OECD Survey on the STI policy responses to Covid-19


Q4B. At international level, what mechanisms are you developing or relying upon to bring together different STI actors (researchers, industry, government, health sector, foundations, etc.) to effectively collaborate on responses to Covid-19?

Updated on Response
Australia 2020-04-02 The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is Australia’s national science research agency. CSIRO has received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global group that aims to speed up the development of vaccines and cut short the COVID-19 pandemic. CSIRO will receive vaccine candidates agreed by CEPI and begin testing of new potential vaccines and therapeutics to see if they work and are safe. The vaccine developments themselves are being partially funded by CEPI in laboratories around the world including Australia. CSIRO is working closely with the University of Queensland and the Doherty Institute.

CSIRO is also part of a separate consortium established with the University of Queensland in 2019 to rapidly develop vaccines. The consortium was established to create a rapid response pipeline to develop and test new vaccines. The consortium has been tasked by CEPI to develop a vaccine platform for nCoV-2019 in collaboration with CSIRO.
Austria 2020-04-03 The Austrian universities and research institutions are organised in multiple international platforms, such as, for example, the European Academy of Sciences (EurASc), the European university networks, or transnational initiatives such as CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations).

EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute) has started to work with interested Member States to establish data hubs that can serve as a forum for data sharing among virologists from all over the world.

A current challenge is to step up our efforts in coordinating all these initiatives in order to create critical mass and to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Via the Horizon 2020 Health Programme Committee, a list of the 8 most urgent research fields related to COVID-19 from GLOPID-R (Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Prevention) and the WHO has been distributed. This list could form the basis for a coordinated action in Europe.
Belgium 2020-05-13 Belgium is contributing to EU discussions in this area and has participated in a successful way in the recent call for projects launched within the EU R&I framework programme Horizon 2020 (4 out the 17 proposals selected for funding have at least one Belgian participant). Another European initiative in this area is the IMI2 JU call 21 (https://www.imi.europa.eu/apply-funding/...).

Researchers from the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Belgium are preparing to provide support to African countries with fragile health systems. ITM is monitoring the situation closely and is in touch with its partner countries in Africa. The Institute is available to support public health responses and is considering studies to better understand the possible spread of the virus in these countries.
Brazil 2020-04-03 Fiocruz and the Ministry of Health are developing joint actions with the World Health Organization in order to respond to the crises. Brazilian authorities also take part in meetings with political leaders that are part of multilateral mechanisms such as Prosul (South America) and G20 aimed at coordinating actions.
As mentioned above, (1.B), the Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications is also articulating with foreign counterparts actions to be taken to tackle the pandemic.
Canada 2020-05-08 Please refer to collaborations outlined in answers to the question on coordinating on Covid-19 STI responses at international level.
Costa Rica 2020-05-05 Nothing yet.
Czech Republic 2020-05-18 The Czech Republic is contributing to discussions and cooperates within the European Union as well as with other international organisations worldwide in various directions of the utmost important subjects in this area.

At the European level, in the past few weeks an umbrella document originated on the platform of EU Member States and the European Commission - the so-called Action Plan "ERAvsCorona". It provides a wide range of measures constituting a response to the current pandemic. One of the key instruments of implementation of the Action Plan is already the 8th EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), in which the first specifically targeted call has led to funding of a total of 18 European research projects focused on diagnostics, vaccines and drugs development against Covid-19 in the total amount reaching nearly 50 million EUR (https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-i...).

The Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic is the national information centre for European RDI, and has created a website on information about European RDI opportunities in relation to Covid-19 (https://www.tc.cz/en).

The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (hereinafrer referred to as „ESFRI“) is putting all its effort in helping to coordinate actions and investments among research infrastructures at the European and national levels for the development of diagnostic tools, treatments and vaccines, as well as the analysis of the economic and social impacts of the implemented confinement measures. ESFRI is helping the scientific community by gathering information about dedicated services offered by research infrastructures and communicating all relevant actions as broadly as possible (https://www.esfri.eu/covid-19).

Participation of the Czech Republic on the international global level takes place within organizations such as WHO (http://www.euro.who.int/en/home) or UNESCO
Estonia 2020-03-30 Estonia is participating in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) - such international infrastructures have responded to the pandemic by developing technical solutions to share and coordinate data (genomic, clinical, epidemiological data). Estonian researchers are closely involved in these activities through linked projects.
European Union 2020-06-12 - Overall, Horizon 2020 involves an approach of consortia and/or partnerships for industry, researchers, innovators, to collaborate on R&I responses. This also applies to the projects working on the Covid-19 outbreak.
• 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.

• The EC 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.
Finland 2020-05-21 The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish institute of Health and Welfare are liaising strongly with the ECDC and WHO. The Finnish R&I sector is working closely together with its European and Global counterparts on the COVID19 to find ways to respond to the epidemic by using and leveraging on the existing collaborations, partnerships and projects (for example funded through the European Commission). A total of EUR 5 million is proposed for Finland's participation in the research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine: EUR 4 million to CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation) and EUR 1 million to IVI (International Vaccine Institute).
France 2020-05-25 The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a partnership between the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations). The IMI2 programme, with €3.3 billion budget for the period 2014-2020, allows to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need, by facilitating collaboration between the key players involved in health research, including universities, research centres, the pharmaceutical and other industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organisations, and medicines regulators.

IMI launched a € 45 million Call on coronavirus with a deadline of 31 March – a fast-track, single stage Call for proposals to address the development of therapeutics and diagnostics to tackle current and future coronavirus outbreaks. See https://www.imi.europa.eu/apply-funding/...

The European Commission has also launched a specific call for startups and SMEs with innovative solutions to tackle Coronavirus outbreak.
Germany 2020-09-14 Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is supporting the international Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with an additional 140 Mio. € to promote R&D on new vaccines against Covid-19. These come as an addition to the 90 Mio. € that Germany has already been contributing to CEPI between 2017 and 2021. At the European Commission’s Donor Conference on May 4, 2020, Germany has furthermore committed to further increase contributions to CEPI.

GloPID-R Coordination
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is collaborating with other funders that include foundations, scientific institutions and national players, which are all involved in infectious disease research, in the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Research (GloPID-R) under the roof of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in order to coordinate investments in research and development.

WHO Funding
The German Federal Ministry of Health is providing the World Health Organisation (WHO) with additional financial support of 50 Mio. € specifically for Covid-19.
WHO Study “Solidarity”
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is contributing 1.5 Mio. € to the WHO study “Solidarity” alongside 69 other countries, which aims to explore whether existing drugs and treatments may help treat COVID-19. The study, which includes more than 10,000 patients worldwide, is focusing on the Ebola treatment drug Remdesivir; the Malaria drugs Chloroquin and Hydroxychloroquin; and a combination of HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir as well as Interferon-beta. The German Center for Infection Research and the German Center for Lung Research are coordinating the various German research institutions that participate in this study.

Bilateral and Regional Cooperation
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will increase measures of German bilateral and regional cooperation with reserve funds in the amount of 20.82 Mio. € and will also examine further possibilities for short-term technical and financial support for the partner countries of German development cooperation. Regional focus is Africa. Teams of experts from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine are providing short-term support in the form of technology and equipment to selected African countries.
Greece 2020-05-07 At the European level, as for the priorities for EU coordinated R&I action for COVID19, we support the initiatives and actions taken by the European Commission, especially on vaccines and treatment. We welcome the dedicated call of the Health Program with a budget of 47,5 M€.
Ireland 2020-03-30 There are no formal international level initiatives at the present time.

Science Foundation Ireland's C19 information portal is tracking relevant international Covid-19 STI responses in order to avoid duplication of effort, to identify areas where Ireland could join international efforts and / or implement similar responses to other countries that are needed in Ireland also.
Israel 2020-03-30 We are trying to share relevant data supporting research.
Italy 2020-03-29 See the response to question 1.
Korea 2020-03-28 - Korea is participating in international COVID-19 response by inviting foreign researchers to Korean COVID-19 research projects or joining in international cooperative research projects on COVID-19.
- For example, a clinical research team from the WHO is going to participate in the cohort research led by Korean doctors on the virus’ cycle (infection-exacerbation-recovery).
- The International Vaccine Institute, located in Korea, formed an industry-academia-research institution consortium with Korean universities and biotech companies to develop a DNA vaccine for COVID-19 (GX-19).
Lithuania 2020-03-30 Researchers and innovators will be encouraged to share research results in early stage of research.
Mexico 2020-03-29 There are many countries where private individuals offer aid to alleviate the crisis. There plenty of trials that involve two or more countries to test new medicine and new ways of treatment. Researchers worldwide are working along with health companies to test new and old treatments such as interferon, hydroxcloroquine, and else. A trial in Seattle involving volunteers that had the virus was receiving aid and input from researchers across different countries.
Netherlands 2020-04-01 On an European level, Horizon 2020 has also been rescheduled to find COVID-19 related vaccines and medicines.
Norway 2020-04-30 The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a foundation that takes donations from public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations, to finance independent research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious disease (EID). CEPI is headquartered in Oslo, Norway. At the 2017 launch, Nature said, "It is by far the largest vaccine development initiative ever against viruses that are potential epidemic threats". In March 2020, CEPI was identified as a "key player in the race to develop a vaccine" for the coronavirus.

Norway had originally allocated 1,6 billion NOK to CEPI for the years 2017-2025, but has now allocate an additional 2,2 billions given the acute circumstances.

In order to find out whether some of the existing medications may work against Covid-19, the WHO recently launched a global megatrial called SOLIDARITY. The coordinator of the is study John-Arne Røttingen, Chief Executive of the Research Council of Norway. According to a WHO press briefing on April 1st, 74 countries have so far joined the study, and more than 200 patients have been enrolled.
Peru 2020-05-22 With the United Kingdom we are working to redirect Newton Fund resources to research endeavors in the field of COVID-19, making efforts to enable peruvian researchers to participate in the UK and US-led initiative called the Pandemic Challenge and supporting the UK Welcome Trust initiative which advocates for data research data and findings sharing. Through the Pan American Health Organization, our government has participated in a virtual roundtable with experts from China where protocols, methods and best practices were shared to tackle the crisis.

Within the framework of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Science, Technology and Innovation Work Group, we are developing project proposals to tackle COVID-19 and proposing science-based mechanisms for mitigating its impact through the use of disruptive technologies. On the other hand, we are encouraging members of the scientific community to participate in the calls for collaborative projects launched by the European Union’s framework programme for research and innovation. We are fostering similar collaborations within the framework of the calls funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

Peru has also actively joined the efforts of the international scientific community for developing a vaccine for COVID-19. Our scientists have shared a genome sequence of an isolated virus strain of SARS-CoV-2 with the database International Global Initiative on Sharing all Influenza Data (GISAID). Said virus strain, along with the other strains available, are being used in the development of the vaccine.

Perú is actively participating in "Solidarity”, a clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19, which was launched by the World Health Organization and partners.The Solidarity Trial will compare four treatment options against standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against 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. Other drugs can be added based on emerging evidence

Portugal 2020-06-29 The Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, organized − in the scope of the Portugal in Europe Research and Innovation Network- PERIN − through the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation, FCT, the National Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation, AICIB, and the National Innovation Agency, ANI – a Task Force on “Research and innovation for preventing Corona virus in Europe” to give notice of the Portuguese actions and positions for potential enlarged EU joint ventures, which will gain from an enlarged European task force, for articulation of methodologies and, above all, validation/certification of analysis and the communication of results for population at large. Initiatives which are being sought to be promoted and developed at international/European level include:
- Need to develop Equipment and Devices: namely Testing kits (PCR and other methodologies), which require enlarging supply of materials and reagents at an European level; Fast development of ventilators for emergency rooms, which require specific valves and other components, available only in a few companies, as well as the adoption of protocols for safe operation (there is the need of coordination of several task forces in Europe beyond actions under the Open AIR project); Other innovative equipment, systems, solutions and devices, which require promoting European joint tasks for innovative products and systems able to generate low cost solutions to prevent the contamination of the virus and COVID-10.
- Data systems and policy: COVID-19 information systems for population, with open data policy integrated with data analysis to provide orientations towards advising population at large for prevention measures, as well as to prevent false alarms. This initiative requires access to health data and information of tests of population at large as well as the mobilization of data scientists, and which will gain from an enlarged European task force, for articulation of methodologies and, above all, validation/certification of analysis and the communication of results for population at large.
- New solutions/interventions: Coordination of national task forces to foster user-driven innovation and new science-based solutions, which will gain from an enlarged European task force.
- Vaccine/new therapies: Need for a major European task force and cooperation to help developing a vaccine and other potential therapies, with major Portuguese biochemical firms working already with international consortia, with tests in China and elsewhere.
- Science and society - Social remediation and promotion of social and human actions to foster social resilience: There is a need of European coordination of a task force on risk perception and the development of actions towards the promotion of scientific culture and social engagement towards resilient societies.
- Distance education and telework: The sudden strong development and engagement by all higher education institutions in Portugal, with a massive adoption of distance education schemes, highlights the need of European coordination of task force to foster the exchange of schemes, methodologies and practices.
There has been an active promotion and support to the Portuguese participation in the recent EC call of proposals on health and COVID-19 related topics for SMEs, by AICIB – National Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation and the National Innovation Agency, ANI.
Portugal is also participating in a wider 'Task Force' at EU level, with DG RTD, which has namely contributed to launch a funding line of 47,5 M€ on a new call on “SC1-PHECORONAVIRUS-2020: Advancing knowledge for the clinical and public health response to the [COVID-19] epidemic”.
Russian Federation 2020-09-10 Russian specialists from the State Research Center of virology and biotechnology "VECTOR" and other research institiutions cooperate closely with their chinese colleagues on the development of efficient means to fight COVID-19, including sharing information and joint research on tests, drugs and vaccine for the virus.
South Africa 2020-03-29 The DSI is participating in several multilateral coordination platforms for facilitated by UNESCO, the OECD, and others. The Department is also maintaining active contact with its sister ministries across the world and the diplomatic community in South Africa to share information and proactively identify opportunities for cooperation. A specific focus is on African regional and continental cooperation.
Spain 2020-04-01 The main initiatives developed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation are already detailed in Q1B.

The Ministry of Science and Innovation has also joined international efforts to ensure open access to scientific publications on COVID-19. Spain has joined the declaration signed by USA, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Portugal, Singapore and the United Kingdom, to promote access to all the information published on the coronavirus pandemic, a key effort to contain SARS-VOC-2 and reduce its impact. The European Commission will also establish that all the publications supported by EU R&I funds should be open access, excepting the rules of commercial publication rights. At the suggestion of Australia, Spain has supported the study of the possibility of also exempting global patent regulation, with the aim of speeding up the licensing and technology transfer processes, in order to manufacture certain products worldwide.

Most of the European groups, committees and initiatives continuing operating during the containment period. Many of them intend to share initiatives put in place and exchange lessons learnt in the different European and third countries in different domains in relation the COVID-19, e.g. in ESFRI context, an exercise has been launched to learn about how national research infrastructures are managing the crisis and what resources are being offered to work in the different aspects related to the health crisis, national delegates (i.e. ministry or funding agencies' public employees) responsible for the RIs policies in their countries gather relevant information from national RIs managers and users.
Sweden 2020-03-28 None at present, but science is always international and scientists are always having contacts with colleagues in the same area.
Switzerland 2020-05-20 Switzerland contributes to Horizon 2020. Swiss researchers actively participate in the calls for proposals on COVID-19. So far 6 of the 17 Horizon 2020 projects have a Swiss institution involve.

Switzerland is part of the European Open Science Cloud, which set up a European COVID-19 Data platform based on the EMBL-EIB initiative. Switzerland contributes this platform.https://www.europeandataportal.eu/en/highlights/covid-19.

Switzerland hosts, finances or participates in several research infrastructures which are delivering auxiliary services and important contributions in the fight against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The international research infrastructures and organisations (e.g. Swiss Light Source, SwissFeEL at Paul Scherre Institute, Source Européenne de Rayonnment Synchotron, l’Institut Laue-Langevin, EMBL and ELIXIR) have responded to the crisis not only by locking down most of their infrastructure to protect the staff but also by adopting strategies and offering new services in order to contribute to the ongoing research efforts to resolve the crisis.

Turkey 2020-04-10 TUBITAK has initiated bilateral and multilateral cooperation actions to support joint RDI projects with the aim of facilitating scientific collaboration between Turkish researchers and their colleagues in other countries. Joint RDI project calls with China and Thailand are at the stage of mutual agreement on topics; more joint calls are intended with South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands and France. Within the scope of these bilateral calls, research projects that qualify for providing immediate solutions will be supported with a maximum duration of 9-12 months. The collection of project proposals and evaluation procedures will be much more rapid than the conventional agenda of calls; the intention is to start all projects in mid-June 2020.

TUBITAK also plans to launch a multilateral call that focuses on the private sector, in collaboration with Canada, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, the Netherlands and South Korea. The objective of this call will be the improvement of disease monitoring technologies utilized in personal protective equipment, disinfection materials, diagnostic and test kits and other therapeutics in the COVID-19 pandemic. This international call will focus on RDI projects of SMEs and large industrial organizations and the support will be provided for a maximum of 9 months. Intense efforts are being made to open this call at the end of April 2020.
United Kingdom 2020-03-31 The Prime Minister has highlighted the need for ongoing international cooperation, particularly through the G20, to share expertise, support the global economic system and strengthen the ability of vulnerable countries to tackle the virus. He has stressed the need to support the WHO’s appeal and support vaccine development through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

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