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Slovenian science and research in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated how vulnerable contemporary societies are, including those globally most developed and technologically advanced, such as Slovenia.

(Ljubljana, March 26 2020) The Slovenian Research Agency (hereinafter: the Agency), in cooperation with the responsible ministry, agreed to provide the institutions performing research activities and the general public with an overview of current scientific, research and development activities that directly or indirectly contribute to a successful fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its many consequences.

 

Many scientists and researchers, especially in the field of medicine, are now directly and most of the time involved in the implementation of measures against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 (hereinafter: COVID-19) pandemic and in the treatment of patients. At the same time, researchers in other fields are actively linking up and focusing on research and activities that contribute to successfully addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, overcoming it, and eliminating its short- and long-term consequences in all areas of our lives.

» The pandemic has dispelled the illusion of our omnipotence and our ability to easily solve all problems and challenges with existing organizational structures, capacities, knowledge, and technology. In such moments, we realize that we, humans, are only a part of nature, although we have a significant influence on it, causing fatal problems with our actions that we now have to face. It is in such moments that the importance and role of science and research are revealed, enabling us to detect, learn about, and understand these problems and offering possible solutions through scientific findings and the creation of new knowledge. «

Prof. Dr. Mitja Žagar, member of the ARRS Scientific Council in the field of Social Sciences


The Agency recently circulated a questionnaire, inviting researchers in all scientific disciplines and research areas to report on their work during the crisis and to indicate if and to what extent their research is directly or indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and overcoming its consequences. We thank the researchers for their responses: principal investigators of 193 research programmes and 359 research projects (co-)funded by the Agency responded within a few days.

On the basis of the responses received, the ARRS Scientific Council has noted that COVID-19 thoroughly interfered in research activities, which have adapted to emergency situations for safety reasons and have largely been conducted from home. It is also evident that researchers in numerous research organizations have focused on the challenges of the current situation. The ARRS Scientific Council also calls on the principal investigators of other research groups to direct, where appropriate and possible, the focus of their current research and to intensify their efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the questionnaire, principal investigators of research programmes and projects were asked to define to what extent and how their research could help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, improve the treatment of patients, and increase the responsiveness and capacity of the health system, as well as thoroughly explore and understand current events, their wider social implications and impacts, and overcome the challenges posed by this kind of intense turmoil.

The central part of the review of the responses received, which we present to the general public, is the presentation of research activities by academic disciplines that directly or indirectly address the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the responses of the researchers, the ARRS Scientific Council has drawn up a concise overview list of research activities and potentials attached (only in Slovene).

Finally, the aim of this questionnaire and further activities is to encourage networking and clustering capabilities, competences, needs and offers for research and professional collaboration.

Attachment:

  • Strnjen pregled raziskovalnih dejavnosti in potencialov za premagovanje pandemije COVID-19

 

 

 

Date: 02.04.2020