| Erfurt Laboratory for Empirical Research, Faculty of Philosophy, Knowledge, Spaces, and Media, Personalia

Cornelia Betsch appointed to DFG interdisciplinary commission for pandemic research

Against the background of the current coronavirus pandemic, the German Research Foundation (DFG) is setting up an interdisciplinary commission for pandemic research. It has 18 members from all scientific fields, including Cornelia Betsch, Heisenberg Professor of Health Communication at the University of Erfurt. The commission is to strengthen basic research in the field of pandemics/epandemics and identify research needs. The Executive Committee of the DFG, the largest research funding organisation and central self-governing body for science in Germany, has now passed a resolution to this effect.

"Numerous research and networking activities have already been launched nationally and internationally to improve understanding and combat the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. These are primarily clinical or application-oriented. As a supplement, we consider it essential to have a committee that deals with basic research in this crisis and includes economic, ethical, legal, social, psychological and historical aspects in addition to the medical and epidemiological perspectives. With the new interdisciplinary Commission on Pandemic Research, we want to close this gap and contribute to the coordination of high-quality research," said DFG President Professor Dr. Katja Becker, who will head the Commission herself.

The new commission will accompany DFG-funded projects on pandemics and epidemics, both ongoing work and, in particular, research projects within the framework of a current interdisciplinary call for proposals launched by the DFG at the end of March, in which funding proposals can be submitted until 1 September of this year. In addition, the Commission is to oversee the entire basic research landscape relating to pandemics and epidemics and identify potential research needs. In doing so, it will pay particular attention to inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation and the strengthening of synergies.

As the DFG President emphasised, the Commission should be purely science-driven and have a long-term focus, and should represent the DFG's corresponding activities within the scientific community and externally. In particular, this would include close cooperation with national and international institutions and partner organisations.

The members of the Commission will be appointed for an initial period of two years; the constituent meeting is scheduled to take place on June, 15.