GlobaLinks June 2021

WUN develops research initiative to support COVID-19 recovery

Prof. Roger Chung introduces the aims of the research initiative to participants.

Prof. Roger Chung (bottom) introduces the aims of the research initiative to participants.

The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Public Health Global Challenge Steering Group (PHGC) is developing a major research initiative in response to the United Nations Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery which calls for collective action from the international research community to leverage the power of science in support of a better socio-economic recovery and a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future. Prof. Roger Chung (CUHK) and Prof. David Olson (University of Alberta) are leading the effort to build collaborations among WUN members to support the initiative.

In March, an online workshop under the banner of ‘Sustainable/Resilient Health Systems’ was held to bring researchers together to discuss and identify topics of common interest for potential projects. It drew some 20 participants from 15 institutions and organisations across the world. Subsequently, three collaborative teams were formed on the themes of improving health system inequities, AI and machine learning (vaccine distribution), and patterns of inequity among vulnerable groups. A series of small workshops will be organised in the near future to develop the project proposals for submission to major funding calls.

Prof. Chung said, ‘The process of developing this initiative is time-consuming but extremely gratifying. WUN presents us the opportunity to assemble a truly international team which capitalise on the expertise and resources of each member. We are working on a common goal to tackle global challenges and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with our collective strengths.’

WUN is an exclusive network of 22 research universities across six continents. It fosters research in four key areas known as the Global Challenges, namely Global Higher Education and Research, Public Health, Responding to Climate Change, and Understanding Cultures. It also provides an annual funding scheme to kick-start research collaboration among WUN members. The next call will be announced in July.