Schmuckbild: Mitglieder Pandemiekommission

Commission for Pandemic Research

The COVID-19 pandemic generated an enormous need for knowledge. To pick up the momentum and coordinate closely within the research community, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research in June 2020. In 26 meetings held until November 2023, the interdisciplinary commission broke new ground in order to bring together the creativity and problem-solving expertise of knowledge-driven research with an interdisciplinary vision. The commission consisted of 21 members from all academic disciplines. The Chair of the Commission was Professor Dr. Katja Becker, President of the DFG.

The aim was to make a contribution to pandemic monitoring from a scientific perspective. A special feature was its independence from direct political advisory contexts.

Final Report Issued by the DFG's Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research

In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Germany, interdisciplinary research strategies and studies were of considerable benefit to science, politics and society. Yet even after the end of the acute pandemic phase, further research is still very much needed into a wide range of questions. In order to be even better prepared for future crises, it will also be vital to carry out a systematic, science-driven reappraisal of the pandemic and the measures imposed, as well as examining the role of science itself. These are three of the key conclusions drawn by the DFG’s interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research after three and a half years of work from mid-2020 to the end of 2023. The Commission’s final report has now been published by the DFG.

Statement on the current WHO Pandemic Agreement

In a current statement on a pandemic agreement planned by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Interdisciplinary Commission für Pandemic Research has emphasised the importance of free knowledge-driven research. The statement underlines the importance of pandemic preparedness, but urges the exclusion of knowledge-driven research from the scope of application.

The Commission at a glance

Why is a scientific commission required for this purpose?

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated clearly that science-based knowledge is essential for dealing with pandemics. The interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research aims to provide information on the scientific background and contribute to closing information gaps by means of targeted contributions by its members. The interdisciplinary composition of the Commission allows it to issue statements on various current issues, such as Long COVID, access to health research data, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 viruses through aerosols and vaccine acceptance.

The Commission supports DFG-funded projects on research into pandemics and epidemics: this applies to ongoing work as well as to research projects under an interdisciplinary call for proposals and COVID-19 Focus Funding. Between June 2020 and June 2021, the Commission prepared a total of seven calls for “COVID-19 Focus Funding”. Call topics covered a broad spectrum of particularly pressing scientific issues. Funding is provided for projects dealing with the prevention, early detection, containment, investigation of causes and effects, and the management of epidemics and pandemics, based on the example of SARS-CoV-2 and other human pathogenic microorganisms and viruses..

The Commission currently meets every six weeks. Guests are regularly invited to address specific specialist issues, thereby contributing to the networking of research.

Programme contact at the DFG Head Office:

Dr. Anne Brüggemann
Telephone: +49 (228) 885-2213

Media contact:

Marco Finetti
Telephone: +49 (228) 885-2230