Progress in the implementation of GloPID-R’s regional hub strategy

In 2021, GloPID-R initiated a new strategy to create regional hubs with the aim of improving coordination and efficiency in the funding of research on infectious diseases with pandemic potential. This decentralized, geographical approach will lead to the development of four regional hubs working in close alignment with the GloPID-R central secretariat. They are designed to serve the Asia-Pacific region, the African continent, Latin America, and North America & Europe.

With the roll-out of the regional hub strategy, GloPID-R’s ambition is to strengthen research preparedness and response particularly in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). This approach will help address inequity in the distribution of research funding and improve regional responsibilities and ownership. At the same time, it is intended to support GloPID-R’s overriding objective to build an inclusive, equitable and adapted framework for research preparedness and response.

Asia-Pacific regional hub

Launched in 2021, our first regional hub aims to improve effectiveness of regional research responses to outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in Asia-Pacific LMICs. It is currently in the implementation phase under the leadership of Choong-Min Ryu of National Research Foundation of South Korea/Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (NRF/KRIBB). KRIBB proposed a three-year grant called the “Asia-Pacific Infectious disease Shield” (APIS) from the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT. The aim is to better coordinate funding into pandemic preparedness and response with a special focus on capacity strengthening across the regional LMICs.

A regional advisory group chaired by Shoji Miyagawa of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) has been formed to guide the project’s development. The group is made up of representatives of funders from across the region and is open to welcoming new members.

It is currently applying a “Mapping-Survey-Target” approach to engage funding organizations in the Asia-Pacific region. Following the mapping exercise to obtain a clear picture of the regional funding landscape, an on-line survey will collect more detailed information about their research priorities, needs and challenges in the field of pandemic response and preparedness. The official APIS kick-off conference is planned for November 2022 in South Korea.

African regional hub

To begin establishing the African regional hub, GloPID-R recently received an EDCTP grant funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care. The pilot hub will be led by Charles Wiysonge of the South African Medical Research Council. Starting in September 2022, it will follow the same approach developed for the early phase of the Asia-Pacific hub: mapping funding organizations on the African continent, followed by a survey and a launch meeting in early 2023. GloPID-R members on the African continent will be invited to join the new regional advisory group.

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The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.