Three key discussions and outputs from the SCOR Board Meeting in September 2020
The SCOR Board members called for an ad-hoc meeting of the board on 28 September, in light of the announcement of the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review 2020 and Integrated Security Defence and Foreign Policy Review 2020.
- Approaching the Spending Review and Integrated Review 2020 in a cohesive way
The key topic for this ad-hoc meeting of the SCOR Board was the ongoing Spending Review and Integrated Review. Members shared relevant highlights of their organisations’ Spending Review bids, and discussed touch points, as well as alignment to ensure complementarity.
The Board highlighted the UKCDR Impact Success Stories as an important resource that demonstrates the collective impact of their investments. Members emphasised the value of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research (across both social and natural sciences) and engagement with stakeholders. They noted the importance of delivering Official Development Assistance (ODA) research and development through equitable partnerships and actively strengthening research capacity in partner countries.
- Update and discussion on COVID-19 research funding coordination
The Board heard an update on the COVID-19 Research Coordination & Learning (CIRCLE) initiative led by UKCDR and the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R). This project, aimed at improving COVID-19 research coordination and learning with a focus on lower-resource settings, has made significant progress and is already having impact.
Key milestones included the alignment of funders towards common principles published in the Lancet “Funder Principles for Supporting High-Quality Research for the Most Pressing Global Needs in Epidemics and Pandemics” and the completion of a world-wide survey of research priorities. The team has developed and is maintaining the COVID-19 Research Project Tracker in partnership with GloPID-R, a live database of globally funded research projects on COVID-19, mapped to World Health Organisation research priorities and additional ones identified in the worldwide survey and has now published a Living Mapping Review providing baseline analysis of the data. The Board provided steer on important cross-cutting themes to include in future analyses.
- SCOR Board Chair succession
UKCDR provided an update on progress with the recruitment of a successor for the current Chair of the SCOR Board, Peter Piot, whose term is coming to an end. An independent agency was engaged to ensure a fair and inclusive process and was informed of expected timelines. The Selection Committee, comprising three SCOR Board members, was overseeing the process and other SCOR Board members had made themselves available to support.
Attendees: Prof Melissa Leach (alternate Chair), Director, Institute of Development Studies (Independent); Prof Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser, DFID; Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser, DHSC; Catherine Law (MRC alternate, UKRI representative); Harriet Wallace, Director International Science and Innovation, BEIS; Prof Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair, AHRC (UKRI representative); Marta Tufet, Executive Director, UKCDR; Mimoza Murati, Executive Assistant, UKCDR (Minutes)
Apologies: Prof Peter Piot (Chair), Director of LSHTM (Independent); Prof Jo Beall, Director Cultural engagement, British Council (Independent); Prof Fiona Watt, Chief Executive, Executive Chair, MRC (UKRI representative); Prof Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust
Presentations: Alice Norton, UKCDR