OECD Survey on the STI policy responses to Covid-19


Q7. Is there anything else regarding the STI policy response to Covid-19 in your country you would like to mention?

Updated on Response
Austria 2020-04-03 All efforts by the OECD to foster collaboration and exchange of experience among its members are most welcome.
Belgium 2020-05-13 Belgium pleads for great international solidarity during this crisis. All possibilities for international aid must be activated.

Transparency and exchange of information are essential and existing networks should be used as much as possible such as the Early Warning and Response System (in Europe).
Brazil 2020-04-03 Adding to the public sector effort, private enterprises are also engaged in fighting the pandemic. Big companies like the aircraft manufacture Embraer are adapting plants to the fabrication of mechanical ventilators and its components. Startup companies are also developing new products, like 3D printed ventilators and masks, as well as new test kits. They have also offered services like delivery of donations and geolocalization apps to help with the mapping the geographic distribution of the virus.
The startup Hi Technologies, based in Curitiba, State of Parana, announced the development of a rapid test for Covid-19 detection that provides results in 10 minutes. The large-scale production of the test kit is underway, with delivery of kits in April. The startup is known for the Hilab device, which integrates internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence to perform remote exams by collecting drops of blood in the Hilab (available in pharmacies), that transmits information to the laboratory responsible for analyzing the result, issuing and signing the respective report. Hilab is already capable of testing for HIV, dengue, zika and hepatitis, in addition to measuring cholesterol levels, blood glucose and other issues.
Governments across Brazil are looking to roll out a system developed that uses geolocation tracking to support actions around the lockdowns intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. Brazilian startup InLoco develops the geolocation technology, which is normally used by companies from sectors such as retail, to securely target and engage with users without the need to share personal information. Users are geotracked through a location map that does not use GPS or beacons, which InLoco claims to be 30 times more accurate than GPS. The startup is headquartered at Porto Digital, a technology innovation cluster in the northeastern city of Recife, where the platform has gone live last weekend. Announcing the measures, the mayor of Recife said the city is tracking at least 700.000 smartphones to identify where the lockdown rules are being followed - many Brazilians, particularly those in vulnerable sections of society, have no choice but continue to work despite the risk.
The Governance & New Economy Community (Gonew.co), with the support from the Brazilian Association of Startups (Abstartups), launched the campaign StartupsxCovid19, which seeks to map companies with innovative solutions to face the coronavirus crisis. Among other initiatives, mapping will be used to provide information to entities such as the Ministry of Health.
Canada 2020-05-08 On April 22, the Government of Canada has committed $291.6 million to support student researchers and post-doctoral fellows through the federal granting councils. Funding would support a one-semester extension for eligible students whose research scholarships or fellowships end between March and August 2020 and who intend to continue their studies. It would also provide a 3-month extension in funding for holders of federal research grants to support eligible trainees and staff paid out of these awards.
European Union 2020-06-12 Research & innovation (R&I) play a key role in the Covid-19 outbreak, particularly in provision of quick science driven solutions including better scientific understanding of the virus as well as development of treatments and diagnostics. R&I also provides the technologies that allow for safer and faster tracking of the virus and fast diagnosis.
Health system’s capacities make a difference in terms of response to outbreaks. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to invest in making national health systems stronger, more resilient and capable of a rapid and integrated response drawing on the latest scientific discoveries, ensuring equal access to healthcare across the EU. Horizon Europe plans to support R&I activities aimed at strengthening health system’s resilience.

In the “post-covid world” we have three scenarios: (1) A return to business as usual? (2) “Normality” with “lessons- learned”? and (3) The dawn of a radically different reality? There are risks and opportunities coming from this crisis. On the one hand, climate transition is at risk, the return of state intervention or of state surveillance, or de-globalisation. On the other hand, the opportunities include the rise of self-organization and collective intelligence, knowledge sharing, social innovation, and a boom in solidarity. All these aspects impact society as well, for instance, in terms of individual freedom, impact of social distancing, the future of mobility, higher demand for transparency, government distrust, change of consumption patterns, among many others. This calls for foresight practices to look into the impacts on societies and the economy.
France 2020-05-25 The ministry has developed files as part of the educational continuity plan in order to best support institutions in their efforts. These sheets are available on the services offered by the General Directorate of Higher Education and Professional Integration (D.G.E.S.I.P.). See: https://www.enseignementsup-recherche.go...

For education, the Minister of National Education and Youth, Jean-Michel Blanquer, in partnership with the players in the public audiovisual sector, launched the “Learning Nation” operation. France Télévisions, Radio France, Arte and the French national education are mobilizing to provide teachers, students from their families with quality programs linked to school programs. See: https://www.education.gouv.fr/operation-...

France université numérique (FUN) is the French national platform to promote the use of massive open online courses (MOOCs). In the context of the exceptional situation, France Université Numérique in collaboration with member and partner establishments will gradually reopen the archived MOOCs to make them accessible to as many people as possible. See: https://www.fun-mooc.fr/news/fun-ouvre-s...

The EdTech France association brings together 250 French companies that have decided to make technology useful for education, higher education and lifelong learning.
Companies in the EdTech sector have decided to make digital resources and tools available to establishments, teachers, families and all learners - free of charge and without conditions. See: https://solidarite.edtechfrance.fr
Ireland 2020-03-30 No observations.
Italy 2020-03-29 The Ministry of University and Research has launched on March 23 a mapping activity, addressed to universities and other public research institutions, to collect information about all ongoing research projects and also on planned projects on SARS-Cov-2 and Covid-19. The scope of the initiative is to reduce fragmentation and prevent unnecessary duplication. The deadline to collect data has been set for 27 March.
Korea 2020-03-28 Instead of travel bans or lockdown measures, Korea has actively tested asymptotic and suspected cases to mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks. What made Korea’s approach successful is regulatory flexibility that allowed innovative measures such as emergency approval (limited but prompt approval of production, sale and use of testing kits) and Drive-Thru testing.
Lithuania 2020-03-30 No
Mexico 2020-03-29 Long-term plans are needed to help if there is a second peak of the desease by the end of the year. We expect by then that there will be a cure or much scientific information about the medicine that will alleviate the symptoms. Researchers and health personnel must work focused on developing a cure and treatment that takes into account the differences of the Mexican population with other countries - genetically and in terms of resources -, the geographical challenges of Mexico's indigenous population in terms of health care access, etc.
New Zealand 2020-03-30 Please note we have only provided brief responses to this survey at this point in time as we consider the priority for those involved with managing the response is to focus on that. We have therefore not consulted widely within various agencies responsible for managing the COVID response.
Peru 2020-05-22 Given the shortage of medical supplies in the international market, a group of STI experts from the Peruvian Navy and academics from the university sector, have successfully developed the prototype of an artificial ventilation machine. Said prototype has been approved by the Ministry of Health and we expect to produce 100 units in one month, and at least 500 units over the next months. The cost of production of this device is 5,000 USD, considerably less than the alternatives which are hardly found in the international market. Public and private efforts are currently focused on developing local STI solutions that could be made available on the short term for countering the viral outbreak.
South Africa 2020-03-29 Building an evidence base on behavior and perceptions with regard to Covid-19 is an important priority. Thought the Human Science Research Council (HSRC), an online survey is conducted to better understand current behaviours and patterns. As at 27 March 2020, about 2,400 people have responded to the survey. The sample size has increased but a statistician has been commissioned to assess the quality of the responses and data after which analysis can be done. The public will be kept informed on the outcome of the results of this survey. The HSRC is also currently pulling together a range of efforts in this space including work specifically focus on rural communities (SAPRIN), social media sentiment analysis using natural language processing techniques. A number of researchers as well as private sector players have expressed a willingness to assist. Follow-ups are being made on how best they can support a national effort. A call has been made to survey companies in the private sector to join hands with government to better understand the behaviours and perceptions of our people. Through the HSRC a system will be also be introduced of dynamic updates on behavior and perception issues as these will change on an almost daily basis. The Department continue to update the public on measurers that it will continue to introduce working together with other government departments and social partners.
Spain 2020-04-01 The effective coordination of the different STI policies with regions could be a challenge as health policy is a competence of the regions.
Switzerland 2020-05-20 No
Thailand 2020-03-31 Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation has 6 measures to response to COVID-19 as follows;
1. Management measure in response to closure of universities during the peak crisis
2. Support work from home measure
3. Preparation and management measure for medical schools and staffs
4. Risk management measures using research and innovation
5. Funding research and innovation in relation to COVID-19
6. Other support
United Kingdom 2020-03-31 Many issues around the coronavirus response relate to behaviour. During the 2009/10 ‘swine flu’ pandemic, SAGE received advice from a subgroup called the Scientific Pandemic Influenza group on Behaviour and Communications (SPI-B&C). On 13 February 2020, SAGE decided to reconvene this group, limiting its remit to behaviour (SPI-B). SPI-B is not asked to comment, and has not commented, on what interventions are effective or when they should be triggered. Instead, the group is asked to provide advice aimed at anticipating and helping people adhere to interventions that are recommended by medical or epidemiological experts. Participants change depending on the topic under consideration. Input has been received from academic specialists in Health Psychology, Social Psychology, Anthropology and History. Experts from Government departments also attend to provide input and to discuss issues they are facing.

The above summary is taken from ‘The role of behavioural science in the coronavirus outbreak’ (14 March 2020), which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/sci...