The Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS), the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) convened the policy workshop 'Multidisciplinary research in epidemic preparedness and response' on 2-3 October 2019 in London, UK. This two-day event stimulated thinking around the vital research evidence required to better prepare, prevent and respond to epidemics, particularly where these arise in poorly resourced countries (LMICs).
It is the sixth workshop organized by AMS in partnership with IAP using funds held by the AMS from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The previous five workshops have resulted in a publication/report with advice and recommendations for policymakers (e.g. /node/51460). The sixth report in this series of collaboration with UKAMS, based on discussions at the workshop, will be forthcoming early in 2020.
IAP contributes in-kind by identifying a co-chair for the steering committee that guides the development of the workshop agenda, and via a nomination process through its member academies, identifies other experts to sit on the steering committee, as well as others to attend as workshop participants. The inclusion of MRC among the partners for this workshop allowed it to be a larger event, which gathered 83 participants from 29 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America
The agenda was divided into keynote addresses; country-specific examples of research initiatives contributing to epidemic preparedness and response; and breakout sessions (by region) to identify challenges and evidence gaps. For instance, Prof. David Heymann’s keynote presentation provided and overview of the contribution of research to epidemic preparedness and response, giving consideration to the role and impact of multidisciplinary research and highlighting current research priorities such as understanding how to influence behaviour, technology transfer, and vaccine development. The agenda also included spotlights on new technologies and innovations; further breakout groups (again by region) to identify responses to the challenges and gaps identified earlier; and a plenary discussion to summarise and wrap up the discussions.