COVID-19: Mapping research and innovation platforms and initiatives

In relation to the coronavirus pandemic, STOA has collected a non-exhaustive list of initiatives, which aim to facilitate the exchange of information and enable contacts between different stakeholders at the European level and beyond. Part of these initiatives have given rise to platforms where people can store and share datasets. Most of them are related to research and innovation. Other links in this list represent useful data collection platforms in multidisciplinary areas. This mapping exercise covers the period from 1 April 2020 to 15 June 2020.

  • In April 2020, Research Ministers from all 27 EU Member States supported the 10 priority actions of the ERAvsCorona Action Plan. The Action Plan covers short-term actions based on close coordination and data sharing and joint funding efforts between the European Commission and Member States.

  • In April 2020, the European Commission together with several partners launched the European COVID-19 Data Platform to enable the rapid collection and sharing of available research data. The platform is a European environment where researchers can store and share datasets: DNA sequences, protein structures, data from pre-clinical research and clinical trials, as well as epidemiological data.

  • In April 2020, the European Commission, led by the European Innovation Council and in collaboration with the EU Member States, hosted a pan-European hackathon to connect civil society, innovators, partners and investors across Europe in order to develop innovative solutions for coronavirus-related challenges. Over 30,000 people from across the EU and beyond submitted 2,164 projects related to various domains including health and life, business continuity, remote working and education, social and political cohesion, digital finance, and other challenges. The final report of the initiative is available here.

  • To enable Member States to accelerate the research, testing and production of coronavirus-relevant products, the Commission adopted a Temporary Framework for State aid allowing targeted, effective and rapid state aid in response to this crisis. On 3 April 2020, the Commission extended its crisis aid rules. Now, they also facilitate State aid specifically for research and development related to COVID-19. Member States can now grant aid in the form of direct grants, repayable advances or tax advantages for coronavirus and other COVID-19-relevant research.

  • In May 2020, the European Union and its partners are hosted an international pledging marathon, which will culminate in a final Global Pledging Summit on Saturday, 27 June 2020. The aim is to gather significant funding to ensure the collaborative development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against the coronavirus. So far, the Commission has registered € 9.8 billion in pledges, beyond the initial target of € 7.5 billion.

  • The European Commission has also opened a website where a list of EU-funded projects related to COVID-19 are available. The list of new projects is continuously updated. Projects are divided in different research and innovation areas, namely: 1) Preparedness and response; 2) Diagnostics; 3) Treatments; 4) Vaccines; 5) Equipment and manufacturing; 6) Infrastructures and resources; 7) Society, Economy, Behaviour; 8) Gender equality; 9) Global cooperation; 10) EU funding; 11) EU funding; 12) Data, regulations, guidelines.

  • Horizon 2020 funds research projects also through the EDCTP and IMI partnerships:

    1. The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is funding clinical research for medical tools to detect, treat and prevent poverty-related infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.EDCTP launched several projects to support research on the coronavirus and to strengthen research capacities in sub-Saharan Africa.

    2. IMI is an EU public-private partnership funding health research and innovation. A number of IMI’s projects are making valuable contributions to the global effort to tackle COVID-19. The contributions include knowledge, tools and expertise, and, while some come from projects in the infectious disease field, other projects work in other areas, such as data management and Alzheimer’s disease.

Joint Research Centre

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) – the European Commission’s in-house science and knowledge service – has been supporting the European Commission in multidisciplinary areas to understand the COVID-19 emergency, anticipate its impacts, and support contingency planning. This activity forms part of a broader effort by the JRC to contribute through crisis coordination mechanisms with the detection, monitoring and analysis of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eurostat

Eurostat has now brought together its very wide range of statistics and data related to the coronavirus in one place on its website. This dedicated zone provides coronavirus-related statistics relating to the economy, society and work, population and health, as well as specifically agriculture, energy, transport and tourism.

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The EU Committee of the Regions (CoR) has launched an exchange platform to support regional and local communities across Europe, which are invited to share their experiences, ideas and proposals, as well as their needs and requests, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The platform forms part of the CoR’s action plan to inform, assist and represent regions and cities in the EU during the current crisis.

World Health Organisation

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the R&D Blueprint to accelerate diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19. The Blueprint aims to improve coordination between scientists and global health professionals, accelerate the research and development process, and develop new norms and standards to learn from and improve upon the global response.

  • From the beginning of the crisis, the WHO has been working on mapping candidate vaccines and their progress, defining the desired characteristics of safe and effective vaccines and coordinating clinical trials across the world.

  • The Health System Response Monitor (HSRM) has been designed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to collect and organize up-to-date information on how countries are responding to the crisis. It focuses primarily on the responses of health systems but also captures wider public health initiatives. This is a joint undertaking of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the European Commission, and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

World Economic Forum

  • The COVID-19 Action Platform launched by the World Economic Forum focuses on three priorities: 1) Galvanise the global business community for collective action; 2) Protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity; 3) Mobilise cooperation and business support for the COVID-19 response.

Research Data Alliance

  • The Research Data Alliance (RDA) is a volunteer community of over 10,500 professionals from 145 countries across the globe. The community responded to an urgent call for action and defined much needed, comprehensive recommendations and guidelines for data sharing under the present COVID-19 circumstances.

  • The Science journals provide research articles, analysis, and news coverage of COVID-19 and the coronavirus that causes it.

  • Nature Medicine summarises week-by-week relevant research articles on top of how science is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The New England Journal of Medicine provides a collection of articles and other resources on the COVID-19 pandemic, including clinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary.

  • The Lancet has created a Coronavirus Resource Centre. This resource brings together COVID-19 content from across The Lancet journals as it is published.

  • The British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) COVID-19 hub supports health professionals and researchers with practical guidance, online continuing professional development (CPD) courses, as well as the latest news, comment and research from BMJ.

  • Oxford University Press has made content from online resources and leading journals accessible to assist researchers, medical professionals, policy-makers, and others who are working to address the COVID-19 crisis.

  • BioMed Central (BMC) and Springer Open journals provide a platform with recent content relevant to coronavirus research, as well as additional commentary on this topic.

  • The Taylor & Francis Group journals platform provides links and references to all relevant COVID-19 research articles, book chapters and information that can be freely accessed on Taylor & Francis Online and Taylor & Francis e-books in support of the global efforts in diagnosis, treatment and prevention pertaining to COVID-19.

  • Cochrane provides content related to the COVID-19 pandemic and various related activities that Cochrane is undertaking in response.

  • The Elsevier group has created a range of free resources, including textbooks, evidence-based clinical guidance, and more than 31,000 research articles to read, download and data mine. This directory provides a complete overview of those resources.

  • The International Science Council portal shares scientific commentary and analysis and provides access to information on various initiatives, highlighting the scale and scope of response and encouraging members and partners to collaborate and share best practices.