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EU advisers want schemes for funding research in emergencies


Agile “deployable research” systems needed to respond rapidly to crises like the pandemic, group says

The EU should create dedicated schemes for funding research in response to crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, according to its Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.

“Schemes to call for swiftly deployable research during the outbreak of a crisis are an established practice in some countries, for example in the United States,” the group pointed out in an opinion paper on crisis management that it published this month.

Although the EU was able to use its Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to “quickly” support R&I on Covid-19 after the pandemic broke out, according to the advisers, “it would be useful to have predefined schemes that can be triggered whenever a crisis may be envisaged or is occurring”.

They said that this would help to rapidly bring researchers together, and that the identification of research needs should follow a transdisciplinary approach.

The group also advised the EU to incorporate flexibility into its organisation, to avoid the tendency to create new structures in response to crises; to keep an updated map of its crisis-response capabilities; and to develop new services for deploying monitoring data.

The paper was one of several on crisis management that were presented simultaneously to the EU by various advisory bodies.

The EU commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarčič, said the advice would “help shape and inform our work in humanitarian aid, civil protection and emergency relief”.