A retrospect of PERISCOPE's Final Conference
On Friday 8th September 2023, experts from various fields related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including health, socio-economic, political, statistical, and technological areas, convened for the PERISCOPE Final Conference - From Data Science and Socio-Economic Research to Policy and Technology: Learning from COVID-19 to Build Better Health and Care in Europe, hosted at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, Belgium. This event provided a platform to present the outcomes of nearly three years of research in data science, socio-economic analysis, and technological advancements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event involved about 20 speakers across 5 panel sessions and panel discussion constituted by PERISCOPE partners from across Europe. Discussions during the event encompassed a wide range of topics, from mental health and behavioural insights, policy learning from data and digital tools, public health governance, innovations in pandemic preparedness and response, to the future of EU public health. Throughout the day, the gathering of about 70 participants emerged in reflections on the synergistic efforts and invaluable lessons from the PERISCOPE project consortium.
The opening session featured a panel with Professor Andrea Renda (CEPS) and invited guests Maya Matthews (DG-SANTE) and Professor Steven Van Gucht (Sciensano), focusing on the lessons learned by policymakers in the EU and member states from the COVID-19 pandemic. This conversation underscored the need for holistic, collaborative approaches to address global health challenges, effective communication, and adaptability in response to evolving landscapes.
Dr Pär Flodin (KI) and Professor Tim Büthe (TUM) led the first panel session, presenting their research findings on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and the policy implications on citizens’ behaviours in pandemic time, respectively. In the second panel of the event, Professor Manuel Ottaviano (UPM) and Professor Marco Brambilla (POLIMI) delved into the role of technology in pandemic preparedness, response and resilience by presenting the PERISCOPE tools COVID Atlas and COCTEAU. Within this panel, Paolo Giudici (UniPV), PERISCOPE’s project coordinator, presented statistical models to measure the socio-economic impacts and risks of the pandemic.
The afternoon session brough together experts in public health policy and healthcare systems. Professor Thomas Czypionka (HIS) and Dr. Timothy Yeung (CEPS) discussed how to enhance health system resilience and the lessons learned for EU public health emergency governance, respectively. Colleagues from Stockholm School of Economics, Professor Roberto Verganti, Professor Matia Bianchi and Riccardo Massiero explored the best practices in pandemic preparedness, response and resilience by comparing with past best practices and the role of artificial intelligence in the last presentation panel.
Michele Calabrò (EUREGHA) moderated the discussion panel, which involved experts with a comprehensive range of knowledge and experience, including clinical medicine, patient advocacy, mental health, regional healthcare systems, and EU health policy. Professor George Griffin (FEAM), Claudia Louati (EPF), Fatima Awil (MHE), and Marco Di Donato (EUREGHA) discussed about the complexity of pandemic response and how we should reflect on the lessons learned from the last global pandemic to start making a plan for future health threats. "When it comes to Pandemic Response, we must strive for coordination, not competition” (Professor George Griffin) echoed one of the recommendations tendered during the panel.
The cross-disciplinarity of the event made it a particularly unique and rich discussion, collapsing traditional boundaries between academic and policy discussions. The PERISCOPE Final Conference marked a critical milestone in the project's timeline, providing a platform to reflect on nearly three years of diligent research. It effectively bridged the gap between researchers, policymakers, and representatives from medical institutions, fostering interdisciplinary discussions.
For a deeper dive into the event, please refer here.
Links to event recordings: