- Update on projects addressing SCOR Board priorities
The SCOR Board received an update on the impact of the ongoing pandemic on UKCDR projects and operations and approved a revised workplan, including:
- The UKCDR-led MODARI (Mapping ODA Research & Innovation) project, which aims to improve the availability and quality of data on Official Development Assistance (ODA)-funded research and enable better cooperation and decision making within and across government departments. The findings of an initial landscape report were reviewed and endorsement for continued engagement with stakeholders on emerging themes was given. The Board expects to receive a further update on this project in November, including detailed recommendations for approval.
- TheUKCDR-led climate change project. The project will identify opportunities, gaps and emerging issues for collaborative action, and making recommendations to inform coherence and maximise the value of research among UKCDR members and stakeholders, whilst impacting the discourse at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). The timeframes for this project were adjusted in response to COP26 being postponed to 2021, but the project was making good progress.
- Finally, the Board endorsed the plans for the proposed COVID CIRCLE (COVID-19 Research Coordination and Learning) project. Co-led by UKCDR and Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R), it aims to coordinate funding efforts, connect networks of researchers, and collate learnings to inform future epidemic and pandemic responses with a focus on lower-resource settings. Preliminary work had already taken place, and UKCDR and GloPID-R had collaborated to launch a COVID-19 Research Project Tracker to support funder decision making, and develop a set of principles to align research funders towards a coordinated effort for supporting high-quality research for the most pressing global needs in epidemics and pandemics.
- Strategic discussions
The Board discussed the recently announced merger of DFID and FCO (now Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, FCDO). Members encouraged further discussion on how UKCDR could support data needs for decision making in the context of these changes.
The Board heard that UKCDR would publish a set of impact success stories designed to highlight the value of Official Development Assistance (ODA) research and development in August, accompanied by a virtual event and press release linking the case studies to current key challenges. Members also agreed to schedule an ad-hoc meeting of the Board in September to discuss prioritisation and matters related to the Spending Review.
- SCOR Board Chair succession
It was announced that the term of the current Chair of the SCOR Board, Prof. Peter Piot, would conclude at the end of 2020. The Board thanked Prof. Piot for his dedicated service and mandated UKCDR to lead on a recruitment process for a successor. It also appointed a Selection Committee, comprising three SCOR Board members, to oversee and support the process.
Attendees: Prof Peter Piot (Chair), Director, LSHTM (Independent); Prof Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser, DFI; Prof Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust; Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser, DHSC; Prof Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies (Independent); Prof Fiona Watt, Executive Chair, MRC (UKRI representative), Harriet Wallace, Director International Science and Innovation, BEIS, Prof Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair, AHRC (UKRI representative); Marta Tufet, Executive Director, UKCDR; Mimoza Murati, Executive Assistant, UKCDR (Minutes)
Apologies: Prof Jo Beall, Director Cultural engagement, British Council
Presentations: Henrike Grund, Alice Norton, Laura Scott, Emma Clegg (all UKCDR)