DWIH Focus Topic 2021 - Society in Transition: Impacts of the Pandemic

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In 2021, the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH) will be addressing the consequences of the corona pandemic and giving a wide range of specialist and international impetus.

What impact is coronavirus having on globalisation? How will the pandemic affect business exchange and extensive networking in the long term? The consequences of the corona crisis can be felt in virtually all areas of private and public life. At the same time, the pandemic is emphasising the value of international exchange, science and innovative capacity.

Developing and distributing a vaccine is only the most obvious of the challenges. The pandemic is raising fundamental questions about new approaches to economic growth, about innovations in urban development and mobility, and about sustainable agriculture and food production. This exceptional global situation is also prompting a rethinking of what is crucial for social cohesion and dialogue between science, business and politics.

The corona pandemic in focus for the DWIH network

Highlighting the annual focus topic for 2021, which is “Society in transition: impacts of the pandemic”, the centres in New York, São Paulo, Moscow, New Delhi and Tokyo will be seeking ways in which the global challenges posed by the pandemic can be met by international networks.

Further information about the choice of the DWIH focus topic for 2021 can be found on the website of the DWIH network.

India is rolling out the world’s most extensive vaccination campaign for its population of 1.3 billion people. One of the two vaccines to be approved first in India is being produced by the Serum Institute in Pune, the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world; the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was involved in developing the other. Already in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government had begun to prioritise research: 70 projects were selected for financial support by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) back in May 2020, and other funding measures followed.

Healthcare research is a key area in Indo-German research projects. The development of herbal medicinal products is one example; this is jointly funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology (MST). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, research into antiviral effects is likewise in focus.

Social issues

In 2020, the DWIH New Delhi, with its activities, already engaged intensively with the social challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic: in July, a Science Circle Lecture investigated the role played by the public health sector; in September, the Indo-German perspectives on the social impact of the pandemic formed the subject of a web-talk series. There will also be numerous opportunities in the future for the supporters of the DWIH to pick up on topics relating to the pandemic: the Max Planck Society for instance is collaborating with Indian partners in vaccine research.