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Nordic research collaboration on pandemics

Arne Flaoyen

The Nordic region is launching new initiatives to enhance research collaboration and prepare the region for any future pandemic.

The new Nordic initiatives are a response to the recommendations issued earlier in the year by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the need for research.

“A great deal of research is already being conducted, most of it directed at the virus – to develop a vaccine and methods of treatment. This is research that can be done anywhere in the world. Nordforsk’s niche is research that generates Nordic synergies. With this in mind, we want to support research that can only be conducted in the Nordic region and will benefit our societies. Working together on research will generate results that make us better able to deal with future pandemics and other major crises that hit the Nordic countries in the same way and at the same time,” says Arne Flåøyen, Director of NordForsk, a research institution under the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Three new research initiatives

NordForsk is launching three new research initiatives, each of which will shed light on the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of the initiatives will be based on clinical research and focus on issues such as vaccines and methods of treatment, the third will focus on societal security and the Nordic governments’ approaches to contingency planning and crisis management.

“COVID-19 is the biggest crisis that has hit the Nordic countries since World War II. Our societies are under heavy pressure, and we are trying to deal with the situation as well as possible. We usually like to talk about the Nordic region as the most integrated region in the world, but this crisis has shown that it can be difficult to coordinate efforts across national borders,” Flåøyen says. “Each country has its own strategy and its own solutions to COVID-19. From a researcher’s point of view, what we are now observing can be compared with a major experiment in how to try to resolve the same crisis in different ways. Let’s us learn from each other and better prepare our societies to deal with future pandemics.”

Photo of Arne Flåøyen: Kurt Gaasø