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Call for evidence

UK Science, Research and Technology Capability and Influence in Global Disease Outbreaks

Terms of reference:

1. The contribution of research and development in understanding, modelling and predicting the nature and spread of the virus; 

2. The capacity and capability of the UK research base in providing a response to the outbreak, in terms of: 

  • advice to government, public bodies and others on managing the outbreak; 
  • the development of testing, diagnostic methods and technologies; 
  • the development and testing of vaccines; and 
  • the development and testing of therapeutics; 

3. The flexibility and agility of institutions, Government departments and public bodies, and processes to respond appropriately during the crisis including:

  • the availability and responsiveness of funding; and 
  • the optimal functioning of regulatory and ethical processes; 
  • the availability and influence of scientific advice in all Government departments and public bodies—including by departmental Chief Scientific Advisers; and
  • the extent to which decisions taken drew on that advice;

4. The capacity to manufacture and distribute testing, diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines: 

  • both standing capacity and capacity able to be mobilised; 

5. The capturing during the crisis of data of the quantity and quality needed to inform: 

  • decisions made during the crisis; and 
  • to maximise the learnings afterwards; 

6. The mechanisms for communication of scientific evidence internationally, within national governments and with the public: 

  • including the handling of conflicting scientific opinions; and 

7. The UK’s readiness for future outbreaks, including a consideration of: 

  • the National Risk Register; 
  • the UK Pandemic Influenza Strategy; and 
  • PHE’s Global Health and Infectious Diseases Strategy. 

The Committee invites evidence from the public, organisations and others with relevant expertise, on the terms of reference. (Please note that submissions don’t need to address all the areas covered in the terms of reference to be accepted.) 

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