wide blood test surveys that will tell us how widely the virus has spread in Canada and provide reliable estimates of potential immunity and vulnerabilities in Canadian populations.
o $40 million for the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), led by Genome Canada, to coordinate a COVID-19 viral and host genome sequencing effort across Canada. This research will help track the virus, its different strains, and how it makes people sick in different ways, providing valuable information to public health authorities and decision-makers as they put in place measures to control the pandemic. The results of this work will be available to researchers globally to support additional research, including Canadian vaccine development efforts.
o $23 million for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) to accelerate development of a vaccine against COVID-19. This funding will support pre-clinical testing and clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, essential steps to ensuring that vaccines are effective and safe for human use.
o $29 million for the National Research Council of Canada to begin the second phase of critical upgrades to its Human Health Therapeutics facility in Montréal. Building on ongoing work to ready the facility for the production of vaccines for clinical trials, this funding will support operations to maintain the facility, as well as provide infrastructure to prepare vials for individual doses as soon as a vaccine becomes available.
o $600 million, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, over two years to support COVID-19 vaccine and therapy clinical trials led by the private sector, and Canadian biomanufacturing opportunities.
o $10 million for a Canadian data monitoring initiative so we can coordinate and share pandemic-related data across the country to enhance Canada’s response to COVID-19.
o $10.3 million over two years, and $5 million ongoing, to support the Canadian Immunization Research Network in conducting vaccine-related research and clinical trials, and to enhance Canada’s capacity to monitor vaccine safety and effectiveness.
o $114.9 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for research projects that will accelerate the development, testing, and implementation of medical and social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19, as well as its social and health impacts.
o Separately, the Government of Canada is providing over $675,000 through the Stem Cell Network to support two new research projects and one clinical trial. The clinical trial will evaluate the safety of a potential cell therapy to reduce the impacts and severity of acute respiratory distress associated with COVID-19, and the two projects will generate critical information about how cells in the airway and brain are affected by the virus.
|Chile||2020-04-22||The Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge e Innovation together with CORFO and the support of the Government Laboratory, launched two calls of Covid-19 Innovation Challenges.
The first one is focused on generating rapid implementation solutions for the local demand of personal health protection elements related to possible contagion by droplets and personal contact (mask, gloves, health clothing, etc). This call will bring a CL$90 million (US$104.000) grant per project in two stages, during 6 months.
The second one calls entrepreneurs, companies, universities and technology centers to register their developments in diagnostic technologies for COVID19 as well as other viral pathogens that affect human health. These technologies could cover the entire chain from sampling, extraction supplies, reagents, others, to diagnosis and its results. This registration does not involve financing.
|Colombia||2020-03-28||● Mapping molecular biology laboratories in Colombian Universities:
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is leading the initiative for mapping molecular biology laboratories in Colombian universities through a survey designed by the academic sector. This instrument was a task requested by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Ministry of National Education and the National Institute of Health of Colombia, with the objective of mapping the capacities of the laboratories in the universities of Colombia to support the molecular diagnosis of COVID-19 from the identification of the genetic markers for SARS-CoV-2.
This information will be an essential input to know which laboratories have BCL-2 biosafety standards and have documented and verified procedures for quality assurance, sample traceability and validity of results. Furthermore, the results of the survey will detect if these laboratories have methodological control and endorsement of the tests and service qualification. It is important to clarify that the survey is still in the process of completion by the universities and other entities, therefore the results are not conclusive yet.
● Program: Strengthening and provision of equipment, infrastructure and medical supplies for early detection and care of patients affected by Coronavirus in Colombia "Covid-19 Colombia"
This project aims to increase the conditions of care for laboratories in frontier areas and vulnerable territories in the departments of Amazonas, Cauca, Chocó, Guajira, Magdalena, Nariño, San Andrés and Vichada in the context of the campaign against COVID-19. The total budget for the project is 19,5 million dollars, with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia contributing 6,5 million dollars and seeking to leverage 13 million dollars. This project arises from the profound imbalance existing between regions in Colombia, where social gaps highlight the need to improve public health equipment and capacities in the border areas and other areas with high levels of vulnerability.
This objective will be achieved by strengthening the provision of equipment, infrastructure and medical supplies to laboratories and research centers for the early detection and care of patients possibly affected by COVID-19. The following 3 results are expected:
i) Provision of equipment for laboratories and medical staff for the testing of COVID-19.
ii) To design a strategy for the Social Appropriation and Dissemination of Knowledge about COVID-19.
iii) Support for research centers, universities and companies in R&D and innovation projects against COVID-19.
|Costa Rica||2020-05-05||The government has opened a call for non-refundable funds to offer training, technical assistance and specialized support to SMEs in the areas of electronic commerce, innovation management, digital transformation, operational excellence and productive transformation towards the bioeconomy, with the aim of helping SMEs to optimize, reorient or complement their productive activities, so that they have better tools to cope with and overcome the economic situation owing to the COVID-19 emergency.
Also, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Communications has enabled 791 million colones to finance actions in innovation, science and technology in order to fight COVID-19. The first call opened on April 16 and is part of the Innovation and Human Capital for Competitiveness Program (PINN), with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). These funds apply for innovation and technology transfer projects to support the health emergency, with an investment of up to ₵712 million. The maximum amount to be awarded per project will be ₵142,000,000 and the maximum execution period will be 12 months.
Meanwhile, the Incentive Fund will open on May 15 a call for up to ₵79 million to support research on issues related to COVID-19.
The Clodomiro Picado Institute obtained financing of ₵35 million from CONICIT to start the development of a possible treatment against COVID-19.
The Biotechnology Nacional Research Center (CENIBIOT in Spanish) is working on the development of a low cost Covid-19 detection protocol, based on PCR (polymer chain reaction), in conjunction with the University of Costa Rica, the Technological Institute of Costa Rica and Inciensa Research Center.
Further information on the call can be found at the link: https://micit.go.cr/12-proyectos-innovac...
|Czech Republic||2020-05-18||The Czech Science Foundation (hereinafter referred to as „GACR“) is the only institution in the Czech Republic that provides public funding exclusively for basic research projects (https://gacr.cz/en/). GACR also supports bilateral cooperation with foreign agencies on the Lead Agency principle approach.
• GACR is engaged in the Austrian joint call "Urgent Funding SARS-CoV-2" announced by the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF), https://gacr.cz/vyhlaseni-vyzvy-urgent-f.... The GACR’s budgetary allocation for the call is approximately 3 million EUR.
• GACR is also engaged in the Swiss SNSF Covid-19 international call (https://gacr.cz/vyhlasujeme-vyzvu-nrp-78...) with the 1.5 million EUR approximate allocation.
The Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (hereinafter referred to as „TACR“) supports applied research, experimental development and innovation (https://www.tacr.cz/en/). TACR permits to its running projects to enlarge their scope and ask for additional financial support for activities related to COVID-19 (i.e. top-up funding), https://www.tacr.cz/aktivity-na-podporu-.... New calls focused on addressing the Covid-19 topics have been launched by TACR too with the following budgetary allocations:
• Approx. 3.7 million EUR for the projects financed under the “GAMA” programme.
• Approx. 3.7 million EUR for the projects financed under the “ETA” programme.
• Approx. 3.7 million EUR for the projects financed under the “TREND” programme.
(The recent currency rate used above is 27 CZK / EUR.)
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (hereinafter referred to as “MEYS”) financially supports the large research infrastructures (https://www.vyzkumne-infrastruktury.cz/e...). The Czech Republic is a Member State of numerous international research infrastructures and is engaged in the efforts that the research community is developing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. An overview of related activities in response to the Covid-19 epidemic can be fund at https://www.vyzkumne-infrastruktury.cz/e....
The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic (hereinafter referred to as „MIT“) has announced several initiatives for projects to support fight against the coronavirus epidemic:
• MIT calls for projects through its program „The Country for the Future“. The contest is thematically focused on the introduction of new solutions through innovation process in small and medium-sized enterprises. The amount of the subsidy can reach up to 25 million CZK/project (approx. 1 million EUR). In total approx. 11.1 million EUR have been allocated for the projects to be financed under the “Country for the Future” programme. (https://www.mpo.cz/cz/podnikani/podpora-...)
• MIT announced XII. COVID-19 Call under the Technology Program within the implementation of Operational Programme Entrepreneurship and Innovations for Competitiveness (hereinafter referred to as „OP EIC“). The call is aimed at supporting business activities focusing on manufacturing of medical devices and personal protection or disposal of infectious waste and those with the fight against the further spread of coronavirus infection through the acquisition of new technological equipment. The allocation is set at approx. 11.1 million EUR. (https://www.mpo.cz/cz/podnikani/dotace-a...)
• The MIT has been a long-term support provider for development of state-of-the-art technologies and innovations and has announced a call for applications under the „Czech Rise Up – Smart measures against the COVID-19“OP EIC sub-program. Projects will undergo the Czech version of the hackathon “Hack the Crisis – Czech Rise Up”. It is organized by the CzechInvest agency jointly with the MIT and in cooperation with Poland and Estonia. Approx. 7.4 million EUR is set for the projects to be supported. (https://www.mpo.cz/cz/podnikani/dotace-a... https://www.mpo.cz/en/)
• MIT also announced a call „Innovation vouchers COVID-19“ under the OP EIC to promote sharing of knowledge and know-how between businesses and research community, which entrepreneurs can use exclusively for the fight against coronavirus infection. MIT is ready to allocate approx. 2 million EUR. (https://www.mpo.cz/cz/podnikani/dotace-a...)
Another iniciative taken by the MIT related to COVID-19 is described under the Q4A.
|Denmark||2020-03-28||The Danish government has funded research projects, which can help to create new knowledge and new solutions in the fight against Covid-19. In total DKK 50 million has been granted in a fast track model, where the deans of the four faculties of health sciences, the pro-rector of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and the academic director of the Statens Serum Institute (SSI) have been asked to submit proposals for Covid-19 related research projects from the researchers at their own institutions.
The whole process took about one week, from call for proposals, to relevant research projects being identified, and funding granted.
|Estonia||2020-03-30||The Estonian Research Council (ETAg) is coordinating collection of information about the need for new research topics and the capabilities of research performing organizations to do the needed research.
The quickest way to react is to channel researchers' immediate responses within the framework of existing measures. The planned interventions are divided into short-term fast-line research that provide an up-to-date understanding of the spread of the virus, as well as to help identify the immediate socio-economic effects. This type of research is expected to bring results within a few months. Longer-term research grants are currently being developed – these are more forward looking and will require a longer-term effort.
Short-term needs are addressed in the framework of the RITA program (see https://www.etag.ee/en/funding/programme...) through which ETAg has launched an additional call for projects addressing COVID-19. At least two projects (worth approximately 50 000 euros each) will be co-financed (ministries will contribute with 40% of co-financing). Topics will be selected and approved by the scientific advisers of different ministries. The call is open to all R&D institutions. The dedication of more additional funding from structural funds is currently under negotiations with the Ministry of Education and Research.
Some of the research groups are working with their international counterparts within existing cooperation networks.
|European Union||2020-06-12||The Commission is providing direct support for research and innovation.
Research and innovation (R&I) plays a key role in the COVID-19 outbreak and R&I related actions are an essential part of the coordinated EU response. These actions focus on:
1. Support new R&I;
2. Speeding up research by optimising framework conditions;
3. Translating research findings into public health policy;
4. Internal and external coordination;
5. Analysis of social and economic impacts
6. Outreach and communication.
Summary of actions so far
• Under EU’s Horizon 2020 mobilization of approx. EUR 48.2 million funds for 18 new health-related COVID-19 research & innovation projects .20 March.
• Revision and new prioritisation of EUR 250 million InnovFin financial instruments, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) (including Financial support of EUR 80 million to the German pharmaceutical company CureVac .16 March.
• Fast track awarding European Innovation Council (EIC) grants and blended finance to support startups and SMEs technologies and innovations for ex. treating, testing, monitoring .20 March. An extra EUR 150 million additional budget was approved.30 April. Nearly EUR 166 million, were awarded to 36 companies set to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 8 June.
• European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) Statement calls for a rallying of solidarity at the European and global level and underlines the core ethical considerations .2 April.
• European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) launched 3 calls for proposals to support research on COVID-19 tests, diagnostics and therapeutics and to strengthen research capacities in sub-Saharan Africa with up to €25 million from H2020. 1st call (budget of EUR 2.25 - H2020 and EUR 7.75 million - European Participating States, will support 20 proposals. 3 April. The other 2 calls will strengthen the research capacities in sub-Saharan Africa with a total budget of EUR 23 million. 10 April.
• EU and Member States to support, to coordinate efforts and seek synergies on research and innovation – first 10 priority actions of the dynamic ERAvsCorona Action Plan approved.7 April.
• Launch of a European COVID-19 Data Platform to enable the rapid collection and sharing of available research data to support researchers in Europe and around the world. 20 April.
• DG SANTE’s Health Policy Platform - In order to facilitate easy communication between researchers on initial and unconfirmed observations, a moderated space called “researchers chat” (with restricted access) was set up on DG SANTE’s Health Policy Platform. This allows low-threshold exchange between researchers from different projects, promoting also interdisciplinary connections.
• A Joint Action EUnetHTA, co-funded by the Public Health Programme and gathering European Health Technology Assessment (HTA) organisations, is planning to develop a shared repository of HTA reports from different HTA agencies on comparative effectiveness of treatments for COVID-19.
• EC in close collaboration with EU MS has hosted a Pan-EU Hackathon (#EUvsVirus) to connect civil society, innovators, partners and buyers across Europe to develop innovative solutions to overcome coronavirus-related challenges. 24 - 26 April. Winners were invited to a Matchathon on the new EIC COVID Platform. 22 - 25 May.
• Supporting the global response to COVID-19 through multilateral platforms and H2020 projects.
• To support reaching the objectives of the Coronavirus Global Response, the European Commission is committing EUR 1 billion through reprioritisation of Horizon 2020. 4 May.
• EC granted the 1st batch of EIC COVID-19 Response Seal of Excellence to 82 excellent proposals addressing the COVID-19 outbreak. The s2nd batch was granted to 57 COVID-19 Seal related proposals making a total of 139 COVID-19 seals. 4 June.
• Under EU’s Horizon 2020 mobilization of EUR 72 million for fast-track call of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).3 March. Horizon 2020 will contribute with EUR 72 million (it was EUR 45 million) to this call and a commitment is expected from the pharmaceutical industry (EUR 45 million) so that total investment amounting to EUR 117 million for 8 large-scale research projects aiming at developing treatments (3) and diagnostics (5) .12 May.
• European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) has mobilise EUR 60 million of additional funding to innovators powering high-impact solutions that tackle the unprecedented challenges .14 May.
• EC has launched the ERA corona platform, a one-stop shop for information for current and prospective beneficiaries of the R&I Programmes.14 May.
• Under EU’s Horizon 2020 mobilization of EUR 122 million on a second Expression of Interest from the Health Programme for urgently needed research into the coronavirus. It complements earlier actions to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines by strengthening capacity to manufacture and deploying readily available solutions in order to rapidly address the pressing needs. It will also improve understanding of the behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the epidemic.19 May.
• EC’s H2020 Expert Group to update and expand "Gendered Innovations/ Innovation through Gender published The impact of sex and gender in the COVID-19 pandemic .27 May.
• Expert group on the economic and societal impact of research and innovation (ESIR) published Protect, prepare and transform Europe - Recovery and resilience post COVID-19 .28 May.
In the following sections, a non-exhaustive list of these actions is presented:
1. DIRECT SUPPORT FOR RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
Support new research and innovation
• Horizon 2020 Health-related R&I - finances an emergency funding action (30 Jan). Eighteen (18) projects involving 140 research teams. All aspects of the virus outbreak will be supported with EUR 48.2 million. Grant agreements are in the process of being signed. The projects will have April 1 the latest as starting date.
• Horizon 2020 Health-related R&I – DG Research & Innovation and DG CONNECT launched 19 May a second Expression of Interest from the Health Programme (SC1 health H2020). The Commission has mobilised EUR 122 million (Horizon 2020) for urgently needed research into the coronavirus. It complements earlier actions to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines by strengthening capacity to manufacture and deploying readily available solutions in order to rapidly address the pressing needs. It will also improve understanding of the behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the epidemic.
• Horizon 2020 - Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a Public-Private Partnership between the EU and the pharmaceutical industry (3 March) published a special fast track call for proposals for research projects. Eight large-scale research projects aiming at developing treatments (3) and diagnostics (5) were selected. Horizon 2020 will contribute with EUR 72 million (it was EUR 45 million) to this call and a commitment is expected from the pharmaceutical industry (EUR 45 million) so that total investment could reach EUR 117 million. (12 May). A number of IMI’s projects are making valuable contributions to the global effort to tackle COVID-19 see here. IMI has published updated versions of the draft texts of the topics (25 May) that are slated for inclusion in IMI’s next Calls for proposals, IMI2 – Calls 22 and 23, which are scheduled for launch on 23 June 2020.
• Horizon 2020 - supported European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials (EDCTP), a Public-Private Partnership focusing on infectious diseases research in sub-Saharan Africa, has launched an emergency call for expressions of interest (April 3) for research activities to manage and/or prevent the spread of the current outbreak with a budget of EUR 7.30 million (2.25 million - Horizon 2020, 2.55 million – Sweden, 1.0 million – France and 1.5 million UK). This first call will support 20 proposals while 43 proposals will be placed on the reserve list. Two more calls were open (April 10): EUR 23 million to build for research capacity, strengthening the sub-Saharan research networks and establishing an African cohort of epidemiologists and biostatisticians through training in institutions in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
• Horizon 2020 European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator pilot, start-up companies and SMEs with relevant innovations had been alerted to the possibility of applying to the next bottom-up call for proposals (deadline 20 March). A record number of almost 4000 start-ups and small and medium businesses (SMEs) applied to the EIC Accelerator pilot, amongst which almost 1400 proposed innovations relevant to the coronavirus outbreak. An extra EUR 150 million additional budget was approved (30 April) to fund the best start-ups and SMEs who applied under the March cut-off. Nearly, EUR 166 million were awarded to 36 companies set to combat the coronavirus pandemic
• DG Research and Innovation in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) reviewed the allocation and prioritisation of the financial means under the InnovFin financial instruments. Around EUR 400 million (including support to CureVac AG of up to EUR 80 million) has been secured for additional financing and will be re-allocated to COVID19 actions without requiring additional resources from the Commission. Products focused on are the InnovFin Infectious Diseases Finance Facility (IDFF) and the Thematic Investment Platforms . Please see here the new factsheet EIB group – Coronavirus Crisis response – EIB support for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics
• The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Health Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) has mobilised nearly EUR 6.00 million for COVID-19 actions. Funding will be dedicated to 15 specially selected health innovation projects across Europe. Projects’.
Re-orientation of on-going research (examples)
• Horizon 2020 supported project Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics (DIH-HERO) an independent platform which connects Digital Innovation Hubs across Europe to create a sustaining network for all those who are active in the healthcare robotics sector has launched a EUR 5 million emergency call for projects to boost robotic solutions that can be deployed quickly in the healthcare sector to fight against COVD-19. COVID-19 Applicant guide 2020
• List of European Research Council (ERC) - all funded research projects related to coronavirus, epidemiology and virology, as well as other relevant disciplines (structural and molecular mechanisms, host-pathogen and/or species interactions, new diagnostic and therapeutic avenues, AI and medical devices, epidemiological aspects, societal behaviour and impact), has been created and updated (3 April).
2. SPEEDING UP RESEARCH AND INNOVATION – OPTIMISING ENABLING FRAMEWORK CONDITIONS
• Horizon 2020 grants access to essential Research Infrastructure (RI) services are repurposing their calls and considering stepped-up efforts to focus on COVID-19. Beyond the European Virus Archive and TRANSVAC for vaccine research, this includes other EU supported pan-European RIs: SoBigData-Plus (big data analytics); ERINHA (high-risk pathogen safety labs); ELIXIR (coordinating the storage of and access to biological data); ECRIN (clinical trials). CALIPSO-PLUS and CERIC-ERIC have set up a dedicated Fast Track Access to a selected number of analytical facilities for research related to the COVID-19.
Research data sharing
• DG R&I in close collaboration with DG SANTE, DG CONNECT and EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), together with EU Member States and research partners such as ELIXIR, has launched (20 April) the European COVID-19 research data platform. This joint effort is a priority pilot to realise the goals of European Open Science Cloud and is part of the ERAvsCorona Action Plan. This will allow the scientific community to share, analyse, and process data rapidly, openly and effectively across the Member States and the globe. See message by EC President Ursula von der Leyen on the launch of the EU COVID19 Data Platform and press release.
• To complement the platform deployment, the EC is urging all H2020 projects working on COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 to provide immediate open access to their related publications, data and any other output. To support them, a guidance document has been developed that includes specific guidelinees regarding FAIR principles, Open Access to publications and data, etc.
• The Research Data Alliance Working Group on COVID-19 has gathered more than 300 domain and data experts from all over the world to produce a set of guidelines and recommendations for data sharing in public health emergencies to support scientific research and policy making. It covers data from 5 sub-groups focusing on essential thematic areas: Clinical, Community Participation, Epidemiology, Omics, and Social Sciences. The 5th (pre final) release of the COVID-19 Recommendations and Guidelines was published on 28 May and it is open for comments until 8 June. Then, after revision and endorsement by the RDA governance bodies, the final version will be published on 30 June.
• OpenAIRE, in collaboration with the EC, will provide services to help in the sharing, discovery, navigation and collaboration of the global research community. In particular, a beta version of the service (operational) has now been released to serve as a single entry point for research results (publications, data, and software) for COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. This service is linked to the other data sharing initiatives
• The European Open Science Cloud Secretariat has introduced a fast-track procedure to apply for funding, specifically dedicated to activities related to COVID-19 in the area of Open Science and research data sharing. The deadline for applications is on 12 June.
Platform to share Information
• DG SANTE’s Health Policy Platform - In order to facilitate easy communication between researchers on initial and unconfirmed observations, a moderated space called “researchers chat” (with restricted access) was set up on DG SANTE’s Health Policy Platform. This allows low-threshold exchange between researchers from different projects, promoting also interdisciplinary connections.
• The European Commission launched (14 May) the new European Research Area (ERA) corona platform. The ERA corona platform is a one-stop shop for information for current and prospective beneficiaries of the R&I Programmes The platform provides useful information, dedicated support and real-time updates on funding opportunities for coronavirus related research and innovation. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the scientific community is facing unprecedented challenges in the search for solutions against coronavirus. Good coordination and quick mobilisation of funds are essential to help our researchers and innovators meet those challenges.
• The European Commission under the patronage of Cssr Mariya Gabriel, in close collaboration with EU member states, host an online Pan-EU Hackathon April 24 -26 (#EUvsVirus) to connect civil society, innovators, partners and buyers across Europe to develop innovative solutions to overcome coronavirus-related challenges. The ‘Winning’ solutions in each challenge area were announced (April 30) here. Winners were invited to a Matchathon that took place 22 - 25 May on the new EIC COVID Platform was created to facilitate connections with end users, such as hospitals, and provide access to investors, foundations and other funding opportunities from across the EU.
Seal of Excellence
• On 8 May, the European Commission granted the first batch of the EIC COVID-19 Response Seal of Excellence to 82 excellent proposals addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. On 4 June, after the final selection, the second batch of COVID-19 related seals was granted to 57 COVID related Seal proposals making a total of 139 COVID-19 seals with a total amount of support of EUR 384 million. The proposals were submitted under European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Pilot (March 20 cut-off). The Seal certificate, co-signed now by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, and by Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, is addressed to excellent proposals from the EIC Accelerator call which have been evaluated worth of funding but for which Horizon Europe does not have enough resources in the call.
• One of the main obstacles to the speedy launch of clinical trials being the slow and complex approval by the appropriate committees, the Commission is asking projects to raise any issues they may encounter in this respect and encouraging Member States to look into these issues by priority. European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) Statement on European solidarity and the protection of fundamental rights in the COVID-19 pandemic (2 April).The EGE calls for a rallying of solidarity at the European and global level and underlines the core ethical considerations that must shape the pathway out of the pandemic.
Adequacy regulatory point of view
• Where relevant, projects are asked to engage with the European Medical Agency (EMA) in order to ensure from an early stage onwards the adequacy of the proposals from a regulatory point of view.
3. TRANSLATING RESEARCH FINDINGS INTO PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY FOR PANDEMIC RESPONSE
• Initial research findings may inform the public health response. The Horizon 2020 model grant agreement obliges the early dissemination of such findings. Another specific moderated space called “research to policy action” (with restricted access) has been set up on DG SANTE’s Health Policy Platform for the posting of such findings and for review of their relevance (and possible recommendations to the Health Security Committee) by the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control (ECDC)
4. COOPERATION AND COORDINATION
Coordination/ cooperation with MS, AC and at international level
• The dynamic ERAvsCorona Action Plan - short-term coordinated R&I actions identifies the first 10 priority R&I work streams for coordinated action between the Commission and the Member States has received support at the informal video conference of ministers of research, 7 April.
• On 29 May, in the informal High Level Video-Conference ,the R&I Ministers debated on the lessons learnt from the research and innovation response to the COVID-19 outbreak, on how R&I investments can be best used to boost future jobs and on the role of R&I in the recovery. Ministers reaffirmed the importance of R&I investments at European and national level, and anchoring science at the heart of policy formulation. The ERAvsCorona Action Plan was mentioned as example that it is possible to deliver concrete results in a short time.
• The European Union is currently joining forces with global partners to a pledging effort – the Coronavirus Global Response – an International Pledging Event, led by the EC started on 4 May 2020. It is a joint call for action to develop fast and equitable access to safe, quality, effective and affordable diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines against coronavirus. The Commission registered already EUR 9.8 billion, EUR 2.3 billion in pledges beyond the initial target of EUR 7.5 million that includes a pledge of EUR 1.4 billion by EC (EUR 1 billion is through reprioritisation of Horizon 2020). The pledging marathon steps up to the next phase and marks the beginning of a new campaign that will culminate in a final Global Pledging Summit on Saturday 27 June. Together with the international advocacy organisation Global Citizen, the Commission will step up the mobilisation of funding to enable the world to overcome this pandemic and avoid another. Table that presents a complete overview of all funding pledged and already mobilised under Horizon 2020 to contribute to the Coronavirus Global Response pledging marathon.
• Several meetings to coordinate the efforts at International level took place, in particular at G20 level Commissioner Mariya Gabriel has participated at several high-level videoconference with chief scientific advisors, ministers and leaders of international partners on COVID-19.
• UNESCO hosted an online Ministerial meeting (30 March) with representatives of ministries in charge of science from all over the world to which Commissioner Gabriel participated. This meeting provided a platform for sharing experiences and lessons learnt on how science has informed evidence based on decision-making. The meeting and the associated ‘Plea for a global pact for Open Sciences & international scientific collaboration’ aimed at reaffirming the critical role of science to contain the pandemic and preparedness for the future.
• DG Research and Innovation co-chaired a virtual e-brainstorming meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Platform in Research and Innovation (6 April) to discuss the future thematic priorities of the Platform in light of the current COVID-19 global epidemic.
• A Joint EU-Canada statement COVID-19 was adopted (14 April) by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. R&I is one of the key areas covered by the statement. Canada is keen to promote linkages between Canada projects and the EU COVID19 projects.
5. MONITORING AND ANALYSIS OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ASPECTS
• Research and innovation (R&I) has contributed to the EC recovery package.
• The recently set high-level Expert group on the economic and societal impact of research and innovation (ESIR) has launched the Policy Brief No. 1 Protect, prepare and transform Europe - Recovery and resilience post COVID-19 a first reflection on the role of science and innovation in support of the exit strategy from COVID19.
6. OUTREACH AND COMMUNICATION
• A video ‘EU Research and Innovation: United against Coronavirus’ that highlights the unique role EU research and innovation has played in connecting researchers, innovators and healthcare providers over the last few months, providing concrete examples of some of our most important initiatives.
• Four factsheets were prepared
1. EUR 1 BILLION MOBILISED UNDER HORIZON 2020
2. TEST! Early detection and monitoring to save lives and preserve healthcare systems
3. PREVENT! Protecting people and stopping the epidemic
4. TREAT! Early treatment to save lives and accelerate recovery
|Finland||2020-05-21||Please note that the response to this question is overlapping somewhat with the issues asked in question 6. We often find it difficult to make a difference between the actions and stimulus packages aimed at supporting the economy in general and on the innovation system in particular. Here is a summary of Covid-19 –related measures, organized by the authority responsible for the measures.
1) The Bank of Finland made decisions on 15 March 2020 on measures aimed at alleviating payment difficulties and liquidity shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic and ensuring access to funding for households and businesses, particularly SMEs. The decisions were prepared in cooperation with the Government and key authorities, and in dialogue with the financial sector. They complement the decisions taken earlier by the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) to support favourable liquidity conditions and preserve the smooth provision of credit in the euro area.
The Bank of Finland assesses, in close cooperation with national, European and Nordic authorities, the stability of the financial system and, in particular, developments in financial intermediation. The purpose is to facilitate the ability of credit institutions to provide funding to businesses and households and to mitigate the negative economic impact of the pandemic. The Board of the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) has started work on an immediate review of the level of capital requirements that are subject to national decision-making.
In 2009–2018, the Bank of Finland invested in the domestic corporate paper market. This investment activity was discontinued as market volumes shrank, reflecting the decrease in funding needs of businesses. Recent events have weakened the ability of markets to function and increased the funding needs of businesses. The Bank of Finland has therefore decided to restart its activities in the domestic corporate paper markets. The size of the programme was initially EUR 500 million. A few days later, the size of the programme was increased to EUR 1 billion due to huge demand.
For more, see: https://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/media-and...
2) The Tax Administration will ease the terms of payment arrangements for the time being. If a company has difficulties paying taxes due to the coronavirus situation, it can request a payment arrangement with eased terms starting 25 March 2020. For example, according to the new terms, the first installment of the payment arrangement will fall due in three months after the arrangement has become active, as opposed to just one month.
3) The Government decided on 20 March on an extensive package to support companies and to alleviate the negative effects of the coronavirus epidemic (See press release: https://tem.fi/en/article/-/asset_publis...).
According to a government decision, 1,500 foreign seasonal workers can be employed to perform agricultural, forestry, horticultural and fishery work. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has provided the Finnish Border Guard a list of the most critical employees in terms of security of supply. Legislative amendments to legislation concerning the right of third-country nationals to work in duties central to the security of supply and the functioning of the labour market entered into force on 9 April 2020.
4) Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: The Government submitted the first supplementary budget proposal for 2020 to Parliament on 20 March. An additional appropriation of EUR 12.8 million is proposed for the operating expenses of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare for the expenditure arising from the coronavirus. The additional appropriation is intended for purposes such as disseminating information and raising awareness among citizens, for safeguarding the functioning of information systems and for maintaining laboratory capacity. Altogether, EUR 6 million of the additional appropriation will be allocated to a broad-based research consortium for research into the coronavirus epidemic, in particular for developing rapid diagnostic methods and research into the emergence of immunity and for creating a national monitoring system for it. Of the additional funding allocated to research, EUR 4 million will be used to monitor the effectiveness of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
5) Organisations operating in the field of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE Group) monitor the effects of the coronavirus on businesses, employment, consumers and security of supply. The Ministry together with other organisations in the MEAE Group, monitors the effects of the coronavirus on business activities, employment and security of supply, and takes the necessary measures to alleviate the negative impacts. All the relevant general information about the coronavirus and the authorities’ actions and responses can be found from the following website: https://tem.fi/en/information-on-coronav...
In negotiations held on 13 May 2020, the Government decided to introduce a new form of support to businesses in all industries to cover their costs. The support is intended for companies that have experienced a marked decrease in turnover due to the coronavirus epidemic, and have costs that are difficult to adjust. Support is allocated to companies and sectors most severely affected by the coronavirus.
In the field of STI, it includes the following (newest at the top):
On 8 April the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment announced that it is seeking to ensure that businesses will be able to continue operating on a profitable basis after the coronavirus crisis is over.
Additional EUR 450 million from the supplementary budget to support businesses. The additional funding is aimed at ensuring that sufficient resources are allocated for both coronavirus-related financing already in use by Business Finland and the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and for the support of sole entrepreneurs, to be introduced in the near future. Of this increase, EUR 100 million is intended for support provided by Business Finland, EUR 200 million for support provided by the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, and EUR 150 million for the support of sole entrepreneurs.
As a whole, support for businesses during the coronavirus crisis will increase to EUR 1.45 billion, of which Business Finland support account for EUR 800 million. The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment will receive EUR 400 million and sole entrepreneurs, EUR 250 million
6) Business Finland (https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/for-fi...)
Business Finland’s grant authorisations will be increased by EUR 150 million to permit immediate business support measures.
On 19 March 2020, Business Finland launched two new financial services to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. These services are intended for SMEs and midcaps operating in Finland whose business is suffering from the coronavirus situation. Financial services are intended for at least tourism and auxiliary tourism services, creative and performing industries and all sectors where subcontracting chains are affected. The funding is intended for companies to explore and tap into new business opportunities in emergency conditions. The first funding decisions were made immediately on 20 March 2020.
7) Finnvera (https://www.finnvera.fi/eng/)
The Government will make additional financing of EUR 10 billion available to businesses through Finnvera. The principal operating model is offering guarantees to banks that grant loans. In addition, the state will increase its coverage of Finnvera’s credit and guarantee losses from 50% to 80%.
8) ELY Centres (Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment) (https://www.ely-keskus.fi/en/web/ely-en/...)
ELY Centres’ grant authorisations for business development projects will be increased by EUR 50 million. The additional authorisation will be used to support SMEs particularly in the service sector but also in other sectors as necessary to manage and prevent the effects of the coronavirus.
9) VTT – Technical Research Center (https://www.vttresearch.com/en)
VTT is responding to corona virus in various ways, including the following:
9.1 Responding to customer needs in exceptional circumstances
Through active and continuous communication, VTT enables the understanding of customer needs even in exceptional circumstances. All customer meetings have been converted to online meetings. Plans to help clients monitor the progress of their daily experimental work at VTT, for example, have been developed and are being implemented. VTT's new, streamlined website has been launched. In addition, social media and other digital marketing channels are actively used for communication. As an example, VTT utilizes webinars and recordings of VTT researchers' presentations to enable scientific exchange despite the prevailing conditions.
9.2 Immediate RTD actions to assist Finnish society during covid-19
During the Corona pandemic, VTT sees opportunities to participate in a joint national effort by leveraging the organization's expertise and available infrastructure. VTT has identified capabilities that would provide immediate national support for the Corona effort, as well as expertise that will bring significant benefits over the next year. Recognized examples include some with immediate effect, some requiring more time and also additional investments.
9.3 Measures to mitigate the economic shock and support national competitiveness
VTT has started planning how VTT's research resources can be harnessed to maintain Finland's competitiveness in this exceptional situation. As client assignments fade, VTT's freed up researcher resources can be utilized (subject to an increase in state aid) for strategic themes and projects that benefit Finnish industry and society and revitalize economic growth. VTT has the capability to launch such research projects quickly. The themes will not only address the challenges posed by the corona situation in terms of industrial competitiveness and security of supply, but will also continue to focus on providing solutions to the long-term challenges of carbon neutrality and the circular economy. Innovations related to these themes will also benefit Finland after the immediate corona crisis eased.
10) The Academy of Finland is making available funding for Covid-19 research (3 million euros) The aims of the funding to be granted for research into the COVID-19 epidemic are:
• to support research in the field and/or
• to improve open access to research data and outputs for researchers and society and/or
• to promote the use of research knowledge in mitigating the effects and/or
• to promote the utilisation of research-based knowledge and expertise.
The call is a targeted call intended for organisations. The organisation’s application consists of sub-applications. The sub-applications are based on the work of ongoing Academy-funded projects, which will ensure that activities can start as soon as possible. The plans of the sub-applications must be relevant to the theme of the call. The principal investigators of the sub-applications must have an ongoing Academy-funded research project on the closing date of the call.
The assessment will focus on how the plans are based on the work of the projects, their relevance to the theme of the call and whether the plan can be credibly implemented considering the current situation. The General Subcommittee of the Academy of Finland will make the funding decisions.
11) CSC-Center for Scientific Computing gives priority to its computation capacity for national health care organizations.
|France||2020-05-25||The Minister of Research, Frédérique Vidal, announced on 19th March the creation of an emergency fund of 50 million euros for French public research engaged on the front line against the COVID-19 epidemic. This is in addition to the € 8 million already made available and will guarantee that all the promising lines of research that emerge can be financed without delay, whether it be research on clinical trials or vaccine research.
The National Research Agency (ANR) launched a “Flash call” on this subject, the closing date for the submission of projects was 23 March.
The hospital clinical research program (PHRC) of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health covers the field of clinical research which aims to assess the safety, tolerance, feasibility or effectiveness of health technologies.
The Defense Innovation Agency (AID) launched a dedicated call, as part of the government's plan to fight COVID-19. It relates to the search for innovative solutions, whether technological, organizational, managerial or adapting industrial processes, which could be directly mobilized in order to: protect the population, support patient care, test the population, monitoring the evolution of the disease at the individual level and the evolution of the pandemic, or helping to limit constraints during the crisis period.
The “Structuring Projects for Competitiveness” (PSPC) action of the Investments for the Future Program (PIA) is open to companies of all sizes and from all economic sectors, and involves structured collaboration between economic and academic players. This action is coordinated by BPI France. A PSPC project dedicated to Covid-19 is under consideration (to date, March 26).
French research is also mobilized at European level with the participation to the RECOVER (Rapid European COVID-19 Emergency Response) project. This research project funded by the European Commission involves 10 international partners and includes several components including epidemiological studies, clinical studies, and studies in the social sciences.
France is also participating in the Fight-nCoV (Fighting-Off Coronavirus (Sars-Cov-2) With Broad-Spectrum Antivirals: Establishing Animal Viral Challenge Model), I-MOVE-COVID-19 (Multidisciplinary European network for research) research projects. , prevention and control of the COVID-19 Pandemic) and CoNVat (Combating 2019-nCoV: Advanced Nanobiosensing platforms for POC global diagnostics and surveillance).
|Germany||2020-09-14||The Federal Republic of Germany is heavily engaged in strengthening research to address the Covid-19 crisis. To this end, the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag allocated additional funds for related research.
Corona-related funding for German research institutes
The German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) has provided 9,574 Mio. € to support (federal) research institutes in the fight against Corona. The research activities aim at
• supporting the national fight against spreading of the virus
• the development of vaccines and therapeutics
• establishing and improving the national and international crisis management
• health education and information for the public and professionals.
The institutes receiving support from the German Federal Ministry of Health are:
• Robert Koch Institute (RKI): (i) Expansion and strengthening of the surveillance systems for acute respiratory infections (currently: ICOSARI, GrippeWeb, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Influenza), establishing an integrated molecular surveillance system and increase of diagnostic capacities. (ii) Establishing and improving of national and international crisis management and support of the Federal States in fighting the outbreak. (iii) Education and information for the public and professionals – support of international measures of the RKI (here: African partner institutions and countries).
• Bernhard Nocht Institute on Tropical Medicine, Research Center Borstel, Hasso Plattner Institute: (i) Measures to develop new infrastructures for diagnosis and development of new anti-virals and therapies against Covid-19, (ii) research aiming at characterization of SARS-CoV-2 to better understand its spreading and properties, (iii) providing data on epidemic transmission patterns and diagnostics of proof and resistance of the virus.
• Bernhard Nocht Institute on Tropical Medicine – extra application “international”: Support for the health care system in 12 African countries: Equipment for diagnostic centers, training of lab personnel und capacity building.
• Bernhard Nocht Institute on Tropical Medicine – extra application “Counselling of health professionals”: Establishing a 24 h counseling service for health professionals to (i) support individual medical decisions/considerations and (ii) prevent decrease in the management of other diseases.
Programmes to accelerate research and development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2
Germany supports the development of vaccines within the international Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) framework, which it has supported with a total of 90 Mio. € since 2017. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the German Ministry of Education and Research has allocated an additional 140 Mio. € for vaccine development within CEPI.
In addition, the German Ministry of Education and Research has launched a special programme with up to 750 Mio. € to accelerate research and development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. The programme specifically aims at enabling clinical studies with larger groups of test subjects, and to expand manufacturing capacities.
Research Call for COVID-19 Treatment Options
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research issued a call on the development of drugs for the treatment of Covid-19, as well as research that contributed to better understanding the virus, on 3rd March 2020. The Call’s budget currently amounts to 45 Mio. €. Based on the research priorities set in the WHO roadmap for COVID-19, the Call is structured in different modules:
• Module 1 - Combating Covid-19 through early clinical studies for the application of already known therapeutic approaches to Sars-CoV-2
• Module 2 - Control of Covid-19 through new therapeutic and clinical diagnostic approaches
• Module 3 - Research that contributes to the understanding of the virus and its spread
• Module 4 - Support of already ongoing research projects on corona viruses
The Call closed on 11 May 2020 and a total of 525 proposals were submitted. So far, over 50 projects have been selected for funding, but the evaluation is still under way. Updated information on the projects funded in the Call will be made available through GloPID-R and the UKCDR Dashboard.
Call for interdisciplinary research on epidemics and pandemics
On March 19, 2020, the German Research Association (DFG) launched a Call for interdisciplinary research proposals on epidemics and pandemics. Projects will be funded that address prevention, early detection and containment or research on the causes, consequences and handling of epidemics and pandemics looking at SARS-CoV-2 and other human-pathogenic microorganisms and viruses.
University Medicine Network
Since March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the establishment of a research network with 150 Mio. € to promote the exchange of data and research of German university medicine in the context of the current pandemic crisis. The network’s goal is to establish centralized infrastructures for data sharing, such as a patient-related database, in order to identify best practices, ensure the highest possible standard for treatment, and generate a solid foundation of data for research and treatment. In this way, the initiative aims to bring together and evaluate the action plans, diagnostic and treatment strategies of all German university clinics by bundling patient data across all German university hospitals in a joint database and merging patients’ medical histories. This approach may effectively flank the medical staff’s work and allow scientists to gain knowledge on the individual treatment of patients, pandemic management, and the development of therapies. The network also aims to launch a national task force on Covid-19 that brings together German university medicine and political representatives.
New political measures to accelerate and facilitate mass testing, data sharing and transmission chain detection
Due to the coronavirus crisis, Germany passed a new law for the protection of the population during epidemics of national relevance on May 15, 2020. The law envisages new measures to accelerate and facilitate mass testing and sets in place new mechanisms for fast data sharing and faster detection of infection transmission chains. It includes the expansion of existing reporting systems, it enables the Federal Ministry of Health to oblige health insurance providers to pay for coronavirus and antibody tests, and it requires test laboratories to transmit both positive and negative test results as well as further testing data to the Robert Koch Institut (RKI), Germany’s government agency and research institute for disease control and prevention, in an anonymised form.
|Greece||2020-05-07||In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Secretariat for Research and Technology of Greece launched a Flagship Research Action entitled “Epidemiological study in Greece through extensive testing for virus and antibody detection, viral genome sequencing and genetic analysis of patients, in response to the SARS-CoV-2 crisis”.
The Action is expected is expected to provide answers to the following questions:
1. Given the global spread of the virus and the possible shortage of reagents, will Greece be able to respond successfully to the increased demand for virus detection tests as well as antibody tests, particularly as containment measures are gradually lifted?
2. Despite identification of high-risk groups (seniors and people with underlying conditions), predictability of outcome for individual patients remains relatively low. Are there factors like genetic susceptibility which could help in this regard?
3. Which are the transmission patterns of the virus and which are the predominant virus strains among the Greek population?
4. Which will be the immunity levels of the population and of each patient after the pandemic?
The Action will be implemented by four (4) higher education institutions and six (6) research centres. Greek research centres and university laboratories, working together with the medical community, have the privilege to be ideally positioned, at international level, to conduct this study, which is expected not only to have a direct impact within Greece in the immediate future, but also to put Greece at the vanguard of global advances in understanding and tackling SARS-CoV-2.
The Flagship Research Action has a pubic budget of € 2.475 m under National Public Investments Programme.
More detailed information about the Flagship Action is given in the following link:
Further initiatives undertaken by Greek Research organizations are as follows:
1) Testing for the virus is done by the Hellenic Pasteur Institute (https://www.pasteur.gr), the national COVid-19 Reference Centre. Testing is up until now limited to those with serious symptoms. It is not possible to extend testing to the symptom-free population, mainly due to shortages in reagents and essential consumables. Epidemiological data are stored for all samples. However, it is still early days for concrete epidemiological studies.
2) Several Greek public Research Centers and Universities have joined forces to contribute to the national effort to broaden testing of the population under an initiative of the National Council for Research & Innovation and the National Public Health Organization. This plan has not been fully implemented yet until all biosafety requirements are met and all controls are completed. As a first phase, the plan includes the Laboratory of Hygiene and Epidemiology of the University of Athens (https://dehems.med.uoa.gr), the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (https://www.bioacademy.gr/) and the Institute of Applied Biosciences at the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (https://www.inab.certh.gr/). Further research entities are also appropriately equipped in order to detect SARS-COV-2 by real time PCR, such as, for example, the Institute for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH) (https://www.imbb.forth.gr/). The latter has also developed an innovative technology based on biosensors for the direct detection of virus particles of SARS-COV-2. They are in consultation with the Reference Centre of the Pasteur Institute in order to perform tests. A spin-off company has been created by FORTH for the next steps and exploitation of research results.
3) There are important research activities in the field of biology of viruses (among them the family of coronaviruses) along with the reaction of the human immune system to viral infections. Such research is mostly undertaken at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology / FORTH, but also at the other biomedical research Institutes. Substantial work is also being done in the field of epidemiological modelling of the virus spread dynamics with mathematical and computer models.
4) On treatment for COVID-19, Greece is already implementing a strategy of drug-repositioning / re-purposing for already approved drugs. Several research groups along with enterprises are working in this field.
|Ireland||2020-03-30||Research and Innovation, in health, academia and industry, have a significant role to play in the national and global response to COVID-19. Consequently, the Government’s main research and innovation agencies have developed a coordinated Rapid Response Research and Innovation programme to help mitigate and manage the COVID-19 pandemic by unlocking the potential of Irish based researchers and innovators to join the global efforts. This coordinated response is comprised of two complementary strands. Having two focus areas allows for sufficient specialisation and coordination while optimising available resources.
(1) The first focus area targets Health services research; Patient-oriented and clinical research; and Population health research to COVID-19. This is led by the Heath Research Board (HRB) and the Irish Research Council (IRC) and details of the call can be found here: https://www.hrb.ie/funding/funding-schem...
(2) The second focus area is an agile and adaptive initiative to combine the capabilities of industry and academia in the development of innovative solutions that can have a rapid demonstrable impact on the current COVID-19 crisis in Ireland, including but going beyond the health response to areas such as essential services and supply chains. This is led by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland and details of the call can be found here: https://www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls...
|Israel||2020-03-30||50M Shekels grants, spearheaded by the government investment arm, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), will support companies from all sectors with products that address the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The IIA, Israel’s Ministry of Health, and the Ministry for Social Equality, through its Digital Israel initiative, announced on 24 March the allocation of NIS 50 million (approximately US $13 million) in grants for corona-fighting startups and companies. The grants will be allocated to companies submitting research and development plans, proofs-of-concept, products, and technological solutions that address the challenges of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
In addition, the IIA, the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, and the Manufacturers Association of Israel are calling on industrial facilities and companies to submit R&D plans for the increased production of coronavirus-related products. As part of the initiative, the government will offer financial support of 50% to 75% of expenses to plans that will demonstrate the potential to bolster the country’s healthcare system or provide breakthroughs in the fight against coronavirus.
Example of a private sector initiative: https://m.facebook.com/events/2326989017...
|Italy||2020-03-29||The Government has kicked off the “Innova per l’Italia: la tecnologia, la ricerca e l’innovazione in campo contro l’emergenza Covid” project (https://innovazione.gov.it/innova-per-l-...), jointly managed by three Ministries (Innovation, Economic Development, University & Research) targeted at companies, universities, public and private research institutions, who can provide contributions in the field of development and production of devices for the prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2, to promote its containment. The project invites these actors to propose their contribution in three areas:
- the procurement, innovation or industrial re-conversion of their technologies and processes, to increase the availability of personal protective equipment (in particular surgical masks) and the production of complex respiratory systems for the treatment of respiratory syndromes (including individual components);
- the procurement of innovative kits or technologies to facilitate the diagnosis of Covid-19;
- technologies and tools for monitoring and prevention of Covid-19.
The proposals received will be evaluated and the Extraordinary Commissioner will activate the necessary steps to implement the approved projects.
The Italian Medicines Agency (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco) has also set up a crisis unit for the Covid-19 emergency (www.aifa.gov.it). Its strategy is based on four main areas of action:
- promoting controlled clinical trials of off-label drugs;
- promoting R&D/access to experimental drugs;
- designing national guidelines for Covid-19 case management, in collaboration with the Civil Protection and Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital;
- preventing shortage of drugs at the hospital level.
Italy strongly encourages exploitation of the ‘newborn’ European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) for sharing data and best practices according to an Open Science and Open Innovation approach. The GloPID-R project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/8746...) could represent another platform with a similar purpose.
|Japan||2020-03-29||・The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) support R&D projects on diagnostic methods, treatment methods and vaccines for COVID-19 by additional grant (1.44 billion yen in total).
・AMED supports to develop an R&D platform to immediately respond to emerging infectious disease epidemics such as COVID -19 by additional grants (2.5 billion yen in total).
・Additional grants of Health Labour Sciences Research Grant supports confirmation of therapeutic effects of existing drugs and creation of diagnostic kits for COVID-19 (1 billion yen in total).
・Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Grant-in-Aid for Special Purposes) supports basic research for the development of preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic agents, including the collection and analysis of COVID -19 information and samples (50 million yen in in total).
・AMED and others support the development of immediate testing equipment for novel coronavirus. (0.3 billion yen in total)
|Korea||2020-03-28||- Korea is actively carrying out public-private clinical studies on COVID-19 vaccine and treatment. Korea undertook studies on testing kits, treatment, epidemiological study and vaccine development since February 2020.
- The MSIT supported private companies’ development of COVID-19 testing kits to make rapid testing available as soon as possible. Three of the five companies that developed COVID-19 testing kits received support from the MSIT.
- The MSIT is also supporting the Institute Pasteur Korea and Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology to find a treatment for COVID-19 through repurposing drugs whose safety is verified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- To help Korean COVID-19 testing companies secure technological competitiveness, the MSIT has formed a research council on medical devices for infectious diseases with government-funded research institutes and hospitals specializing in infectious diseases and medical devices, and is providing necessary technology, equipment and networks.
|Latvia||2020-08-04||- EUR 5,000,000 State Research Program (SRP) for Covid-19 research in the fields of health, engineering, society, and the economy. The SRP is planned to be implemented by the end of 2020 in the form of interdisciplinary research projects, with a special emphasis on information and technology and economic components. SRP projects would focus on research topics such as viral biomedical research, new forms of work and education, digital tools and platforms, remote medical services, psychology and families, post-Covid-19 health effects, clinical recommendations for drugs and vaccines, and other Covid-19 related mitigation issues.
- EUR 500,000 from the European Regional Development Fund for Covid-19 epidemiological research;
- EUR 400,000 [initially earmarked, actual amount will not exceed EUR 150,000] NordFosk research project competition on the use of Nordic health data to combat and mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic. The competition provides for the use of existing clinical, socio-economic, statistical, and other data, the acquisition of new data, and the facilitation of cross-border data exchange. In order for the project to be included in the competition, Latvian scientific institutions will have to cooperate in an international consortium with at least two Nordic partners.
|Lithuania||2020-03-30||Processes are coordinated by the Emergency Commission together with the Government Office. Currently, processes are taking place at the operational level, where society, science and business are struggling to respond to the needs expressed by the Government Emergency Commission.
In parallel, Lithuanian researchers are preparing to join international initiatives in the field of COVID19 research.
Research Council of Lithuania is considering initiating a research program related to COVID19.
The Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology has launched a call "Life saving-innovations: stop COVID-19" with simplified procedures. The call is open for innovators, technology developers, start-ups and innovative companies that can offer research- and innovation-based unconventional solutions to manage the COVID-19 crisis. After the selection the best projects will be funded from the EU SF instrument „Inostartas” (52,000 euro / project).
Here are some examples of ongoing initiatives:
- Lithuanian robotics company "Rubedo sistemos", that is developing a unique disinfecting robot that can help fighting COVID-19. This autonomous robot has great potential for future applications: it can be used in hospitals, quarantine facilities, offices, schools, supermarkets, warehouses and airports.
- A hackathon (Hack the Crisis was organized in Lithuania on 20-22 March: https://hackthecrisis.lt/) specifically designed to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.
- Vilnius University Life Sciences Centre has handed over laboratory disinfection equipment to the National Cancer Institute to disinfect patients' wards.
- VU GMC has set up an analytical center where it selects and provides the government with the latest scientific information on COVID 19 once a week;
- Lithuanian scientists are also looking for the possibility to produce the necessary reagents for COVID19 research.
|Mexico||2020-03-29||The president has set aside a vast amount of resources to be prepared for the contingency. Several measures to be implemented by the Ministry of Health, specially regarding equipment for people infected and for health personnel. Other resources are being poured on R&D trough National Council for Science and Technology to ensure that proper research is being conducted on new treatment, potential cure and vaccination. All takes into account the information received from experts in the country.|
|Netherlands||2020-04-01||1. A guarantee facility for SME loans (BMKB) is already in place and working – EUR 665 million of an available budget of EUR 765 million, 0.08% of GDP. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy has expanded guarantees to a higher guarantee percentage, up to 90% of the credit risk of banks for SMEs that want to take out a loan of EUR 1.5 mln maximum but that do not have the required collateral. This measure was recently expanded for SMEs coping with risks associated with the nitrogen ruling (adopted) and is further expanded to apply to SMEs affected by COVID-19.
2. Businesses can request for a special deferral of payment in income tax, corporate tax, turnover tax, energy tax and wage tax. Temporarily, no penalties for failure to pay taxes (on time) will be imposed. Businesses that already forecast lower profits due to the epidemic can request a reduction of the provisional tax assessment and will be able to pay less initial tax in order to avoid liquidity problems. To avoid immediate liquidity problems, the requirement for a “third expert” will not have to be included in the request immediately (but after two weeks). Moreover, the tax authorities will temporarily decrease the recovery interest rate from 4% to 0.01%.
5. The so-called GO-regulation, through which SMEs can secure a 50% guarantee from the government on their bank loans and bank guarantees, will be expanded. The maximum ceiling guaranteed will be increased from EUR 400 million tot EUR 1.5 billion and the maximum GO-facility per firm will be increased from EUR 50 million to EUR 150 million. This will enable both small and large firms to benefit from this policy.
6. In order to support small firms and start-ups with little financial reserves, we will expand the Qredits-programme. Through this program, we expect to support approximately 3000 to 6000 firms by a deferment of payment for a period of a maximum of six months and by giving those firms a discount on their rent payments for the same period.
7. Agricultural and horticultural SMEs will be supported by temporarily relaxing the guarantee for working capital, which is part of the existing decree Borgstelling MKB-Landbouwkredieten (BL). The decree will ease acute liquidity problems for agricultural and horticultural business who experience those problems due to the COVID-situation. The credit is for a maximum of 2 years.
8. Repayments of Innovation Credit and Early Stage Financing, both subsidies in the form of a credit, can be delayed for six monthts.
9. Likely, the Dutch Health ministry will do additional investments, together with the science and the economic departments, for Corona-related medicines.
|New Zealand||2020-03-30||The New Zealand Health Research Council and the Ministry of Health have issued two calls for research relating to COVID. These can be found here https://www.hrc.govt.nz/news-and-events/...
OECD Secretariat additions (30 March 2020):
On 2 March 2020, the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Ministry of Health announced a NZ$3 million (USD 1.8 million) rapid research response fund for projects contributing to global COVID-19 efforts (https://www.hrc.govt.nz/news-and-events/... ). NZ$1 million (USD 0.6 million) will be allocated to projects that can provide responses to the current disease threat in the short term (within 3-6 months), and NZ$2 million (USD 1.2 million) to fund research that strengthens New Zealand’s research capacity and response to emerging infectious disease threats. Proposals are invited from all fields of health and social science.
|Norway||2020-04-30||1. Measures that have been implemented
The Norwegian Research Council (RCN) has launched a COVID-19 Emergency Call for funding in order to contribute to the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The aim is to support research that will enable us to understand and contain the new COVID-19, as well as to improve efficient patient management and public health (national and international) preparedness and response to the current and analogous outbreaks that may come in the future. The call for proposals is based on the recent research priorities defined by the WHO. International collaboration with research groups in other countries, including those funded by GLOPID-R member organisations to foster larger-scale studies, is encouraged. The scope of the proposals may include different topics, including health and economic aspects. The total budget is EUR 2 560 000.
In cooperation with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The RCN is also launching several extraordinary measures in order to strenghten COVID-19 research in and in cooperation with lower income countries. A call for proposals on global health with a 20 May deadline has been allocated an additional 20 million NOK for projects of particular relevance to Covid-19.
The Research Council also has a large portfolio of ongoing projects on issues in the fields of health, biotechnology and societal issues that may be relevant for COVID-19 as well. In addition, several research institutions and public health authorities (such as the Norwegian Institute of Public Health) conduct research that is relevant for this issue. However, we do not have a complete overview or a list of projects.
2. Measures under consideration, not yet decided
The suggested measures encompass the Research Council's project portfolio as well as the different research-performing sectors, particularly related to trade and industry and the institute sector (the independent research institutes). The measures will be discussed with the relevant ministries.
The measures suggested by the Research Council have been divided into six categories:
1. General measure aimed toward the institute sector (increased basic funding)
2. General measures aimed toward trade and industry
3. Measures aimed toward the direct restructuring of businesses
4. Digitalisation measures and competence-building for digitalisation ("kompetanseløft for digitalisering")
5. Measures aimed toward real-time research and research for crisis management
6. Other measures (the Norwegian public sector, the consequences for low-income countries)
In addition to these suggested measures, the Research Council wishes to implement measures related to:
- funding percentage;
- the research organisations' own contributions for projects that receive funding;
- changes to the contract period and other changes to the contract that can in part be carried out within the current funding and partly through increased public funding in order to reduce risk, as well as facilitate the situation for the most vulnerable actors in trade and industry and the institute sector.
Furthermore, there is a need for measures aimed toward improving the situation for young researchers (PhD candidates and Postdoctoral fellows) who must stay at home to care for children, thereby being barred from using laboratories and other research infrastructure.
Most of the measures are time-limited, and the budget for the majority of the measures must be distributed across several years as this concerns multiannual centres or research projects.
|Peru||2020-05-22||In March 29th, The National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation, through its National Fund for Science,Technology and Technological Innovation, launched a public call for research initiatives named “Special projects: Responding to COVID-19”. The call intends to create new scientific knowledge, development, innovation and adaptation of technologies, products, mechanisms or new or improved services which could provide fast solutions to the challenges created by the pandemic.
For this call, we prioritized 5 themes:
Development, adaption and/or validation of detection systems (diagnosis).
Telehealth, mobile health and digital epidemiological vigilance systems.
Technological and innovation systems
Treatment (medicines, vaccines)
Epidemiological and social studies.
Given the need of prompt responses to the crisis, we will prioritize projects in an advanced stage of development, high impact innovation concepts and short term response potential in the following areas:
Projects of applied research
Projects of technological development
Projects of technological adaptation.
We have received 600 concept notes, 55% of which were submitted by universities, 29% came from companies, 6% from research or innovation institutions and the remaining proposals were submitted by public and private institutions which host research units.
In regards to themes covered by the proposals, 14% corresponds to the development and/or validation of rapid tests used for COVID-19 diagnosis. Another 14% of the proposals were related to the treatment of the virus. 29% of the concept notes corresponds to technological and innovation developments, where medical artifacts such artificial ventilation machines required by intensive care units are required. 27% of the proposals present new developments in telehealth and mobile health, and also digital information systems or health management, while the remaining 16% proposals are related to epidemiological and social studies.
During the call for applications we received 600 concept notes, of which 29 were finally selected.We would like to highlight some of the initiatives which have qualified to received the funds, according to their respective priority areas.
Telehealth and Mobile Health
Characterizing COVID-19: Data analysis tool for COVID-19 patients.
Health information Digital System in Peru as a tool for decision making in the context of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Technological development of a remote monitoring and diagnostics system geared towards patients in the rehabilitation stage after recovering from COVID-19 through the use of low-cost device relying on digital spirometry based on exhaled air.
Mobile app for population screening monitoring and screening in Loreto, one of the most heavily affected regions in the country.
Brigadist collaboration network for researching, detecting, and primary management of severely affected COVID-19 communitary cases.
Biological-computational platform for the analysis of new chemical entities, medicines and natural products with potential antiviral effect against SARS-CoV-2.
Production of an anti SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, based on the spike protein expressed in insect cells, and the the evaluation of their security and immunogenicity in animals and voluntary human beings.
Rapid molecular diagnose tests for COVID-19.
Technological devices and innovation
Low-cost portable electronic device for evaluating the risk of developing pneumonia based on the abnormal lung sounds in suspected COVID-19 patients from vulnerable areas.
Low-cost Mechanical ventilators with minimum characteristics for COVID-19’s emergency.
High respiratory protection equipment universal platform, relying on 3D printing.
Vital sign monitoring device for COVID-19 cases and patients with other diseases.
Anti COVID-19 surgical respirator of the use of health personnel
Rectilinear point fabric reusable face masks able to protect the user against COVID-19. Adequate for health personnel and people exposed to infection on the grounds of their working conditions.
Epidemiological and social studies
Dynamic control of the COVID-19 Virus
Decentralized genomic surveillance system for assessing the transmission and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in Peru.
COVID-19 systemic study in the health sector and its impact on the peruvian economy and the development of dynamic government policies at the regional level through the use of soft system dynamics and data science.
For supporting the development of the selected initiatives, an initial amount of 5 million soles will be granted. However,we intend to launch additional funds and launch more calls in the near future. In the following link you will find the details of the call https://www.fondecyt.gob.pe/convocatoria...
|Poland||2020-05-15||1) The National Centre for Research and Development allocated 200 000 000 PLN to fight against coronavirus.
The Polish entrepreneurs and scientists who work on diagnostics, treatment and prevention of viral diseases obtained 200 000 000 PLN. The National Centre for Research and Development announced the Fast Track "Coronavirus" contest. A proven formula to finance innovation from the European Funds was used in order to fight against coronavirus pandemic.
The National Centre for Research and Development envisaged three basic thematic areas which should include projects submitted for co-financing. There are the following:
- diagnostics - devices for quickly detecting the coronavirus presence in the body;
- treatment - researches on the use of existing or new drugs as well as works on vaccines;
- prevention - preventive measures limiting the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the activities to the Polish antivirus shield: improving biosecurity, protecting society and supporting its functioning in epidemiological crisis situations.
Both SMEs and large companies as well as consortia consisting of entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs and scientific units can apply for support. The main condition of receiving the grant is the innovation of the proposed solution at least at the national level as well as the need to its implement on the market. The projects submitted for funding in the contest may include industrial researches, experimental development and pre-implementation works. Only experimental development works are treated as mandatory element. The minimum project value for single SME is 1 000 000 PLN and for large companies and consortia - 2 000 000 PLN. The maximum value of eligible costs of projects co-financed by the National Centre for Research and Development may not exceed 50 000 000 EUR.
2) Express call to fund research on COVID-19 by the National Science Centre with a total budget of 10 mln PLN
3) Changes to the terms of the CEUS-UNISONO call for proposals related to the launch of the FWF Urgent Funding for Research Into
Humanitarian Crises like Epidemics and Pandemics with participation of the National Science Centre
4) Support for hospitals focusing on COVID-19 related patients by the National Centre for Research and Development with a total budget of 100
The National Centre for Research and Development launched a new support for hospitals focusing on COVID-19 related patients on R&D activities. These hospitals can apply for funding projects preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus, protecting personnel and treating COVID-19.
5) Additional support for research (including on COVID-19) at the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology - Jagiellonian University – one-off funding from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of 25 000 000 PLN. Money for the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology - Jagiellonian University should help in developing coronavirus vaccine.
6) Production of the Polish coronavirus tests
The prototype of the Polish coronavirus test was developed by the researchers from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznan. It will be possible to produce 100,000 pieces - based on the reagents of own production and the Polish companies. The National Centre for Research and Development allocated 100 000 000 PLN for this project.
7) IDUB against COVID-19 contest organized by the Warsaw University of Technology
Financing activities on solutions dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects is the main goal of this contest. Projects may concern both the area of basic researches and R&D works. The maximum project implementation period is 18 months and the project financing amount should not exceed 400 000 PLN.
|Portugal||2020-06-29||Several initiatives have been taken in the current short timeframe of the emergence of COVID-19 crisis:
- An urgent research call for special projects has been launched to support innovative projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemia - Research 4 Covid-19 – by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) – application between 24 March and 5 April. A second call is envisioned in one month's time, depending on progress of the pandemia. Both calls have a total funding of €1,5 million and are directed to short-term projects (3 month limit duration and funding per project limited to 30k€, focusing on complementing existing initiatives or reallocating existing human resources).
- An additional research call has been launched, on March 27 with a deadline of May 28, in the context of the National Initiative for Digital Competences (INCoDe.2030) – AI 4 COVID-19 – Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in Public Administration to strengthen the fight to COVID-19 and future pandemias. These projects require the partnership of research institutes with public administration entities, and must be in line with the National Plan for the Preparation and Response to the Disease by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). The projects are expected to focus on big data, analytic techniques and models, computational resources and products and results. The total funding available is € 3 million, with a maximum funding per project of € 240k and project duration between 24 and 36 months.
- A Call for entrepreneurial ideas has been launched by the National Innovation Agency, ANI, which has already gathered a wide range of technological solutions which have been presented by research centres and innovative firms, on the areas of prevention/diagnostic, treatments, medical and hospital services, home support, business services, teaching/training, work organization and other objectives.
- A platform to mobilize researchers - SCIENCE 4 COVID19 – to contribute to responses to the crisis is also being set up.
- As a result of the declaration of National State of Emergency, which imposed limitations on mobility and the requirement, when possible for the implementation of teleworking, and the closure of most public services and businesses except essential ones, MCTES determined the essential services in research and academic institutions to be maintained exempt of the limitations, namely those related to research and analysis on COVID-19, infrastructures requiring permanent maintenance, such as medical, veterinary and biological, those related to technological safety, ICT related infrastructural academic resources, social services for higher education students, and basic administrative services to guarantee regular flow of financial support.
- Existing resources to support distance learning and teleworking dedicated to the research and higher education system have been increased to respond to the sudden increase in demand, through FCT/FCCN. These include video platform COLIBRI, MOOC platform NAU, EDUCAST and VIDEOCAST.
- Legal procedures were put forward to guarantee that all academic evaluation requiring public exams (e.g. PhDs and Habilitation) can be held through the use of videoconferencing and electronic media.
- Research fellowships for degree award from FCT have been given a prorogation to account for the disturbances in the work progress due to the current crisis situation. Prorogation of deadlines in ongoing calls have also been implemented in order to support the significant changes brought about by the crisis, as well as the commitment by the health sciences researchers to the ongoing response. Elegibility of expenditure related to cancelled events due to the coronavirus emergency incurred in publicly funded projects has been changed and guaranteed.
|Russian Federation||2020-09-10||Since 13 March, 2020 the following policy measures related to STI are being implemented:
1. Allocation of additional budgetary funding (1.5 billion roubles) for the development of means of prevention and diagnosis of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-2019).
2. Allocation of additional budgetary funding for the domestic production of artificial respirating units (Source: https://xn--80aesfpebagmfblc0a.xn--p1ai/...).
3. Since March 16, all Russian universities were recommended to introduce mixed and distance learning formats. To support universities during the transition period in connection with the unfavorable situation caused by the new coronavirus infection (COVID-2019), a Situation Center of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and a hotline have been created. The recommendations for the universities on the transfer of educational courses to the online format were developed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
4. The procedure for registration of medical devices for the diagnosis of coronavirus infection has been accelerated (https://www.rosminzdrav.ru/news/2020/03/...).
5. On March 24 the Skolkovo Technopark initiated a crowdsourcing project to develop COVID-19 express medical tests available for wider population.
6. Skolkovo Foundation introduced a series of startup projects to the Government for direct support (see section B Q5) as well as lowered co-financing requirement for obtaining grants on projects that aim at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic to 25%.
7. Russian Venture Company provides grants of up to 50 million roubles with 30 % co-financing for projects that address a specific urgent problem caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
8. Russian Foundation for Basic Research provides grants of 3 to 6 million roubles for the best 2-year research projects on the emergence and spread of coronavirus epidemics
|South Africa||2020-03-29||• As a first step, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has redirected R4 million (€219,000) from some of its projects to research on COVID-19. The Department is supporting local research that will focus on surveillance, therapeutics and understanding the local epidemiology and natural history of the virus. An additional R3 million has been available from the International Cooperation and Resources (ICR) Funds within DSI for international cooperation.
• Secondly, the Department has availed R12 million for SA testing of drugs for Covid-19 treatment.
• The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) is also considering to make funds available to fund some diagnostic and sequencing work.
• The DSI is also engaging with the Department of Health, the Medical Research Council, and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority with a view to mobilising funding, reprioritising research strategies and creating an enabling ethical and regulatory framework to facilitate research on the COVID-19 virus.
• Strategies for the management of mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 infections will be considered and prioritised for further development, costing and implementation. The regulatory and ethics research agenda will include the review and approval of ethical and regulatory challenges pertaining to clinical research. The Department will also prioritise surveillance strategies with a view to funding the top priorities.
• Preliminary work on the development of vaccines has started with University of Cape Town (UCT), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Biovac. Also, the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA) A is currently engaging with other sources of data and modelling groups, refining their assumptions with a view to produce an updated model of the spread of the epidemic over time.
|Spain||2020-04-01||The Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March, on extraordinary urgent measures to deal with the economic and social impact of the new corona virus COVID-19, has included the creation of new budget line of specific R&D funding with 30 million Euros for public research institutions. The Royal Decree Law has also included a dedicated CDTI budget line to provide up to 500 M€ in direct support to mid-caps and SMEs throughout partially reimbursable grants, with no need for any financial guarantee or collateral, seeking to facilitate access to capital for ongoing R&I projects or innovations needed to face the COVID 19 consequences.
The Spanish research against COVID-19 is competitive and will bring results with the purpose to strengthen it in the research for the COVID-19 different measures has been put in Place:
• The Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) which depends on the Ministry of Science and Innovation, has launched the COVID-19 call to finance research projects on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. This call will have 24 million euros available, as approved by Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March, on extraordinary urgent measures to deal with the economic and social impact of the new coronavirus. With this new resources, the ISCIII, as a health research funding body, will develop an urgent program of aid for projects and programs that aim to generate knowledge about the infection: to analyze and know the biology of the virus; to develop new therapeutic and prophylactic options, including vaccines; to develop an epidemiological surveillance system and to analyze its impact from the point of view of the health services.
The initiatives presented, which may be based on projects already under development or be new initiatives, should focus on the following areas:
• Development of techniques for rapid virological diagnosis of COVID-19, transferable to the industrial field and applicable to health care, with a priority focus on the diagnosis of early stages of infection and the management of severe cases to optimize stratification and health care.
• Clinical, biological and molecular characterization of the disease, with analysis of clinical stages, prognostic stratification and possible complications.
• Development of innovative therapies, new antiviral, antiseptic and disinfectant molecules against SARS-CoV-2; studies of antiviral resistance and the effectiveness of non-pharmacological, prophylactic and therapeutic interventions.
• Characterization of SARS-CoV-2, knowledge of genetic and antigenic variation of the virus and management of the immune response and virus-host interaction.
• Development of vaccines, analysis of their efficacy and applicability
• Epidemiological surveillance and molecular study of COVID-19, with analysis of the incidence of mortality, morbidity and lethality; study of environmental and social factors of the spread, risk factors and population dynamics of the infection.
• Use of artificial intelligence tools and massive analysis of integrated data oriented to the epidemiological control of the COVID-19.
• Socio-economic impact of the disease: use of primary care resources, general hospital resources and critical care resources.
Research projects must respect the fundamental principles established in the current wording of the Declaration of Helsinki, promulgated by the World Medical Association, in the Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, as well as comply with the requirements established in Spanish legislation in the field of biomedical research, personal data protection and bioethics.
In addition, the National Biotechnology Centre (CNB) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) will receive 4.45 million € for coronavirus research. CSIC is going to promote the development of its current research and advance in protection strategies against SARS-CoV2. CNB is a worldwide pioneer in a method for cloning viruses that allows them to be genetically manipulated to attenuate their virulence and achieve a vaccine. The team led by professors Luis Enjuanes and Isabel Sola is already working on a project to study the mechanisms of pathogenesis of the new coronavirus.
The CNB project has six objectives: to generate basic tools and experimental models for the development of protection strategies; identification and testing of antiviral compounds for the treatment of SARS-CoV2; development of specific monoclonal antibodies for protection against the infection; development of the next generation of vaccine candidates; molecular, structural and functional characterization, and computer modeling to understand the spread of the new coronavirus.
The ISCIII, the CNB and other research centers have been declared critical health infrastructures and therefore remain fully operational for COVID-19 research.
In the domain of “clinical trials” related with the COVID19 the Spanish Agency for Drugs and Health Products (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios (AEMPS) has authorized two new clinical trials with a new molecule (remdesivir) for patients with severe respiratory disease. The Ministry of Health is also involved in clinical trials with WHO with drugs related to HVI. All relevant information is available at https://www.aemps.gob.es/la-aemps/ultima....
MICIN throughout CDTI – Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology- has been launching extraordinary measures to contribute to the fight against COVID19 and to support business R&I activities and capacities to prevent the slowdown of innovation in Spain, protect business R&I employment and maintain the competitiveness of the Spanish economy through innovation. Actions are part of current CDTI programs, and special attention will be paid to those proposals that may contribute to COVID19 health emergency. The measures adopted include:
1. Exemption from guarantees (from March 14, 2020) requested in partially reimbursable grants for R&I projects of SMEs and midcaps ranging from 0,5-1,0 Million EUROS for SMEs, to 3 Million EUROS for midcaps. For R&I projects related to products considered emergency by the Government in relation to COVID-19, the exemption of guarantees will be doubled. This measure will mobilize around 500 million EUROS.
2. Fast track for proposals in order to help business to maintain its R&i initiatives and prioritizing projects related to COVID19 products.
3. Flexible administrative procedures: (1) extension of justification periods by one month for finalizing projects; (2) flexibility in the repayment of partially reimbursable grants;
4. From March 14, 2020 to June 30, 2020: exemption of payment of interests on principal and/or ordinary for companies benefiting from partially reimbursable grants, when the payment is made within a maximum period of 4 months from it is due. This measure will only be applicable to companies that have a valid loan contract with CDTI.
5. Expansion of the “Direct Expansion Line (LIC-A)” currently limited to Andalusia, Canary Islands, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Comunidad Valenciana (excluding the city of Valencia), Extremadura, Galicia and Region of Murcia, to the entire national territory
6. Flexibility of criteria for accessing to “Innvierte Coinversión” (until June 30, 2020) to especially support SMEs and facilitate access to capital through CDTI co-investment mechanism. CDTI will accelerate time to funding -the minimum time from investors’ analysis to approval-. Innvierte's initial minimum investment requirement is reduced to 250,000 EUROS, jointly considering all investors are leveraged. For actions aimed at technological developments related to COVID19, Innvierte investments may be below 250,000 EUROS to accelerate innovative projects uptake.
Relevant information at:
|Sweden||2020-03-28||Call for research funding is open.
Medical universities and the research infrastructure for Life sciences, SciLifeLab, will together with private funds perform tests for Covid-19 in order to increase the national testing capacity. Commercial test-kits will be assessed for accuracy by testing them together with testing in the Health care sector.
More actions are being planned.
|Switzerland||2020-05-20||The Federal Council has set up a Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, which provided science advice to the governmental and cantonal actors in charge of the crisis management. The Science Task Force consists of a group of around 70 high profile scientists working on ten topics. Based on the available scientific evidence, the Task Force provides recommendations in Policy Briefs, which are publicly available at www.ncsf-tf.ch.
On February 27th 2020, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) launched a “Special call for research into coronaviruses” (call ended on March, 25th). For further details see: www.snf.ch/en/funding/programmes/coronav.... This is the first time that the SNSF is launching a call for proposals in response to current events.
On April 16th 2020, the Federal Council launched the National Research Programme (NRP 78 ) on the subject of coronavirus pandemic, and tasked the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) with implementing it (submission deadline May 25th). For further details see www.snf.ch/en/researchinFocus/newsroom/P... www.snf.ch/en/funding/programmes/nrp78-c....
Coronavirus: SNSF update” www.snf.ch/en/funding/directaccess/coron....
|Thailand||2020-03-31||As a main funding agency in Thailand, NRCT supports specific funding scheme for R&D involving COVID-19 in short-medium-and long terms. Initially, the emergency issues for the short-term R&D has been supported. NRCT allocates about 250 million Baht of new funds of about 8 million US Dollars to support R&D on issues such as genome sequencing, laboratory diagnostics, mathematics model, vaccine development and development of supplies.|
|Turkey||2020-04-10||Co-creation Mechanisms to Cope With COVID-19:
- Policy measures in the field of STI are been mainly built upon facilitating co-creation among actors from different institutions and the private sector. Existing competences and research capacity in Turkey have been taken into account and collaborative funding mechanisms have been utilized to reach immediate solutions to tackle COVID-19 infection in the fields of drugs, vaccines, diagnostic kits and intensive care devices.
- In the area of drugs and vaccines, all relevant actors in Turkey have been gathered and a COVID-19 Technology Platform was created. TÜBİTAK mobilized an existing support mechanism, namely “High Technology Platforms (TUBITAK 1004)” to provide required funding for this initiative. TÜBİTAK funded a bundle of research projects, which are being implemented in accordance with the roadmap and strategic milestones of the COVID-19 Technology Platform. A common sense of strengths and challenges have been developed by the actors who are involved in this network for co-creating high value-added products to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The roadmap is composed of 15 different projects including biotechnological and chemical drugs and vaccines for SARS-COV-2 virus. The Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute of TÜBİTAK has been given the role of coordinating this platform. There are 225 researchers coming from 25 different universities, 8 public bodies and 8 private sector organisations. The roadmap including 15 projects was written in only 10 days thanks to existing research competences in Turkey. All of the projects are planned to be finalized in nine months.
- There is also a coordination between TÜBİTAK and the Directorate of Health Institutes (TÜSEB). TÜSEB is responsible for supporting clinical trial phases of these projects. Toxicity testing and validation studies in animal models will be accomplished immediately and the results will be transferred to TÜSEB for clinical trials.
Fast Tracked Support for Private Sector:
- TÜBİTAK has also provided specific funding opportunities to the private sector in Turkey that has been fast-tracked at this challenging time. TÜBİTAK opened a specific call, namely “Struggling with COVID-19”, dedicated to private sector on 26 March 2020. This call focused on topics such as intensive care devices, diagnostic kits, masks, protective clothing, computing applications for tracing the spread of COVID-19, disinfectant, vaccine and drugs. The call ended on 2 April 2020 and 444 applications were received. All relevant projects will immediately start in April.
Young Researchers as a crucial part of the Struggle with COVID-19:
- TÜBİTAK has opened a specific scholarship call, namely “STAR- Intern Researcher Fellowship Programme” dedicated to young researchers who are willing to take part in COVID-19 projects. The call will stay open between 8-19 April 2020. This support mechanisms is designed in response to the high demand received from undergraduate, graduate and doctorate students and post-doc researchers to contribute to the national struggle with COVID-19.
Coronathon and Support for Entrepreneurs:
- The Ministry of Industry and Technology together with the private sector organized a Coronathon event for entrepreneurs who have potential to provide technology based solutions for COVID-19 pandemic. This event was held on 21-22 March 2020. More than 150 projects competed and more than 150 mentors took roles to help entrepreneurs.
- TÜBİTAK is providing complementary support to the awardees of this Coronathon competition in collaboration with some of the selected Technology Transfer Offices. Technology transfer offices (Boğaziçi University TTO, İTÜ Çekirdek and METU TTO) will use a top-up fund provided by TÜBİTAK in order to support entrepreneurs through their accelerator programs. These technology transfer offices also act as implementing bodies evaluating the business plans of young and innovative candidate entrepreneurs in the Techno-Entrepreneurship Support Program of TÜBİTAK.
|United Kingdom||2020-03-31||In February, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) funded a £20m a rapid research call through relevant bodies such as the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), to complement £20m funding announced by the Health Secretary, which will go to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. So far this has led to six new studies into the novel coronavirus, including testing a vaccine, developing therapies and improving understanding of how to treat COVID-19 (see: https://mrc.ukri.org/news/browse/covid-1...), while the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium will map how COVID-19 spreads and behaves by using whole genome sequencing (see: https://mrc.ukri.org/news/browse/uk-laun...). The race to find a vaccine for coronavirus will be boosted by £210m of new UK aid funding, following a virtual summit of G20 leaders for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for international research on vaccines (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-an...).
UKRI is continuing significant discussions across industry, government, and academia to identify new ways to utilise existing research and innovation capabilities to tackle the crisis.
On the 31st March UKRI launched a website to invite the submission of proposals for short term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. There is no closing date – proposals can be submitted at any time. UKRI will support excellent proposals of up to 18 months duration which meet at least one of the following:
• New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
• Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential.
• Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use.