Moments from the Pandemic PACT Launch event

Moments from the Pandemic PACT Launch event
22 March, 2024

Navigating Tomorrow: Lessons Learnt from the Pandemic and Enhancing Future Preparedness

Mariam Jallow

The long-anticipated launch of the Pandemic Analytical Capacity and Funding Tracking (Pandemic PACT) programme took place this week, on the 20th March 2024, in tandem with an event highlighting the new project’s accomplishments. The initiative, focused on tracking data on research funding and evidence for a wide range of diseases with outbreak potential, builds and expands on the achievements and lessons learned from the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) and Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) COVID-19 Research Project Tracker and COVID CIRCLE initiative. Co-organised by GloPID-R and the Pandemic Sciences Institute (PSI), the event featured a series of informative talks from the team behind the project, alongside a panel discussion between experts in global preparedness and response on how Pandemic PACT better prepares us for future pandemics and outbreaks.

This initiative is set to transform how we approach epidemic threats, making our responses more collaborative, strategic, swift, and science-driven” — Titus Divala of the Wellcome Trust, one of the programme’s funders 1

Kicking off the event was a welcome address from Sir Peter Horby, Director of the Pandemic Sciences Institute, who highlighted the need for better cooperation and coordination in global health research, and PACT as a tool for enabling research communities to accomplish this.

Dr Alice Norton, Head of the Research and Policy Team at GloPID-R, then followed with a presentation introducing the Pandemic PACT programme, and the newly live platform showcasing several features, including a grant funding tracking database and interactive tool for tracking research funding against research domains and research agendas.

Featured in this portion was the announcement of the Lancet correspondence: Improving coherence of global research funding: Pandemic PACT, in addition to a study published by the Pandemic PACT team in Wellcome Open Research on the funding tracking protocol used.

Photo credit: PSI via Twitter

Audience members had the opportunity to gain an in-depth look at the research behind the programme from its developers in a series of short presentations on:

  • the Pandemic PACT grant tracker
  • research prioritisation
  • data behind the tracker- FAIR by design
  • AI & machine learning
  • Rapid Research Needs Appraisals (RRNA)

Following a brief Q&A session, the event culminated in a panel discussion on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and the usefulness of streamlining data to address gaps in research priorities. Hosted by Dr Nina Gobat, the expert panel included:

  • Maggy Heintz, UKCDR
  • Hans Hagen, GloPID-R
  • Oliver Morgan, WHO
  • Josie Golding, Wellcome
  • Duduzile Ndwandwe, South Africa Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
  • Val Snewin, UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

The event concluded with final remarks from Dr Anna Kinsey, GloPID-R Board member from the UK Medical Research Council (UKRI), echoing previous praises of Pandemic PACT’s role as a tool for coordination, aimed at improving preparedness through collaboration, and enacting shared research agendas to facilitate rapid research response.

For more information about the programme led by GloPID-R in collaboration with UKCDR and the Pandemic Sciences Institute, visit the official Pandemic PACT website.

Additional links:

  1. Quote from original Glop-R article ↩︎

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