Name of the Project

ASSET (Action plan in Science in Society in Epidemics and Total pandemics) is an EU funded, 48 month Mobilisation and Mutual Learning Action Plan (MMLAP) project.

Model type : Other
In a globalized and interconnected worldlike the one we live in, infectious diseases can spread much faster and more easily than they used to do.

It worked combining public health, vaccine and epidemiological research, social and political sciences, law and ethics, gender studies, science communication and media, in order to develop an integrated, transdisciplinary, strategy for pandemic and epidemic preparedness at local, regional and national levels, so bringing societal issues into the field of preparedness and response. CE decision 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats to health stresses that “inconsistent or confusing communication with the public and stakeholders such as healthcare professionals can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the response from a public health perspective as well as on economic operators”. The decision requires every three years all member states to provide the Commission with an update on the latest situation with regard to their preparedness and response planning at national level, in an intersectoral dimension. ASSET project provides research, experiences, proposals and tools that could useful to incorporate Science-in-society issues into these plans.

ASSET is a 48 months project, which aims to:
1) forge a partnership with complementary perspectives, knowledge and experiences to address effectively scientific and societal challenges raised by pandemics and associated crisis management
2) explore and map SiS-related issues in global pandemics
3) define and test a participatory and inclusive strategy to succeed
4) identify necessary resources to make sustainable the action after the project completion.

ASSET combines public health, vaccine and epidemiological research, social and political sciences, law and ethics, gender studies, science communication and media, in order to develop an integrated, transdisciplinary strategy, which will take place at different stages of the research cycle, combining local, regional and national levels.

 
ASSET represents a model of actions for other projects and
stakeholders, by highlighting 6 main targets, that can be addressed with specific objectives by possible tools of actions on pandemic and epidemic preparedness and response. All the actors involved in the process of preparedness and response to epidemic and pandemics need to be involved, but language, tools and contents of these actions need to be diverse. we have defined these 6 groups of possible stakeholders, even if some of them include different actors with different roles in epidemics and pandemics, and an actor may be included in more than one group, as well:
1. International, National and Local Organizations and Authorities;
2. healthcare Professionals;
3. Scientific Community;
4. Industry;
5. Media;
6. General Public.
ASSET experts developed a virtual Toolbox, which mimics the real one carried by many workers. Such a box includes several instruments that have been used during the course of the project and made available on the website: from data visualization to a glossary of specific terms from different disciplines, from citizen participatory meetings to health reports by science journalists.

All these actions can be seen in view of 6 themes of Responsible Research and Innovation within the horizon of Science with And For Society:
1. governance of flu pandemics and other similar crises.
2. unsolved scientific questions and open access on scientific outputs regarding influenza and pandemic situations;
3. crisis participatory governance;
4. ethical, legal and societal implications of pandemics and epidemics;
5. gender issues in pandemics and epidemics;
6. risk of intentionally caused outbreaks.

In this scenario, ASSET project developed an Action Plan including several initiatives and tools addressed to main groups of stakeholders. All of these actions were aimed at an interdisciplinary involvement of different actors, enhancing dialogue and mutual knowledge both through virtual means (website, social networks, call-conferences, community of practice, bulletins and newsletters) and personal meetings (high Level Policy Forum, local initiatives, Geneve Festival, workshops and conferences). A strong peculiarity of ASSET project was a simultaneous citizen consultation in eight different European countries (bulgaria, denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Norway and Switzerland), with a full-day initiative of information, discussion and engagement of citizens in preparedness and response towards crises caused by emerging outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics.

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2014-01-01 ~ 2017-12-31

EU(European Union’s )

ASSET(Action plan on Science in Society related issues in Epidemics and Total pandemics)

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http://www.asset-scienceinsociety.eu/

info@asset-scienceinsociety.eu

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info@asset-scienceinsociety.eu

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Standards

Gathering and sharing informationAssessing and forecasting situationPlanningDecision making and sharing

The overall objective of ASSET project is to contribute to incorporating Science-in-Society issues into the system of Research and Innovation related to pandemic or epidemic preparedness.
This will be done by:
  1. exploring and mapping SiS-related issues in global pandemics.
  2. developing a partnership with complementary perspectives, knowledge and experiences to address effectively scientific and societal challenges raised by pandemics and associated crisis management.
  3. developing a participatory and inclusive strategy to succeed.
In four yearsof work, ASSET has verified what a great challenge is to develop a common language among actors with different scientific and professional background. The exchange among partners and other stakeholders met in the course of the project has shown how fruitful this multidisciplinary dialogue can be and that it would deserve further efforts in order to better tackle with old and new emerging diseases.
Social psychology and risk communication, as well as computational, social network and big data analysis, can add important information to virology, microbiology, immunology and vaccinology so that preparedness and response can be improved in the future.
despite the great effort needed to enhance a dialogue among different EU-funded projects, ten of them present and cooperate at the ASSETbrokerage event, on 30th-31st October 2017 in Rome.
The experience of ASSET citizen consultations has confirmed the willingness of general public to be involved in pandemic preparedness and response, and the importance of providing it with transparent and complete information before asking its opinion.
ASSET analyses have shown that lessons learnt from previous epidemics and pandemic about the relevant role of engaging society, considering ethical and gender issues and developing an inclusive risk communication are hardly put into practice even by most national pandemic preparedness and response plans. Steps forward will hopefully be taken following CE decision 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats to health, which requires every three years all member states to provide the Commission with an update on the latest situation with regard to their preparedness and response planning at national level.
horizon 2020 with its Science-with-and-For-Society program acknowledges that there is still a lot of work to do. It is needed to allow “all societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, business, third sector organisations etc.) to work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of European society”.
A good job has been done by ASSET and other EU-funded projects, but there is still a long way to run before getting to a more prepared, resilient and fair society, also in front of infectious crises.

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