Share

Science, technology and innovation policy

Priority setting and coordination of research agendas: lessons learned from COVID 19

 

  ‌

 4-5 October 2021  Virtual event

 

Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has set off a cascade of responses from – and had impacts on – multiple actors across the science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystem. While there were already established mechanisms to investigate and respond to pandemics, both at national and international levels, these appear in many cases to have been inadequate to respond to the scale, scope and complexity of the current crisis.

Priority setting, steering and coordination of research efforts has been a major challenge. In the early phase of a crisis, it is critical to optimally prioritise resources for research and data collection. This presented a challenge for every country during the COVID-19 pandemic, as knowledge and data were required to inform policy across a range of sectors. As the crisis evolved, decision makers and their advisors have sometimes been frustrated by the lack of reliable knowledge or by the diversity of contradictory information when major decisions have had to be made. This has contributed to divergence in policy decisions between countries and between national and local authorities.

One of shortcomings of the research response to COVID-19 has been the limited number of experimental or otherwise robust studies on the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) or public health interventions. Whilst rigorous experimental evidence on the effectiveness of NPIs is the ideal, there has also been a gap in evidence on population attitudes and behaviours to inform policy action as the pandemic has progressed.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the limits of the previously established response mechanisms for pandemics and emphasised the need for better preparedness in the future. Governments will need to prepare more effectively for future shocks, assessing key risks and uncertainties and their implications for STI policy, In this regard, There are important lessons that are emerging from the COVID-19 crisis.

This workshop will explore good practices and challenges in different national contexts and consider what policies can be implemented before, during and after a crisis to optimise the scientific response. The workshop will have a particular focus on non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) research and policies.

 

Event documents

 

Watch the sessions

Day 1 - 12.10 - Session 1: Priority setting for research and data collection in the early crisis phase

In the early, chaotic phases of a crisis uncertainty looms large while both time and resources are scarce. It is critical to optimally prioritise resources for research and data collection early-on. This presented a challenge for every country during the COVID-19 pandemic, as knowledge and data were required to inform policy across a range of sectors.

 

Click to enlarge

Day 1 - 13.40 - Session 2: Development of the evidence-base for social interventions

One of great shortcomings of the research response to COVID-19 has been the limited number of experimental or otherwise robust studies on the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) or public health interventions. These interventions include lockdown measures, social distancing restrictions in different settings, border restrictions and use of face masks. Whilst rigorous experimental evidence on the effectiveness of NPIs is the ideal, there has also been a gap in evidence on population attitudes and behaviours to inform policy action as the pandemic has progressed.

Click to enlarge

Day 2 - 12:10 - Session 3. Priority setting and coordination as a crisis evolves

Decision makers and their advisors have often been frustrated by the lack of reliable knowledge or by the diversity of contradictory information when major decisions have had to be made. This has contributed to divergent policy decisions between countries and between national and local authorities. Scientific evidence is conditional and evolves over time and some diversity is inevitable, but better priority-setting and coordination can help to addressevidence gaps and reduce uncertainties in a more timely and effective manner.

Click to enlarge

Day 2 - 13:45 - Session 4 International cooperation and priority-setting: improving preparedness for the next crisis

Many countries have limited capacity to conduct thorough priority setting processes during a crisis. Early on in the pandemic, the WHO developed a coordinated global research map but capacity and resources were required to effectively translate this into specific national contexts. Overall, there has been a lot of duplication in research efforts across countries in some areas, while in other areas the evident knowledge gaps have been left unaddressed. This is true for primary research as well as for systematic reviews or evidence synthesis and includes broader health topics such as zoonoses, mental health etc.

Click to enlarge

 

CONTACT


[top of page]

 

Related Documents