EFIS Centre: supporting public policy and practice to help tackle the COVID-19 crisis and beyond !

Through the projects we are involved in either as a coordinator or as a partner, we are dedicated to supporting innovative public policies and concerted public-private efforts that tackle the COVID-19 crisis and other challenges facing our society. 

Our name stands for European Future Innovation System (EFIS) Centre and that is exactly the approach we are taking. Working collaboratively with

  • European partners we are taking a
  • Future oriented approach bringing
  • Innovation inspired methods and solutions to all our work and clients and by acknowledging that all partners in the
  • System be it a research organisation, education institution, public sector agency or a private company need to act collaboratively in these uncertain times.

Security on the internet in a world of online work and education

It is more and more important to ensure security and improve trust in a world of online working and education. As a coordinator of NGI_Trust we are committed to developing a stronger European ecosystem of researchers, innovators and technology developers in the field of privacy and trust enhancing technologies for the Next Generation Internet. In the framework of the current third open call we invite Internet innovators to develop applications that address personal data privacy while supporting epidemiological crisis management by public health services. We also seek to fund projects that ensure the Internet remains a secure and resilient support for people both in normal times and during crisis, such as secure home working, protecting users from fake news and similar unwanted contents (see what the recently funded NGI_Trust CASPER project aims to achieve) as well as access to education, etc.

Research Infrastructures as enablers of solutions for crisis 

The role of European Research Infrastructures in supporting a science-led response to the COVID-19 outbreak is extremely important. At EFIS Centre the topic of research infrastructures is one of our key research and policy directions. In coordinating the Horizon 2020 project RI-PATHS: Research Infrastructure imPact Assessment paTHwayS we are developing a framework describing the socio-economic impact of Research Infrastructures. We are honoured to have worked together with major Research Infrastructures like ELIXIR, CERN, BBMRI-ERIC, EATRIS, CERIC-ERIC and other facilities that are currently mobilised at an unprecedented scale to understand better the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 and find cures to COVID-19. We are committed to help better understand and elucidate the important societal benefits and economic impacts that Research Infrastructures are bringing to our societies.

We work with research-intensive universities assisting them in preparing and implementing strategies for their research infrastructures, developing access policies and advising on support for commercialisation of research. With the University of Twente our team worked on developing procedures for prioritisation of strategic research infrastructure investments. The Technical Medical Centre of the University of Twente (TechMed) is one such strategic research infrastructures with huge relevance and importance for researchers both at the university and outside now intensifying all their efforts to support the healthcare sector in coping with COVID-19.

Open Science speeding up the solutions

EFIS Centre is the technical coordinator of the EOSC Enhance project, focused on the further development of the EOSC Portal, the general entry point to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) resources for scientists. The EOSC Portal is gathering and disseminating timely information on all opportunities offered by EOSC contributors in the fight to #COVID19. See examples here: OpenAIRE for COVID-19, HADDOCK to support COVID-19 research, Fast-track co-creation funding for COVID-19 related activities launched by EOSCsecretariat.eu, RDA COVID-19 Working Group – Urgent Call for Expert Contributions, COVID-19 Highlights the Need for EOSC.

We are engaged in supporting European Research Infrastructures, Core Facilities as well as Shared Scientific Resources in onboarding of their COVID-19 related research infrastructure services on the CatRIS Portal. The guidelines to help you upload information to the Portal can be found here. CatRIS project that we are a proud partner of aims at building an open and user-friendly catalogue of services and resources of aforementioned scientific facilities. It is meant to be populated bottom-up by research services’ providers at European, national and regional levels. The goal is to make it interoperable with the European Open Science Cloud catalogue and contribute to state-of-the-art scientific and industrial research.

Looking to the future

We are certain that the world after the current COVID-19 crisis will not return to “normal”.  The current crisis shows how we need to build more resilient systems that support public health, food supplies, etc.  The effects of the pandemic are widening inequality.  The climate and biodiversity crisis that is already impacting water resources and agricultural productivity will only worsen, putting at risk human well-being and vital ecological ecosystems that sustain life. These crises require an unprecedented and coordinated policy response at all levels of government (local, national, European and global) and we at EFIS Centre consider that the response to the COVID-19 crisis should not be at a cost to the investments and measures planned in the European Green Deal

We need more than ever to ensure focused and effective investment in science to help address the challenges facing our societies, there should be no reduction in the planned budget for Horizon Europe, especially mission driven approaches. We need to refocus innovation policies, including future Smart Specialisation Strategies, from “production” to circular economy and social innovations that provide long-term sustainable solutions for better quality of life for all, more environmentally friendly lifestyles and ecological renewal of both our cities and rural areas. Our current and future work on research and innovation policy work (e.g. through the Framework Contracts we hold for DG R&I of the European Commission) is increasingly focused on ensuring that R&I investments (in research infrastructures, industrial technologies, etc.) and policy measures address societal challenges in line the the Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. our report on Smart Specialisation toolkit to support transition toward low/zero-carbon economy).. 

If you are interested in working with us on future projects or becoming part of our network of associated researchers please get in touch !

 

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