January 2022

Taking a regional hub approach to improve research funding efficiency

First of all, I would like to wish all our readers a very Happy New Year. Let us all hope that 2022 will finally offer a path back to some sort of normality, even if it would appear that we have started the new year about where we left it in 2021, with our lives still very much determined by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With cases on the rise again in many parts of the world, largely driven by Omicron, and the risk of new variants triggering future waves, GloPID-R must continue to strive for improved coordination and alignment of funding for pandemic response and preparedness.

Amongst many new initiatives in 2022, GloPID-R has embarked on an ambitious project to explore the development of a devolved governance structure by establishing regional hubs. This initiative is based on the recommendations of the GloPID-R Scientific Advisory Group Report, the GloPID-R’s Co-Chairs Recommendations , and the COVID CIRCLE Lessons for Funders Report which outlines the “Seven Funder Principles”.

The overall aim of moving to a regional hub structure is to strengthen GloPID-R’s capacity to function as a meta-organisation to better serve its growing and diverse membership, and to further streamline and improve the efficiency of research funding for pandemic preparedness and response. During extensive consultation and discussion in 2021, it was agreed the regional hub structure would help us to:

  • Support the development and strengthening of regional research networks and preparedness platforms, involving local funding agencies
  • Facilitate regional research priority setting in advance of future pandemics
  • Facilitate sustainable demand-led capacity strengthening aligned with regional needs and gaps
  • Strengthen regional capacity for research to policy uptake
  • Facilitate the coordination of funding for global preparedness and response via regional nodes

As such significant restructuring is not without risks, GloPID-R launched its first pilot project this year, starting with the Asia-Pacific region, led by Choong-Min Ryu from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology (KRIBB). The initial phase will focus on identifying and consulting regional funding agencies and relevant stakeholders to assess the level of regional interest in establishing such a GloPID-R hub. This will involve four basic steps:

  • Mapping the regional landscape of funding agencies supporting pandemic research
  • Conducting an on-line survey across all identified stakeholders
  • Establishing an Asia-Pacific Scientific Advisory Group, chaired by Shoji Miyagawa from the Japan Agency for Medical Research & Development (AMED)
  • Organising a regional GloPID-R conference during the second half of 2022

This project, potentially a real game changer for the way GloPID-R functions, is designed to last three years, thanks to a generous grant provided by the Korean government. It will be managed collaboratively by KRIBB, AMED, and the GloPID-R Secretariat with input from other GloPID-R members. If successful, this pilot could provide a blueprint for the development of regional hubs in Latin America and Africa.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading the next article where Choong-Min Ryu shares his perspective on the Asia-Pacific pilot project, and the rest of our first newsletter of 2022.

With kind regards,

Hans Hagen
GloPID-R Scientific & Advocacy Director

Guest Feature

A view from the ground on the pilot regional hub project

Choong-Min Ryu, GloPID-R representative, KRIBB, South Korea

To explain the beginnings of a GloPID-R hub in the Asia-Pacific region, it’s important to recognize and understand the significance of the potential future occurrence of infectious diseases in the Asia-Pacific region.

This area of the globe brings together the ideal conditions – in terms of climate, geography, demographics and culture – to allow novel pathogens to enter the human population. Compounded by the high population density in many countries of the region, these factors are conducive to the development of local epidemics. More worryingly, pathogens can rapidly spread via the main flight routes from the major hub airports.

In response to this situation, South Korea has been focusing increasingly on infectious disease prevention in Asia. When I was young, I remember strong support from other nations, which has helped South Korea transform from a developing to a developed nation. In 2021, the Korean Government agreed to establish a comprehensive Global Vaccine Partnership to strengthen joint response capabilities to infectious disease threats through international vaccine cooperation. This includes focus areas on the global expansion of vaccine production and related materials, as well as scientific and technological cooperation.

In mid-2021, to provide support for the GloPID-R regional hub, the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT proposed a three-year grant, called the “Asia-Pacific Infectious Disease Shield (APIS)”. At the start of 2022, we were thus able to launch the regional hub pilot project, thanks to this grant and close cooperation among my team, AMED and the GloPID-R Secretariat. As a PI of APIS, I am pleased to be able to count on this essential collaboration to drive the project as it develops and gains momentum in 2022.

Initially, our main objective will be to listen to voices on the ground, rather than applying a top-down approach. Our team is carefully preparing mapping-surveying procedures and contacting experts. I hope that by working together under the umbrella of GloPID-R coordination, all member countries in Asia, including many LMICs, will cooperate effectively and share critical information. My great ambition is to develop a strong Asia-Pacific hub that will help LMICs in their efforts to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases.

Choong-Min Ryu
Director of the GloPID-R Asia-Pacific Hub, NRF/KRIBB, South Korea

Learn more about the KRIBB

GloPID-R news

New recruits for the GloPID-R Scientific Secretariat

GloPID-R’s Scientific Secretariat is revitalising in early 2022 with the recruitment of new full-time research & policy officers. They bring valuable knowledge in priority focus areas.

Read more

GloPID-R/ISARIC Joint Research Forum informs the creation of a long COVID research agenda

‘Creating a Publicly-Led Long COVID Research Agenda: A mixed methods approach from Kenya and Malawi’ was published 21 January by the Wellcome Trust, a GloPID-R member, outlining key priorities to inform the direction of future Long COVID research.

Read more

GloPID-R Communications in 2022

As we begin the new year, we’re preparing the launch of the new GloPID-R website. We think you’ll appreciate the crisp, clear design and the direct access to GloPID-R news & events, resources, funding opportunities and much more.

Read more

New observers join GloPID-R

In January 2022, GloPID-R welcomed 2 new organisations as observers: ERINHA (European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Read more

GloPID-R Member news

Review of ANRS | Emerging Infectious Diseases activities in response to the COVID-19 epidemic in 2021

Following on from the work in 2020 of REACTing and ANRS, which enabled the funding and coordination of numerous COVID-19 research projects, in 2021 the national agency ANRS | Emerging Infectious Diseases was created to lead, coordinate, evaluate and fund research on HIV-AIDS and STIs, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis.

Read more

The need for speed: Can the world develop future vaccines in 100 days?

The world has dramatically benefited from a game-changing global COVID-19 vaccine response. The first COVID-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use in December 2020, just 326 days after the SARS-CoV-2 virus was identified. Its rapid development and approval were unlike anything else before it.

Read more

Updates from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Since March 2020, CIHR, with support from the Government of Canada, has invested over $300 million in COVID-19 research. The funded projects span everything from diagnostics and potential treatments to public health responses and communication strategies.

Read more

European Commission Update: Achievements in 2021 and plans for 2022

Main policy and international initiatives in pandemic preparedness and response during 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed for better and coordinated EU action to prepare and respond to health emergencies. To achieve this, in 2021 the European Commission launched the European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to health emergencies.

Read more

Call for expression of interest for the selection of members of the Scientific Committee of the global health EDCTP3 joint undertaking

The Global Health EDCTP3 (GH EDCTP3) is a partnership between the European Union and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) Association, whose members are several EU Member States and Associated countries and several African countries.

Read more

Updates from The Research Council of Norway

Learn more about funding for the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator (CTA) and the seminar series ‘COVID-19: Research in the wake of pandemic, to exchange knowledge and foster collaboration’, which is organised by the Research Council, the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Trond Mohn Foundation.

Read more

Wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in South Africa

Scientific trends have revealed that the collection and analysis of data on the occurrence and fate of non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater provide the basis for a surveillance system to track the circulation of COVID-19 in communities.

Read more

Updates from the Wellcome Trust

Learn more about two policy reports published in 2021, the launch of the Influenza Vaccine Roadmap alongside the CIDRAP, and Wellcome’s support for ISARIC.

Read more

An overview of 2021 and plans for 2022 from ZonMw

In 2021, as well as completing 130 smaller projects, the 105 large 2020 projects funded by ZonMw were monitored and the results reported regularly to the Ministry of Health Welfare and Sport (VWS).

Read more

Funding calls

Research Council of Norway

Call for proposals: Collaborative Projects relating to Antimicrobial Resistance from a One Health Perspective

  • Budget: NOK 60M
  • Deadline: February 9, 2022

Read more


ERINHA-ADVANCE 3rd TNA call for proposals

  • Deadline: February 7, 2021

Read more


Global Health Matters Podcast

Listen to the latest episode of the Global Health Matters podcast hosted by Garry Aslanyan of ESSENCE, a GloPID-R observer. The 11 January 2022 episode, called “Navigating digital health waves,” features guests Alvin Marcelo, Executive Director of Asia eHealth Information Network and Chief Medical Information Officer of St. Luke’s Medical Center in the Philippines; and Karin Källander, Senior Health Adviser and Chief of the Digital Health & Information Systems Unit, UNICEF.

The podcast Global Health Matters explores how innovative and inspiring research contributes to achieving health for all, with a particular interest in the perspective of LMICs in global health research.

Learn more

Listen to the podcast

EU Flag

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.