On January 12-13, 2021, health, science, and policy leaders from around the world gathered at the Futures Forum on Preparedness to debut groundbreaking research on the global COVID-19 response and reimagine the future of public health.
We unveiled research on 23 nations’ COVID-19 responses, undertaken by 78 researchers from 47 institutions, that outlines lessons learned across nations and recommendations to improve public health interventions. We also released Health Security Net, the most comprehensive collection of pandemic preparedness policy ever published, containing over 1,200 reports chronicling 25 years.
By bringing social scientists and public health experts together, we aimed to build a global, interdisciplinary network that could turn these insights into action by further disseminating the research, organizing working groups, and launching a challenge opportunity. over the coming months and years.
The Futures Forum on Preparedness was hosted by Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Social Science Research Council.
A central puzzle of COVID-19 is why some nations have so successfully contained the virus while others have failed. Even more puzzling is how nations with similar systems of government and demographics have experienced the pandemic in such different ways.
To understand what drives divergent outcomes, Schmidt Futures partnered with the National Science Foundation to support teams at Harvard, Cornell, and Columbia universities examining how public trust, leadership, and political culture have impacted 23 nations’ COVID-19 responses, including the first major intra-African study. This research, undertaken by 78 researchers from 47 institutions, pinpoints key variables to determine why some nations’ COVID-19 responses succeeded while others struggled. The findings will help public health authorities and policymakers mount a more effective response to COVID-19 and better prepare for future pandemics.
With support from Schmidt Futures, Georgetown University’s Center of Global Health Science and Security is also releasing Health Security Net, an online, searchable library containing over 1,200 global reports chronicling 25 years of pandemic preparedness policy. This collection of reports, testimony, and expert advice will become the most comprehensive repository of its kind ever published.
Schmidt Futures launched two working groups to operationalize the ideas from the forum. The Vaccine Safety and Confidence-Building Working Group will be led by the Center for Pandemic Research at Columbia University. The Learning and Accountability Working Group will be led by the Center for Global Development and will help governments structure how they learn from the successes and failures of our response to COVID-19 and improve preparedness in the future.
Schmidt Futures announced a new challenge opportunity to source the best ideas for increasing trust and solidarity as they relate to public health. In partnership with the National Academy of Medicine, and with advisory support from the Social Science Research Council, we will seek proposals for concrete, evidence-based solutions to develop trust within communities and build interdisciplinary collaborations when deploying public health interventions. Local governments, public health systems, and other institutions are eligible to participate. Winners receive funding and resources, particularly for securing key talent.
Schmidt Futures bets early on exceptional people making the world better. Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talent together into networks, bets on the most promising ideas through competition, and equips people to scale through partners and thoughtful application of modern tools.
As COVID-19 has spread across the globe, disrupting the lives of billions of people and causing immense physical and economic hardship, countless individuals and organizations have risen up to tackle this generational challenge.
Through early efforts to coordinate philanthropic funding and seed promising efforts, Schmidt Futures has helped accelerate innovation in COVID-19 diagnostics, treatment, policy, public health communications, and resilience.
Our work has included: