17 October 2020

TRENDS Research & Advisory participated in a recently-held virtual summit – Think-Tanks and Civil Societies Program – organized by Lauder Institute, the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Stephen Blackwell, the Director of Research and Strategic Studies at the TRENDS Research & Advisory, represented the think-tank during this latest in the series of Lauder Institute monthly forums held on October 13, 2020.

“Representing TRENDS Research & Advisory at the summit was indeed a proud moment, more so because we have been highlighting the important role of think-tanks in this fight against Covid-19,” said Dr. Blackwell. He noted that researchers nowadays have a unique opportunity to diagnose and recommend policy tools based on their areas of expertise. Such events become platforms that can be used by both policymakers and researchers.

The Think-Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) summit highlighted that think-tanks are positioned to serve policymakers and the public now, more than ever, as they grapple with the consequences of Covid-19. Think-tanks are increasingly tasked with providing effective strategies for government, civil society, and private sector decision-makers.

Participants at the summit emphasized that think-tanks can contribute their expertise to accelerate and augment multinational cooperation in the research and development of drugs, vaccines, testing devices, and other medical products. They deliberated on the options available to advance policy frameworks that allow technology to be used in a manner that mitigates the spread of Covid-19.

Experts also made several recommendations, including critical subjects such as the public health crisis, the digital divide, and health preparedness and resilience. They also emphasized the urgent need to collect large quantities of reliable data that can be shared rapidly among institutions involved in the fight against Covid-19.

They maintained that through partnerships between governments, the private sector, and academia, innovations could be brought rapidly from concept to implementation, and best practices for addressing Covid-19-related problems can be shared and replicated. Policymakers should promote the use of technology to enhance health ecosystems, they emphasized.

The Working Group noted that telemedicine is a promising method of lightening the burden for healthcare systems. They also advocated for creating a central information authority that gathers relevant local data to develop a comprehensive pandemic global picture. Think-tank executives and scholars will convene on November 13, 2020, to discuss regional policy challenges, particularly in the Covid-19 crisis.