Maire Connolly news

Insight members front and centre in new pandemic preparedness and response project

Submitted on Tuesday, 09/02/2021

A number of Insight PIs and FIs based in NUI Galway are involved in PANDEM-2, a €9.75m Irish-Led Project Set to Strengthen EU Preparedness and Response to Future Pandemics
Starting February 2021, the PANDEM-2 Project will develop IT systems and processes to improve the European Union’s preparedness and response to future pandemics
New solutions developed by PANDEM-2 will enable the simulation of future pandemics and the training of pandemic managers on a national and pan-European basis and the tools will also allow for improved planning and management of critical resources including hospital beds, PPE and vaccines.

There is clearly room for improvement in the European pandemic response. Leaps need to be made in the analysis of real time data, in the sharing of information across borders and in adopting common and consistent policies. Future pandemics are to be expected as population growth, international air travel and environmental factors increase the likelihood of diseases crossing from animals to humans.

Protecting the health and security of citizens across Ireland and the EU in the face of these pandemic threats requires member states and agencies to share information and to collaborate on joint policies and approaches.

The PANDEM-2 Project will develop IT systems to improve the EU’s preparedness and response to future pandemics. The outputs will enable pandemic managers to prepare for a wide variety of different pandemic scenarios and possible responses. PANDEM-2 technologies will also enable improved pan-European planning and management of critical resources including hospital beds, PPE and vaccines. This will position Europe to respond coherently and effectively to the next pandemic, whenever it comes and whatever form it takes.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD said, “I am delighted to see further EU investment in research and innovation which will help us prepare at a national and European level for future pandemics. I would like to congratulate and thank NUI Galway for their leadership of this project, which will seek to harness the learning from COVID-19 in the development of a range of innovative technologies to further support and improve the European Union’s preparedness and response to future pandemics. While we are still facing many challenges with COVID-19, it is critical that we also focus on longer term developments for pandemic preparedness, as this project will. I am delighted that Irish research will be central to this work.”

Insight FI Prof. Máire Connolly will coordinate the PANDEM-2 Project. She said,
“COVID-19 has had devastating health, economic, and social impacts on countries worldwide. The PANDEM-2 Project aims to better prepare EU member states for future pandemics through innovations in technology, training and cross-border collaboration.
The state-of-the-art tools that will be developed by PANDEM-2 have the potential to transform how Europe prepares for future large-scale healthcare crises through improved analysis of surveillance and contact tracing data, innovative pandemic modelling, better resource allocation and training of pandemic managers using simulations across Europe.’’