The global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic carries extraordinary challenges. People, societies, industries and the economy are all together affected by the pandemic in one way or another. Every now and then a crisis can also bring opportunities for new scientific discoveries and innovative solutions. New knowledge about how society should act to handle the Covid-19 pandemic is essential. Hence, research and innovation initiatives, both short-term and long-term, are critical to tackle this global pandemic.
Numerous of new research and innovation initiatives have been made in Sweden to address the challenges posed by the virus. Below we have listed some select initiatives in Sweden to address the current pandemic.
Immediate research actions related to Covid-19
The Swedish government has allocated 100 million Swedish Kronor for immediate research actions related to Covid-19 during 2020 (via The Swedish Research Council and Vinnova). The funding will support ongoing or planned activities that are directly focusing on stopping the Covid-19 pandemic.
SciLifeLab coordinates major efforts in diagnostics and research on Covid-19
In late March 2020, Science for Life Laboratories (SciLifeLab) launched a national open call for Covid-19 related projects. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation granted SciLifeLab with up to SEK 110 million for research projects focused on e.g. antibody testing, increasing capacity for Covid-19-testing and creating a biobank.
Hack the Crisis
Hack the Crisis is an online hackathon that took place 3-6 April 2020, organized by the Agency for Digital Government, Hack for Sweden, Openhack and The Swedish Government. Vinnova supports the winning solutions in taking their idea to the market.
Special initiative on research for virus research
The Swedish Research Council will launch a call addressing knowledge gaps such as research on viruses that constitute pandemic threats, and those that cause common infections. For most viruses we are also lacking antiviral drugs or vaccines capable of reducing the viral burden. The call will focus on basal virological research and basic disease mechanisms caused by viruses.
Covid-19 crisis mitigation
Vinnova has launched open calls to support Covid-19 crisis mitigation and is calling on innovative ideas to address the wider impact of the corona crisis. The call for proposals is aimed at projects that support our society in a challenging time. New solutions should be ready to be put into practice within six to twelve months.
Redirect ongoing funding towards research related to Sars-CoV-2 and Covid-19
The Swedish Research Council grant holders now have the option to use part of the funding for research related to Sars-CoV-2 and Covid-19 for a limited period of time.
Curious to know more about research and innovation initiatives related to Covid-19 and what other states are doing to combat with it? Read about what our Innovation and Science counsellors have to say about what is going on in Brasilia, Seoul, Washington D.C., New Delhi, Tokyo, and Beijing during this pandemic.
Drenushe Januzi, intern at the Secretariat for the Offices of Science and Innovation