Erasmus MC, TU Delft and EUR are building a Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC). This knowledge centre will bring together top scientists with knowledge of pandemic threats and climate-related disasters to build an ambitious research agenda for the future.
The plan for a Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Centre is based on a wish expressed by virologist Prof. Marion Koopmans, who hopes that the current level of vigilance will not diminish once the pandemic is under control.
"Everyone now realises what a huge impact a global pandemic has on all aspects of society. It is therefore time to act now. In a meeting with fellow scientists from Delft University of Technology, it became clear that there are major parallels with research into disasters, a field in which Delft University of Technology has top expertise," Koopmans says.
The EUR contributes to the PDPC with research into the social impact of disasters. "The current pandemic has an unprecedented impact on society. We learn from this crisis that social inequality increases with a pandemic and that human behaviour is an undisputed factor in crisis management," says behavioural scientist Professor Semiha Denktaş, affiliated with the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences.
Collaboration of top scientists
The idea of the research centre is being developed by a group of enthusiastic experts, in cooperation with Director Greet Vink of the Research Development Office of Erasmus MC and Anouschka Versleijen, head of Funding NL at the Valorisation Centre of TU Delft.
TU Delft and Erasmus MC, together with Erasmus University Rotterdam, are linked by a fusion of expertise: the Convergence. For over a year now, the medical and biological expertise of Erasmus MC has been merged, as it were, with the technological know-how of TU Delft and the sociological know-how of EUR.
The Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Centre falls under the umbrella of the Convergence. Already fifty engineers, doctors and scientists from the participating institutes are affiliated with the PDPC. The Municipality of Rotterdam supports the initiative wholeheartedly.