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Information for Researchers No. 107 | 22 December 2020
UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery

DFG’s Commission for Pandemic Research and German Committee Future Earth (DKN-Future Earth) support the United Nations’ ongoing commitment to overcoming the pandemic

The Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research and the German Committee Future Earth (DKN), both set up by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), discussed the “Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery” recently published by the United Nations at their latest meetings, which they expressly welcomed. The Commission and the DKN believe that the roadmap is an impressive testimony of the UN’s commitment to overcoming the pandemic.

The roadmap focuses on socio-economic factors and supplements the WHO’s roadmap “A Coordinated Global Research Roadmap: 2019 Novel Coronavirus”. It concisely identifies which research questions are particularly urgent in this regard in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, which gaps in research need to be filled and which steps are necessary to encourage the effective and efficient dissemination and implementation of scientific findings. Likewise, the roadmap also addresses researchers and experts in public policy as well as from civil society organisations, and with its combination of target groups it plays an instrumental role in directing the action that needs to be taken.

As emphasised in a joint statement by the DFG’s Pandemic Commission and the DKN, the roadmap represents a signal and a clear commitment to a science-driven, evidence-based approach to dealing with the consequences of the pandemic. It also shows that the current pandemic provides us with a historic opportunity to shape the development of our society in a more sustainable way with regard to our consumption of natural resources. The Commission and the DKN explicitly welcome how the roadmap focuses on responding to the overarching question of how the efforts to deal with the consequences of the pandemic can also be used to consciously encourage developments which at the same time contribute towards making the world more socially equitable, resilient and sustainable. To this effect, the roadmap is consistently geared towards contributing to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2015.

The roadmap was developed within a period of ten weeks as part of a global consultative process in which more than 250 experts took part. A variety of scientific subject areas relating to overcoming the consequences of the pandemic were discussed in five different steering groups. Experts in public policy as well as from civil society organisations were also involved alongside researchers, as well as members of 38 different research funding organisations worldwide. The discussions were based on initial studies into the state of empirical research in fields which are relevant to the pandemic.

After an opening message from Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, the newly-published 128-page document identifies the research priorities necessary to support the socio-economic recovery from the pandemic. A total of 25 research priorities are defined in the five pillars of “Health System and Services”, “Social Protection and Basic Services”, “Economic Response and Recovery”, “Macroeconomic Policies and Multilateral Collaboration” and “Social Cohesion and Community Resilience”. Following on, the close links are explored between tackling the pandemic and the transformation of society along more sustainable lines. The roadmap subsequently addresses the framework conditions necessary for a functioning science and research system, among other things by highlighting the importance of functional data infrastructures and of implementation and accompanying research. Finally, the next steps were listed which are necessary for disseminating and implementing the roadmap.

The roadmap was developed and funded under the leadership of Canadian research organisations, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Public Health Agency. The DFG was represented in drafting the roadmap by its Head Office.

Further Information

About the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery:

With regard to the German Committee Future Earth (DKN-Future Earth), see also:

About the DFG’s Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research:

Contact at the DFG Head Office:


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