|Australia||2020-04-02||The Australian Government draws on the expertise of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN) and the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA), through its established decision making governance mechanism. These committees can draw on academic, industry and other stakeholder expertise to inform response measures for COVID-19 and other health emergencies of national concern. The Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance: National Arrangements (National CD Plan) (https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main...) and the National Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publ...) outline the response roles and responsibilities of Federal, state, territory and local governments, including engagement with different STI actors, to collaborate on responses to COVID-19.
The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is a specific initiative that engages STI organisations. The MRFF is a research fund set up by the Australian Government in 2015 that provides funding to four overall research themes, focused on patients, researchers, research missions and research translation. There are currently three MRFF grant opportunities open for COVID-19 related activities.
|Austria||2020-04-03||The funding calls mentioned under Q3 are open for joint proposals. They aim at furthering close collaboration and address possible synergies between universities and research institutions, both from the academic and private sector, which we are already registering throughout the Austrian STI system.
We are currently aiming at establishing additional platforms on a national level to better coordinate relevant initiatives.
|Belgium||2020-05-13||Belgium is putting scientific expertise at the service of public health. An example is the case of the specialised physicians of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp (ITM) who recently strengthened the Antwerp University Hospital in the screening and treatment of COVID-19 patients as they are experienced in working with infectious diseases.
Flanders has organised a taskforce to map, align and promote all public and private digital initiatives that aim to keep the world connected during the pandemic https://www.vlaanderen.be/vlaanderen-hel...
A multidisciplinary consortium consisting of academic researchers, privacy experts and app developers has joined forces to develop a platform to map the further spread of the virus and to better contain the epidemic. The platform combines: a mobile app for citizens; a web app for medical personnel; a back-end for data aggregation; and an AI system to train models. All these components work together to map potential infected clusters, hotspots and super spreading. Contact tracing can furthermore be done more efficiently. Privacy experts have been involved from the outset.
See also answers to questions Q1A et Q3.
|Brazil||2020-04-03||Brazil is taking expedient measures to respond to the crises. As early as January, the Ministry of Health created an emergency group to monitor the situation, head by the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (ANVISA). In February, the Health Ministry organized a meeting with Secretaries of Health from municipalities and state-level in order to coordinate responses to the coming crises, before there were any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brazil, and also published the National Contingency Plan for the COVID-19 crises (https://portalarquivos2.saude.gov.br/ima... marco/25/Livreto-Plano-de-Contingencia-5-Corona2020-21 0x297-16mar.pdf), which organizes the actions to be taken during the development of the pandemic in Brazil, describing levels of response and assigning attributions for different actors.
Once the pandemic reached Brazil, a crisis committee, head by the office of the Chief of Staff of the Presidency (Casa Civil) was established in order to discuss measures to be taken on a whole-of-government level. Then, an interministerial committee was created, gathering the highest officials from the Federal Government to meet with the President in order to coordinate policy. The meetings include ministers of Foreign Affairs; Defense; Health; Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications; Economy; and others.
|Canada||2020-05-08||Please refer to collaborations outlined in answers to questions on scientific advice and new STI funding initiatives.
The Government of Canada has been approached by a vast number of companies and academics, and has been engaging with them to gain insights on possible research and applications that could assist in the COVID-19 response.
Canada’s Chief Science Advisor launched CanCOVID, a platform to support an experts network on COVID-19. The purpose is to expedite communication and collaboration of Canadian COVID-19 researchers, clinical collaborators, and healthcare stakeholders from across the country. https://cancovid.ca
The Government of Canada (GoC), through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and partners, mobilized to launch a COVID-19 rapid response call for proposals intended to solicit investigator-led research focused on both medical and social/policy countermeasures. CIHR is organizing a series of knowledge mobilization events to maximize the impact of these investments, support coordination, and bring the best available evidence forward to support decision-making and action. This includes a small number of targeted virtual investigator meetings to foster meaningful engagement between federally-funded researchers and relevant federal departments and agencies actively engaged in the response to COVID-19.
Canada's academic research community responded overwhelmingly to the CIHR COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity in early 2020, but is also stepping up on other fronts like supplying critical consumables for laboratory testing in public health laboratories across Canada.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) has a range of programs and agencies providing targeted funding to support research and manufacturing capabilities. These include the Strategic Innovation Fund (https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/125.nsf/en...), Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC), granting councils and regional development agencies programs. The ISC's Challenge and Testing Stream has launched challenges to Canadian innovators to develop new and improved pre-market medical countermeasures. http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/101.nsf/eng...
The National Research Council's (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market. The program is focused on expediting funding support to get money in place with its recipient firms as quickly as possible. NRC IRAP has funded three COVID-19 projects to date. Several others under discussion are at various stages of development, focused on short and medium term responses to COVID-19 and aligned with priority areas (PPE, sanitization, diagnostics, etc.). https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-develo...
To bring about transformative, high-risk, high-reward research with the potential for game-changing scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs, the Government of Canada has provided $150 million over 5 years, with $30 million per year ongoing, to the NRC to fund its researchers to work with innovators from post-secondary institutions and businesses on multi-party research and development programs. In addition, the NRC is receiving $15 million in funding for a Pandemic Response Challenge Program, to form dedicated teams to address R&D needs in the fight against COVID-19. The Challenge Program is focusing on three main research themes: 1) rapid detection and diagnosis; 2) therapeutics and vaccine development; and 3) digital health. https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-develo...
The Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) New Frontiers in Research Fund - $275M over 5 years (starting in 2018-19) + $65M ongoing to fund international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and high-risk research. Three streams:
o Exploration stream https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-fin...
o Transformation https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-fin...
o International https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-fin... (not yet launched)
Global Affairs Canada in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has launched the International Policy Ideas Challenge 2020 https://www.international.gc.ca/world-mo...
SSHRC announced the PEG COVID-19 Special Initiative https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-fin...
a $1.5M envelope that provides short-term and timely support for small-scale, stakeholder-driven partnerships through Partnership Engage Grants (PEG). This Special Initiative will allow researchers and their partners the possibility to address urgent and specific needs, as well as challenges or opportunities through collaborations. It will also provide an opportunity to foster knowledge exchange between researchers and different sectors of society. Grants are valued at a maximum amount of $25K per project for duration of one year.
|Chile||2020-04-22||1.- Enhancing the national diagnostic capabilities.
The Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, along with the National Research and Development Agency (ANID), scientific societies and universities, in a February 18th meeting, identified the need to amplify the diagnostic capabilities of the certified network of the National Public Health Institute (ISP), in order to react to the COVID-19 pandemic (sampling and detection).
• A Network of Certified University Research Labs was created, changing their operation to emergency COVID-19 diagnostic centers, reaching the whole country, north to south: nine are currently functioning, seven are ready to start processing samples, and five are calibrating equipment (as of April 21st).
• To support this Network, a CLP 1500000 fund was created by the Ministry, and allocated by ANID.
2.- Mechanical Ventilators:
The Chilean Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation and the Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with SOFOFA Hub, Socialab and the Inter-American Development Bank launched the “Un respiro para Chile (A breath for Chile)” initiative (https://cl.socialab.com/challenges/unres...), a public-private platform, with the goal to promote the development and upscaling of local ventilator prototypes.
• These ventilators may be developed by universities, companies or others, and must follow the technical specs of the National Health Institute (ISP) and the Chilean Society of Intensive Medicine (SOCHIMI)
• SOCHIMI will conduct a thorough technical evaluation and the Ministry of Health will provide an emergency certification.
• As of April 21st, 35 projects were filed by developers, and 5 were pre-selected, according to the fulfilment of security criteria, local material procurement and availability, technical maturity of the manufacturing process, and their technical teams’ capacities.
• During the next 2 weeks, SOCHIMI will tests the five prototypes.
|Colombia||2020-03-28||Acknowledging the current global scenario caused by the Covid-19 and the challenges that it imposes, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia, Mrs. Mabel Torres and her team have proposed two dialogues with experts in the framework of the COVID-19 crisis in Colombia. The goal of these dialogues is to create environments where the actors of the national STI system can meet and actively discuss the issues.
● First Dialogue of Experts
The First Experts' Dialogue took place on March 17, 2020, proposed by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia, Mrs. Mabel Torres. Considering that Colombia is well aware of the vulnerability and susceptibility of its population concerning COVID-19 and its need to generate strong, robust and decisive action as a country against the virus's effects, the dialogue seeks to be a space for articulation and active discussion among the actors of the national STI system.
The general purpose of the dialogue was to provide strategic and disruptive elements that will help state institutions strengthen the actions being carried out by the National Health Institute of Colombia, based on the articulation of several actors of the national STI system against COVID-19. The main actors in the first dialogue were the academic sector, public and private institutes (among them the National Health Institute and the Institute for Health Technology Assessment), two delegates from the Indigenous Intercultural Health System, the Academy of Medicine, three experts on artificial intelligence, and the Minister of STI and her team.
This Dialogue was conceived as an environment for extended, reflexive, constructive, opportune and pro-positive conversation among the actors of the national STI system, therefore some guiding questions were formulated taking into account the current scenario of the COVID-19 from a perspective of the tasks, challenges and responsibilities that we have as a country. The guiding questions were:
i) What should be the priority actions for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in the framework of COVID-19, aiming at promoting the social appropriation of knowledge in the face of the current Coronavirus pandemic, in order to contribute to its mitigation?
ii) How can the academy and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation support the efforts of the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Health to address the COVID-19 pandemic at the national and regional level?
iii) How does the current juncture allow us to be better equipped in terms of policies, plans and programs as a country, to face contingencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic?
iv) How does the current contingency contribute to the formulation of public STI policy and to strengthening the national STI system?
● Second Dialogue of Experts
The Second Experts' Dialogue was held on March 26, 2020, proposed by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia, Mrs. Mabel Torres. The objective was to identify from the differential and territorial approach, and taking into account national and international learning: (i) first, the management of the COVID-19 pandemic; and (ii) second, the challenges for research agendas, useful for the production of evidence, as well as for decision making and public policy formulation.
The main actors in the second dialogue were: 6 experts from the academic sector, including doctors, with specializations in Health Services Management, Public Health, Epidemiology, Molecular Biology and Virology. Two international guests attended, Dr. Oscar Franco, Epidemiologist and Director Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) in Bern, Switzerland, and Edna Martinez, Doctorate in Sociology from the Free University of Berlin. At a national level, guests from the National Planning Department and the Director of Emergencies and Disasters Ministry of Health and Social Protection also attended.
There was an introductory context on socio-cultural and political phenomena that may influence the response to the COVID-19, during the containment and mitigation phase. Then, each panelists presented from their perspective the current and future challenges in the field of research in aspects of public health, health service provision, social protection interventions, or in the field of comprehensive social intervention, following their expertise (socio-cultural dynamics, world views, practices and knowledge of indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, migrant population). Likewise, an overview of the international experience allowed for the identification of lessons learned in Europe.
Subsequently, an exchange of ideas and proposals was promoted with the attendees, in order to establish the challenges and responsibilities that correspond to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as those of other sectors or responses that require a sectoral response.
Finally, an analysis of the research challenges or technological or innovation alternatives potentially useful for the contingency was carried out. The guiding questions were:
i) Taking into account territorial differences and social determinants, how should the COVID-19 Pandemic be dealt with?
ii) How do socio-cultural and political dynamics or ethnic characteristics affect the approach to the pandemic?
iii) How can the problems of accessibility and opportunity to provide services and the territorial capacities be overcome with the support of Science, Technology and Innovation?
iv) What alternatives are foreseen for regions with public order problems, migrant population, floating population, for a comprehensive approach to the pandemic?
v) What are the lessons learned and significant experiences that would stand out abroad during the first months? Which should not be repeated?
vi) What would you incorporate as a priority for research or innovation?
|Costa Rica||2020-05-05||The Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications and the Costa Rican National Learning Institute, with the support of experts from the Health Ministry and Social Security Institution, have assembled a task force and launched the collaborative platform “colabcr”, an open community of people from all over the country (from the public, private sectors, academia and civil society) to design and produce medical protection supplies, detection / screening tests, to design and manufacture assisted ventilation devices, and to support laboratories with PCR capabilities. https://colab.design.cr/#!/home
As part of this process we have created a task force to:
1. Promote research and development of assisted ventilation devices, face shields and screening tests, to support the national hospital system in the event of an eventual collapse during the COVID-19 virus crisis.
2. Guarantee the minimum necessary in this class of medical devices in order to optimize evaluation and approval times.
3. Guarantee the biological safety of front-line personnel in the national hospital network.
4. Guarantee the safety and health of patients who require the use of emergency medical equipment.
5. Provide assistance and scientific, design and engineering support to interested participating groups to optimize and accelerate the design and development processes of these devices.
6. Enlist the support of the country's business sector for the mass manufacture of these devices.
|Czech Republic||2020-05-18||The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic (hereinafter referred to as “MIT”) launched new platform “CONNECTING THE CZECH REPUBLIC (SPOJUJEME ČESKO): Innovation and modern technology help manage the coronavirus pandemic“. It was prepared jointly with CzechInvest agency, which both cooperate with the Ministriy of Health, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Transport, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, CzechTrade Agency, Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, universities and private sector (https://www.mpo.cz/en/guidepost/for-the-...).
The Council for Research, Development and Innovation (hereinafter referred to as “CRDI”) - CRDI´s main role is governance and coordination of RDI on the Czech national level, including preparation of the framework of public budget spending for RDI activities. The CRDI members are actors and experts from different RDI areas and the CRDI team is composed of representatives of academia, industries and other RDI stakeholders (https://www.vyzkum.cz/Default.aspx?lang=...).
|Estonia||2020-03-30||An analytics working group, consisting of analysts from the Ministries of Financial Affairs and Economic Affairs, as well as Bank of Estonia, is modelling the outbreak for the Government, and creating economic scenarios and relevant response measures.
The Estonian Research Council has a co-operation platform including the top research managers of research performing organizations. The first meeting for sharing information and discussing possible needed actions and solutions is scheduled for early April.
The stakeholders are encouraged to submit Covid-19 related applications to the ongoing open call of the funding program ’Nutikas’. The ERDF-funded program supports companies in commissioning necessary applied research or product development projects from universities or research institutions. The aim is to engage private sector to collaborate with research institutions. The additional budget is yet to be fixed.
About the program, see: https://www.etag.ee/en/funding/programme....
|European Union||2020-06-12||Coordination/ cooperation with MS
• 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.
|Finland||2020-05-21||The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, together with the Finnish business community, research institutes and other authorities, has clarified the preconditions for the production of domestic protective materials. The study has found dozens of domestic manufacturers who have the interest and ability to manufacture either respirators or protective clothing.
Under the leadership of the Defense Forces, the possibility of cleaning respirators and other protective equipment with a cleaning method based on hydrogen peroxide gas has been studied. The pilot plant based on the sea container solution was built in April and production testing operation began on 23 April. The testing phase is coming to an end on May 8, 2020. The results of the tests show that the respirators are microbiologically clean after treatment and meet the technical characteristics of the protectors, such as the filtering capacity of the filter material, the function of the filter mounting strips and the function of the protective valves and seals. In addition to respirators, the Defense Forces have investigated the possibility of cleaning protective jackets at the request of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. For these, testing is still ongoing.
There are many bottom up activities ongoing, below are some examples.
The COVID-19 host genetics initiative brings together the human genetics community to generate, share and analyze data to learn the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity and outcomes. Such discoveries could help to generate hypotheses for drug repurposing, identify individuals at unusually high or low risk, and contribute to global knowledge of the biology of SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease. The initiative is co-ordinated from Finland.
A funding pool of four foundations distributed grants for research into factors affecting the course of infections and the intensive care of coronary patients, among others. As many as 180 applications were submitted to the pool during the week. The funding pool formed by the Juho Vainio Foundation, the Minerva Foundation, the Paulo Foundation and the Finnish Medical Foundation allocated 800,000 euros for research into the coronavirus and other viral infections that occur as epidemics and pandemics in an additional funding application.
Hack the Crisis Finland
Hack the Crisis Finland is an online hackathon organised by local companies, startups and tech communities, supported by the Finnish government. They submitted a call to action to each and everyone to participate in the fight and it is inspired by our southern neighbors from Estonia, who started the movement with their Hack the Crisis.
Fast Expert Teams vs. COVID-19: How Finland can avoid paralysis when experts cannot meet F2F?
The Fast Expert Teams initiative was started on March 16th to combine experts from universities, private and public sector organizations and ministries. This is a rapidly growing voluntary pro bono expert network, growing organically and working across professional and organizational borders with various digital tools and platforms to solve various complex problems that ministries are currently struggling with. Expertise is assembled to fit each complex task so that Fast Expert Teams can tackle various problems quickly.
Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences have been closed in Finland, but researchers can continue their studies in critical fields on the premises.
|France||2020-05-25||Public-private initiatives have been initiated. For example: The Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (APHP) and Sanofi are joining forces to accelerate clinical research in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
|Germany||2020-04-06||The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the development of a research network with 150 Mio. € in order to bundle and strengthen the research activities of German university medicine in the context of the current pandemic crisis. The initiative shall bring together and evaluate the action plans, diagnostic and treatment strategies of all German university clinics. At all university hospitals, the data of the treated COVID-19 patients are also systematically recorded and bundled in a database. In this way, the medical histories or data on the constitution of the patients can be merged. Scientists who are not active in medical research can also gain access to this data collection. Their research will support the work of doctors. The data set will help generate valid and useful knowledge on the individual treatment of patients, pandemic management, but also with regard to vaccine and therapy development. The Federal Government will set up a task force. The task force will coordinate university medicine and politics. Various other scientific networks are also to be included.|
|Greece||2020-05-07||No specific mechanisms are in place so far. Coordination is under the responsibility of the Inter-ministerial Committee (see answers to question 1).|
|Ireland||2020-03-30||Several of the relevant agencies have initiatives in place to connect different actors. One part of Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI's) 5 point plan for C19 is to connect the different stakeholders. The Health Innovation Hub Ireland has a portal in place to gather information and redirect actors to the right place. Furthermore:
• The two funding schemes mentioned in question 3 (i.e. the Rapid Response Research and Innovation programme) will bring together different STI actors. As part of the SFI, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland call, there is a call to action to come forward: (i) If you have identified a problem where you consider that RD&I could have impact and would like this problem to be highlighted to innovators and researchers, who may be able to advance a solution; and (ii) If you are currently working in an organisation (e.g. in industry, public service, research performing organisation etc.) on a solution that could generate significant impact and strengthen Ireland’s response to the current crisis, and you need to be connected with research experts, government departments or agencies in Ireland that may be able to assist. Here the funders will play a facilitation role in making the connections within Ireland to develop the solutions required.
• SFI are also developing plans, using existing online platforms, to identify and curate the challenges where research can play a role in solving. These will then feedback into SFI’s existing activities e.g. the Funding Call.
• SFI have also developed a portal of information which will be used to facilitate and encourage collaborations across Ireland and internationally.
|Israel||2020-03-30||The initiatives described in question 3 bring together several government organisations to fund new research and innovation projects targeting Covid-19.|
|Italy||2020-03-29||See the response to question 3, where 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) is described.|
|Japan||2020-03-29||Relevant ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) MHLW, AMED, and NIID are addressing this issue in collaboration with other stakeholders including universities and industry.|
|Korea||2020-03-28||- The central government is cooperating with local governments to respond to COVID-19 effectively. The Central Disaster Management Headquarters (led by the KCDC director) is responsible for all disease control activities, while the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters (led by the prime minister) is providing a swift government-wide support. As for local governments, the Local Disaster Management Headquarters (managed by local government heads) is taking all infection prevention measures available for COVID-19 response.
- Korea formed a COVID-19 response consultative body (composed of Korean Medical Association, Korean Hospital Association, Korea Dentist Association, Association of Korean Medicine, Korean Nurses Association and Korea Pharmaceutical Association) to share COVID-19 response situations and how the medical and pharmaceutical circles should cooperate and exchange opinions on the medical response in the field.
|Lithuania||2020-03-30||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, startups 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).
|Mexico||2020-03-29||Different ministries such as the Science and Technology Council engage in efforts to learn about the potential cure or vaccine for the virus and find out how different countries are fighting the disease and caring for the sick. The health ministry is constantly updating about the advances of the disease and the new cases. Researchers and technical experts are finding new ways to fight the disease. A company that was born at a research center is proving services to allow test to be performed more promptly and at lower cost.|
|Netherlands||2020-04-01||Within the topsector policy, different stakeholders are already involved. They thus have a platform to find solutions to Covid-19 and already have applied EUR 5 million. Furthermore, they are making Covid-19 related data publicly available.|
|Norway||2020-04-30||In order to ensure national coordination, the Central Norway Regional Health Authority has been tasked with coordinating research in the hospital sector. Including harmonisation of protocols and facilitating recruitment from smaller hospitals. An overview of ongoing research is available at www.norcrin.no/nasjonal-oversikt-over-co...
Under the auspices of the various ministries and the Research Council of Norway there is substantial interaction and meetings between STI actors (universities, the research institute sector, industry, government, health sector) to effectively collaborate on responses to Covid-19.
|Peru||2020-05-22||Concretely, through the public call we have launched to boost special projects related to COVID-19, we intend to make a contribution to articulate efforts and agglutinate actors that are developing solutions. For instance, according to our protocols, if we receive two or three proposals from institutions that are working on vaccine development or tests, and said institutions are at similar stages of development, we will provide the funding, ensuring that they join efforts to find the right solution. We are also relying on public-private research and development partnerships, which allow research centers, universities and the armed forces to conduct research together and provide technological solutions.
|Poland||2020-05-15||See point 1 in Q3|
|Portugal||2020-06-05||- 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, and are available on the platform, on the areas of prevention/diagnostic, treatments, medical and hospital services, home support, business services, teaching/training, work organization and other objectives.
- Additionally, other initiatives developed by civil society to address the current crisis are also promoted on the site, under which we highlight two specific STI-related initiatives involving open innovation processes for which citizens are invited to contribute:
- tech4covid19 – The technological community fights the Covid-19 Pandemic: is a movement of 3000+ people: engineers, designers, marketers, health professionals, among many other specialities who seek to be faster than the virus. Several teams are working 24/7 on several projects to help solving some Covid-19 related problems, such as: accommodation for Health Professionals; Fundraising; Technical information; delivery service; free video medical consultation; personal protective equipment; track infected people; tell the world you’re home; virtual triage assistance; symptom tracking; crowded stores; pets; online shopping; symptom screening; learn from anywhere.
- Project Openair and Vent2Life are platforms gathering different competences to restore medical equipment and provide conditions for its use to address the current crisis, namely regarding ventilators, also involving different firms, laboratories and research centres. Initiatives in several engineering and research centers (including at CEiiA, https://www.ceiia.com/; INEGI, www.inegi.pt, INESC TEC, https://www.ceiia.com/), as well as in several academic institutions.
- A platform to mobilize researchers - SCIENCE 4 COVID19 – to contribute to responses to the crisis is also being set up. “Science 4 COVID19”: is an open and inclusive call for ideas and the organization of task forces to collect and mobilize ideas from science and innovation players, with a website under preparation by the Portuguese Science Foundation, FCT and the Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation, AICIB, in close cooperation with public and private research institutions.
- Higher education and research institutions are also mobilizing efforts to respond to the emergency, both by providing expert knowledge and developing research solutions, as well as, mainly in the biomedical area, gathering and donating equipment and support materials to hospitals and health units. Several HEIs have promoted dedicated sites to gather additional external support. One Associate Laboratory, the Institute for Molecular Medicine (IMM) has already developed an autonomous coronavirus test, which has been recently approved and will contribute to enhance the existing capacity to test infections. Other research institutes are also developing autonomous testing procedures. A fast screening kit and system has been developed by the firm Biosurfit (https://www.biosurfit.com/en/) with tests in a Hospital in Lisbon;
- The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has set up an Emergency Fund Covid-19 – is a Fund created by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 5 million Euros initial funding, aiming at strengthening the society resilience to the pandemic in 5 main areas: Health, Science, Civil Society, Education and Culture. Funding lines considering in the STI area: to tackle the shortage of protection devices and medical equipment, to support early detection and diagnosis, technology based solutions (as platforms and apps), reinforcement of scientific knowledge on 2019 - Covid-19 (vulnerable groups and risk factors, immunity response to the virus, new treatment strategies, new diagnosis methods, involving Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, IGC); support people in need to access distance learning while schools are closed; Bolsas Mais (fellowships for students with less resources applying to university).
|Russian Federation||2020-04-01||1. To prevent the further spread of new coronavirus infection a Coordination Council under the Government of the Russian Federation has been established.
2. Situation centers at the level of federal and regional authorities have been created.
|South Africa||2020-03-29||• A National Command Council comprising several ministries has been established to implement protocols planned to curb the spread of the virus. Reporting to it is an inter- ministerial sub-committee, which has been established to coordinate a national framework for research on COVID-19. This Committee consists of representatives from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), National Research Foundation, National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), and the University of Cape Town (UCT). The overall aim of this sub-committee will be to mobilize funding, prioritise research strategies and create an enabling ethical and regulatory framework to facilitate research. The focus will be to support research that will focus on surveillance, therapeutics and understanding the local epidemiology and natural history of the virus, specifically by mobilising funding, reprioritising research strategies and creating an enabling ethical and regulatory framework to facilitate research on the COVID-19 virus. This effort will, thus, focus on describing the epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as addressing diagnostic, therapeutic, host and viral factors that may facilitate transmission or protect against infection. Research topics being considered include among others: diagnostic tests; targeted surveillance to establish risk factors among frontline staff for service delivery; trials for the therapeutic and prophylactic treatment of health care workers; the identification of antibodies in patients in South Africa who have successfully cleared the infection; and vaccine development.
• To enhance the role of data and evidence in supporting the response to the COVID-19 emergency, a central situational awareness platform is also being established at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to provide a single view of the reality.
|Spain||2020-04-01||The government and different ministries have started to develop joint strategies with different actors involved in research, industrial technologies and innovation.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has started to develop agreements with business associations regarding some dimension of the responses. For example, with the telecom operators to guarantee the connectivity in the network, to explore the use of AI tools applied to the personal cell phones to monitor the diffusion of contagious, etc.
The Ministry of Industry has also started negotiations with sectoral business associations that represent to switch current production lines to produce manufacturing health products.
The main initiatives developed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation are already detailed in Q1A. The Ministry of Science and Innovation and Ministry of Industry are also coordinating different innovation initiatives to foster collaboration with the industrial sector in order to provide health and sanitary products and services such as health monitoring apps; respiratory devices; and the elaboration of Individual protection equipment.
|Sweden||2020-03-28||The health sector is always in contact with research in relevant fields. The initiative by medical universities and the research infrastructure SciLifeLab will make resources and laboratories available for tests and studies on Covid-19|
|Switzerland||2020-05-20||The Swiss STI system is already strongly based on cooperation between the various players and is internationally well interconnected.
Swiss National Super Computing Center (CSCS): provision of computing infrastructure.
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB): SIB resources supporting SARS-CoV-2 research (www.sib.swiss/about-sib/news/10660-sib-r...).
|Thailand||2020-03-31||The meeting for specific groups, such as researchers, startups, health sector, education sector, are arranged to brainstorm, exchange research and academic data, integrate cooperation in facilities, R&D and so on. In addition, specific issues such as vaccine development, alternative mask development and etc are coordinated between agencies with NRCT as a main contribution. Another issue is to support funding for researchers and startups to develop self-screening test, test kit, vaccine, application platform and etc.|
|Turkey||2020-04-10||The COVID-19 Technology Platform has been established in the area of drugs and vaccines with the participation of all relevant actors in Turkey. This platform is supported by TÜBİTAK to develop domestic technology based solutions to cope with the COVID-19 infection. This platform constitutes a good example for a co-creation research hub. There are 225 researchers coming from 25 different universities, 8 public bodies and 8 private sector organisations. TÜBİTAK is providing grants to 15 projects, 8 of which are dedicated to drug development, while the rest are dedicated for development of vaccines for the SARS-COV-2 virus.|
|United Kingdom||2020-03-31||The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides scientific and technical advice to support senior government decision makers during emergencies.
SAGE relies on external science advice and on advice from expert groups. During COVID-19 this includes the: New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG); Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) (Department for Health and Social Care); and the Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B). These groups consider the scientific evidence and provide their consensus conclusions to SAGE. Their consensus statements have been published. (https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/sci...).