Robust STI systems and efficient inclusive STI policies are of crucial importance in times of global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. UNESCO, as the UN agency with the mandate in science, is responding to this global health crises by advocating for open science,international scientific collaborations, sustainable investments in STI, and policy support to STI.
Playing a clearinghouse role, UNESCO is gathering and sharing information on STI policy actions undertaken by its Member States in response to COVID-19. Such examples of national, regional and international STI policy initiatives are meant to promote sharing of experiences and good practices in the current fight against COVID 19 and provide lessons for the future.
The initiative also aims at informing research communities, innovators, entrepreneurs and STI practitioners around the world on opportunities to join their countries’ efforts in STI to resolve the crisis, as well as to inform policy-makers, guide and inspire governmental bodies on new measures and programmes launched in support of research and innovation against COVID-19.
Increasing investment in research on the COVID-19 was one of the key policy measures adopted by countries, notably by developed countries. Helping industries and innovators finding innovative technological solutions to the global health crisis has also been supported by policy initiatives, with launches of various call for proposals, organization of hackathons, among other initiatives. In the context of emergency, the key objective of the COVID-19-related policy initiatives is to produce immediate effects and results, thus no policy instruments had tackled the need to reorganize and improve the governance structures, with more efficient STI coordination mechanisms and improved regulatory systems.
The study, which will be updated on a regular basis, can guide STI policy advice by detecting some of the critical gaps for ensuring more-effective and coherent STI responses to the crisis. This reflection could also improve STI systems’ preparedness to further address complex challenges with STI actions that can be centralto finding sustainable solutions.