Published December 8, 2022 – What does Dutch science need in the event of a future pandemic in order to provide knowledge that contributes to fighting the outbreak and preventing harm to society? An Academy advisory committee of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), of which ACHC director Julia van Weert was a member, identified the lessons the scientific community can learn from the past period.
In addition, on December 6, the KNAW organized the Symposium “Pandemic Research Preparedness. How do we prepare science for the next pandemic?” During the symposium, researchers, government representatives and policy makers reflected on the conclusions and recommendations of the recently published KNAW advisory report “With the knowledge of the future. Science well prepared for pandemics“. Based on three themes -research, data and policy advice- the meeting addressed what steps absolutely must be taken regarding the pandemic preparedness of the Dutch research community and what is needed to take those steps in a timely and adequate manner.
During the first part of the meeting, the chair of the advisory committee Pearl Dykstra explained the report and the objective of the meeting. After a video message by Ernst Kuipers, Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, reflections on the advisory report were given by Francine L’Ortye, Program Director Pandemic Preparedness, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Corien Prins, Chair WRR / Professor of Law and Computerization, Tilburg University and Marion Koopmans, Professor of Virology, ErasmusMC / Principal Investigator Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center.
The second part of the meeting featured three panel discussions. Julia van Weert led the panel discussion on “Advice: sharing knowledge between scientists and policy makers” Panelists were Jolande Sap, chair of the Dutch Social Impact Team (MIT), Arjen Boin, professor of public institutions and governance, Wolfgang Ebbers, member of Taskforce Behavioral Sciences Digital Resources Covid-19 / professor of ICT and strategic innovation in the public sector and Francine L’Ortye. The other two panels were on “Research: readiness of researchers in the Netherlands” and “Data: preparedness of the Dutch data infrastructure”
The main conclusions from the KNAW report “With the knowledge of the future. Science well prepared for pandemics” are that, to be properly prepared for future large-scale infectious disease outbreaks, Dutch scientists need to better cooperate, both within and beyond their discipline. They also need to share research data with one another more frequently. In the advisory report, the KNAW argues that policymakers and knowledge institutions have an important role to play in making this possible. By already creating the right conditions right now, scientists can get straight to work if the situation calls for it. The advisory committee recommends, among other things, the creation of an advisory structure in which interdisciplinary knowledge input is central and the structural use of communication science in announcing measures, developing a strategy for compliance and countering mis- and disinformation.
Read here the KNAW report “With the knowledge of the future. Science well prepared for pandemics”
Download here the slides of the first part of the symposium “Pandemic Research Preparedness. How do we prepare science for the next pandemic?”