Focus on the GloPID-R SAG Report and Co-Chair Recommendations
I am pleased to introduce the Fall issue of the Newsletter, which features a special focus on the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) Report. By now all of our members have had a chance to discover this important report, COVID-19 Research Recommendations & Considerations for GloPID-R 2021-2023, and the Co-Chairs’ Recommendations that accompany it.
A huge brainstorming session is how I would describe the deliberations of the SAG, which I participated in. When GloPID-R’s leadership undertook this project in early 2021, we did so in the context of an ongoing pandemic caused by an emerging infectious disease. As a consortium of funders, we wanted to know from a funders’ perspective where to go next. The Oxford Saïd Business School scenario-planning team guided us in an innovative methodology that stimulated our thinking, and we devoted many hours to creating and exploring these scenarios to discover what insights they would bring.
I would emphasize that the report resulting from our work is not a decision. It is not a means to an end. It is more like the start of a conversation.
What did we learn? First, we confirmed our intuition that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic there were numerous research initiatives requiring funding and they were not at all interconnected. Nationalism was extremely powerful during this time. Our problem was, and remains, how to create that connection, that essential link.
Funders have power, of course, but they need to work together to harness that power, and this is where coordination becomes vital. Another finding that clearly emerged was the need for coordination at the regional level, via regional platforms, with a strong focus on LMICs. This has now become part of GloPID-R’s strategy.
For many years, even before the pandemic, our leadership had been discussing ways to ensure a more even distribution of funding among the research projects that funders invest in, and here GloPID-R has a unique role to play. The pandemic has confirmed that a mechanism built on the model of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) is one of the paths we can follow to improve coordination, and to translate our ambitions into action.
We also confirmed the importance of aligning our efforts with WHO. All too often the major funding bodies work in isolation, and our goal – which we share with WHO – is to bring them together and keep them talking. This addresses funding gaps and the tendency for too many funders to invest in the same areas of research.
Ultimately the SAG report is a roadmap. It provides direction in a complex landscape. I hope the SAG’s work will serve to engage our members. I encourage you to use it, and see where it takes you as you consider what you can do to improve the coordination of funding.
Focus on the SAG Report
In their own words...
A great deal of work by many dedicated individuals went into developing the SAG Report. Three of the participants share their insights on the experience and the outcome.
“Using the Oxford Scenario Planning Approach (OSPA), we explored how the future might unfold over the next ten years to 2030, building bespoke scenarios that best described these future worlds. We were then able to look back from the year 2030, equipped with the insights that had been generated, to assess what COVID19 and Infectious Disease funding priorities might be most useful to society in the future.”
Professor of Practice, Saïd Business School & Green-Templeton College, University of Oxford
“Here GloPID-R provides a clear strategy to interact with and improve coordination across the meta-organization of funders, such as access to COVID-19 tools, accelerator therapeutics, diagnostics, and global surveillance. The proposed moon shot projects can potentially change the course of this and future pandemics if implemented with regimental precision.”
Dr. Moses Alobo
African Academy of Sciences, SAG Member
“This GloPID-R report emphasizes how social sciences research is desperately needed to better understand the root social drivers of pandemics like COVID-19 and to address their devastatingly inequitable consequences.”
Dr. Steven Hoffman
CIHR, SAG Member
The key role of the GloPID-R Scientific Secretariat
The Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) Report represents a major accomplishment for GloPID-R and an important tool for all funders of COVID-19 and related research as they make key decisions over the next two years.
Co-Chairs Recommendations provide guidance for members and help engage the global funders community
When the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) completed its work in May 2021, the GloPID-R Co-Chairs met to carefully consider its findings and draw up recommendations for members based on the SAG Report.