Update on the “Pandemic Preparedness: Analytical Capacity and Funding Tracking Programme”
Funders, researchers and policy makers are looking forward to using an agile and powerful new research tracker tool to be developed by the GloPID-R Research and Policy team within the scope of a GloPID-R/UKCDR collaboration by the name of “Pandemic Preparedness: Analytical Capacity and Funding Tracking programme,” which has been designated Pandemic PACT for short.
Pandemic PACT will have the research and analytical capability to collate and analyze global funding data. It will be able to identify research needs on an ongoing basis to inform policy and decisions. Across multiple research disciplines, it will cover a wide range of diseases with outbreak potential, as well as broader epidemic and pandemic research preparedness activities, in alignment with WHO priorities.
“There is real demand for this kind of tool, which fills a niche in preparedness activities. After months of careful preparations, I’m very pleased to see the programme up and running,” said Alice Norton, PI Pandemic PACT and Head of GloPID-R Research and Policy Team. “Now we are expanding our team and entering the ‘develop & build’ phase of this 4-year programme.”
The new tracking tool, designed so that it does not duplicate existing tools, is expected to be active in 2023. Based on the achievements and lessons learnt from the COVID-19 Research Project Tracker (a key output of COVID CIRCLE, a previous GloPID-R/UKCDR joint initiative), it will cover additional priority pathogens and will be aligned to Rapid Research Needs Assessment. In addition, PACT will rely on increased automation and innovative techniques to process large amounts of data more quickly. “PACT will be able to rapidly pivot to novel pathogens, so it will help us be better prepared to respond quickly when the next infectious disease outbreak occurs,” said Alice.
Early in 2023, a two-day Pandemic PACT tool development workshop brought together participants from GloPID-R, UKCDR, GO FAIR Foundation, and several international funders and broad-discipline technical experts (see photo above). The GO FAIR Foundation is providing expertise on how to ensure that the tracker is FAIR by design, i.e., built to comply with the FAIR principles for scientific data management (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse of digital assets).
Today, recruitment is ongoing for individuals with the range of expertise required by the program: a data manager, researchers, research assistants and more. Currently, the PACT Advisory Board is being set up, and a Data Consultation Group will be created in the very near future.
Calling on all GloPID-R Members
In order to make the Pandemic PACT tool a success, funder support with data provision is essential. The Pandemic PACT team would like all GloPID-R members to provide contact details of a funding data technical lead in their organizations. At key points, we aim to convene consultation meetings with the data leads to discuss Pandemic PACT plans and also ensure one-to-one interaction on data input into the tool.
The project is almost fully funded thanks to the support of EDCTP, IDRC, UK DHSC, UKRI/ MRC, Wellcome Trust and ZonMW. There is, however, a need for additional funding, and any interested organizations are invited to contact Alice Norton.