Researchers from different disciplines discuss challenges from Covid 19 pandemic

The SNSF Corona Research Conference brought together 250 researchers. Three years after the start of the pandemic, it served to shape interdisciplinary dialogue on the lessons of the crisis and the challenges for the future.

Three years after the first restrictions decided by the Federal Council in response to the Covid 19 pandemic, the Swiss National Science Foundation was gathering around 250 researchers working in the field of coronaviruses and pandemics in Thun. The SNSF National Corona Research Conference enabled research groups to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue on the lessons of the crisis and the challenges for the future. The event brought together researchers from the National Research Programme the National Research Programme "Covid-19" (NRP 78), "Covid-19 in Society" (NRP 80), the SNSF Special Call for Proposals on Corona Viruses, as well as from Innosuisse, the SNSF and EU-associated Corona research projects.

NRP 78 on biomedical aspects of Covid-19 on the home straight

The NRP 78 has made important contributions to the understanding of Covid-19 with 28 research projects and 7 implementation projects, as well as developing new approaches for new or improved diagnostics, vaccines, drugs and therapies. Furthermore, the programme has promoted epidemiological and preventive knowledge and made concrete contributions to the implementation of protective measures for the population. «An important goal of the NRP 78 is to derive recommendations from the research results that can be implemented both in view of a future pandemic and for the functioning of science in a crisis» explains Marcel Salathé, President of the NRP 78 Steering Committee and member of the Scientific Organising Committee of the SNSF Corona Research Conference.

Research on Covid-19 in society launched

For the NRP 80, with its 25 research groups, the SNSF Corona Research Conference marks the start of research activities. «The focus of the scientific studies is on the social and human dimensions of the pandemic, which are at the centre of interest of politics, administration, business and NGOs», explains Thomas N. Friemel, president of the steering group of the NRP 80. Specifically, the researchers are looking at the effects of Covid-19 on youth and education, families and law, public discourse, governance and the economy, social security, population well-being and cohesion, and work.

Variety of Corona related research topics discussed

In addition to various presentations and discussion formats, the SNSF Corona Research Conference included key note speeches by the Danish epidemiologist Lone Simonsen and the ethicist Samia Hurst from the University of Geneva, who is also a member of the NRP 80 steering committee. «A research conference of the Swiss National Science Foundation that includes all programmes and funded projects on a specific topic is a novelty. The intensive exchange and lively discussions at the event are a sign for us that this format is proving its worth and is a relevant contribution to knowledge transfer, especially on a topic like Covid-19, which affects society as a whole.» sums up Nicolas Rodondi, member of the SNSF National Research Council.