Calls on COVID-19 pandemic research and preparedness
SciLifeLab had five calls on COVID-19 research open for proposals during the first months of 2021; two that represent the continuation of the ongoing KAW-supported SciLifeLab coordinated COVID-19 research program initiated in the spring of 2020; one that is targeting effects of vaccination; one focused on suggestions for ideas on pandemic preparedness; and one on suggestions for data-driven research on COVID-19.
About the calls
The five calls on COVID-19 research were announced in December 2020.
Two calls represent the continuation of the ongoing SciLifeLab coordinated COVID-19 research program, initiated in the spring of 2020 with generous funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. One call is specifically targeting effects of vaccination. One call focuses on suggestions (letter of intent) for ideas on pandemic preparedness and one on suggestions for data-driven research on COVID-19 (letter of intent).
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The SciLifeLab-KAW national COVID-19 research program was first established in the spring of 2020. The first grants awarded established a broad COVID-19 research program, including 67 different research projects in nine research areas, all focusing on combating the pandemic.
So far, the program has led to the development of e.g. new molecular diagnostic methods, high-throughput and high-content serology, analysis of the host immune response, environmental virus profiling, understanding the molecular pathogenesis as well as researching how the virus could be inhibited.
The COVID-19 research grants now to be awarded will allow continuation of the progress as well as include new studies, such as long-term consequences of COVID-19 infection as well as the specific new program on vaccine effects.
1. Proposals from existing research areas (RAs) in the SciLifeLab-KAW COVID-19 program
Call for continuation of the SciLifeLab and KAW National COVID-19 Research Program.
Aim to continue and strengthen the ongoing research program and to seek new directions, such as by collaborations across the research areas.
2. Proposals from individual scientists with new contributions to the SciLifeLab-KAW COVID-19 research program
Call for new contributions to the SciLifeLab and KAW National COVID-19 Research Program.
Aim to add new individual contributions to COVID-19 research that are relevant to the program.
3. New KAW supported COVID-19 research program on vaccine effects
Call for monitoring the impact of the different COVID-19 vaccines that will be introduced in Sweden.
4. Laboratory preparedness for pandemics
Call for laboratory pandemic preparedness, initially in a short letter of intent format.
Aim to develop capabilities that could quickly be deployed to monitor the pandemic, but also create long-term capabilities for analysis and detection of pandemics.
5. Data-driven life science (DDLS) research on COVID-19
Call for Data-Driven Life Science research on COVID-19, initially in a short letter of intent format.
Aim to discover data-driven ways to intervene in the COVID-19 pandemic, including support to the creation of databases and data mining capabilities to understand the pandemic.
The calls closed on January 15 (Call 1-3 and 5) and February 1 (Call 4), resulting in a total of total of 138 applications, ranging across fourteen Swedish universities and research institutes.
Call 1 and 2
The applications submitted in Call 1 and 2 were reviewed by the SciLifeLab Management Group and a panel of 11 external reviewers, in consultation with the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW). The external reviewers were selected based on their expertise within each specific call’s research area.
Final grant decision was taken during the SciLifeLab board meeting on March 10 and communicated to applicants on March 15.
The proposals submitted in Call 3 were reviewed by a panel of experts, chaired by prof. Jan Holmgren, in consultation with KAW.
Final grant decision was taken during the SciLifeLab board meeting on February 8 and communicated to applicants on Feb 15
The letters of intent submitted in Call 4 are reviewed by the SciLifeLab Management Group in close collaboration with the Swedish Public Health Agency (FHM).
Approximate timeline is the following:
March 25, 2021 – Evaluation of letters of intent by SciLifeLab Management Group, including selection of prioritized projects.
Information to all applicants on March 29
April, 2021 – Completion of proposals for prioritized projects
May, 2021 – Funding decision by SciLifeLab Board
June, 2021 – Start-up of selected projects.
Letters of Intent submitted in Call 5 will be reviewed by SciLifeLab Data Centre, in close discussion with the SciLifeLab Management Group and other stakeholders.
Each call had individual selection criteria, but generally included relevance to the call’s aim, level of high-quality scientific impact, open science, and data sample sharing.