Coronavirus (957) Lancet: Research and higher education in the time of COVID-19

30 August, 2020

The editorial in this week's print issue of The Lancet takes a systems thinking perspective on health research systems:

'Health research systems, like care systems, comprise several multidimensional and interacting pillars. First, a workforce with the skills, training, experience, relationships, and networks needed for research excellence. Second, the necessary resources, including funding, infrastructure, workplace conditions and rights, management, incentive structures, research cultures, and academic freedom. Third, multidisciplinary perspectives that are supported by science beyond medicine, public health, and policy, including social and behavioural sciences, such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, and media and communication studies. Together with basic and translational sciences, such multidisciplinary research is fundamental to the development and uptake of treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics.'

The editorial concludes:

'Protecting and strengthening research in the midst of COVID-19 will require thoughtful and concerted efforts on the part of governments, funders, universities, and academic communities to collaboratively develop, implement, and fund long-term plans that elevate the voices of students and researchers in national policy decisions. Sustainable research systems are vital, not just to the success of pandemic responses but also to the health of all societies the world over.'

CITATION: Editorial| volume 396, issue 10251, p583, august 29, 2020

Research and higher education in the time of COVID-19

The Lancet

Published: August 29, 2020

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31818-3

COMMENT (NPW): The editorial mentions health research systems together with three other 'systems': basic science, health research, translational science, and care may be considered as a 'system of systems'. While the editorial focuses specifically on the health research system, COVID-19 is impacting all four systems. The same call to action ('thoughtful and concerted efforts on the part of governments, funders, universities, and academic communities to collaboratively develop, implement, and fund long-term plans') applies to all four, both individually and collectively.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org