COVINFORM joined forces with its sister projects to increase impact in mitigating the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been more than 14 months since the first COVID-19 cases were recorded in Europe. Most of the continent came to terms with the fact that the virus will not just magically disappear. Europe will have to live with COVID-19 and its social, economic and health-related consequences for another while. This is why research on COVID-19 and its various impacts is key to mitigate ongoing negative consequences of this pandemic. In 2020, the European Commission launched a funding call for research projects investigating the behavioural, social and economic impacts of the outbreak responses with a total funding of € 28 million. COVINFORM, along with four other projects, was funded under this call. Although the projects focus on similar issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the respective research and their approaches differ: PERISCOPE addresses the indirect effects of the pandemic – and sustainable policies to address them. It employs interdisciplinary research and uses tools from existing COVID-19 platforms to create a data atlas, which provides a holistic model followed by statistical learning to come up with potential best practices – then to be implemented in the guidelines. RESPOND analyses the psycho-social response to the pandemic and the impact of the pandemic on mental health and the vulnerable. Amongst other measures, it will compare mental health data between countries with various levels of restrictive measures (Sweden/Lombardy/Catalonia). SHARE-COVID investigates the non-intended effects of the epidemiological control measures. It will identify the effect of lockdown on both health and health behaviours, as well as labour market implications. RESISTIRE focuses on intersectional and gender-oriented analysis of the pandemic effects. The project investigates for whom and for what type of inequalities there were positive and negative effects by combining mapping policies, quantitative indicators and collective narratives of people who experienced the impact in terms of inequalities. COVINFORM analyses COVID-19 responses on the level of government, public health, community, and information and communication with a focus on the impacts on vulnerable individuals and groups. At first the sister projects participated in an initial meeting where they introduced their research. This was followed by a series of biliteral meetings with the aim to understand potential synergies between the projects. In April, COVINFORM organised a workshop in which the sister projects had the chance to discuss issues related to vulnerability, socio-economic consequences, governance and dissemination more in-depth across all projects. The aim of the cooperation is primarily to increase the impact of each project’s research. As all the projects have different foci and investigate different target groups in varying countries and regions, a collaboration enables the projects to complement and substantiate their findings. Each project works towards a shared goal of improving Europe’s resilience for health disasters in general, derive lessons learnt and recommendations for better risk communication and disaster response, and improve the wellbeing of the European population and the most vulnerable among us in particular.