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A team from PSI’s Policy and Practice Research Group are finalists in the University of Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor Awards for outstanding research engagement.

4 members of the GloPID-R team standing in front of historic Oxford building.
Team members Daniela Toale, Isabel Foster, Alice Norton and Emilia Antonio

The GloPID-R Research and Policy team, hosted by the Pandemic Sciences Institute, was nominated for their engagement with policymakers, researchers, and funders in co-developing a tool to improve coordination of funding for clinical trials in preparedness for and response to infectious disease outbreaks.   

The GloPID-R Funders Living Roadmap for Clinical Trial Coordination provides funders with policy guidance to address the long-standing problem of uncoordinated research funding of clinical trials, which has contributed to delayed and fragmented response to infectious disease outbreaks, including SARS, Ebola and COVID-19.  

The aim of the Roadmap is to align funders to a set of goals to achieve, principles to uphold, and actions to implement to prepare for future outbreaks. 

Recognition of outstanding stakeholder engagement 

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research Engagement recognises teams who have enriched their research through engaging with those outside the University of Oxford, for the benefits of wider society.  

The team were celebrated at a special ceremony this week hosted by the Vice-Chancellor at Oxford’s historic Sheldonian Theatre. They also presented highlights of their project at an Awards Showcase. 

The team – Isabel Foster, Daniela Toale, Emilia Antonio, Louise Sigfrid and Alice Norton – were selected among 1,500 nominees from the University for their commitment and dedication to research engagement and impact.   

Commenting after the ceremony, team leader and PSI Investigator Dr Alice Norton said: “Quality research and policy outputs should always be informed by the needs and priorities of the stakeholders they impact. 

“This recognition highlights the team’s extensive efforts to engage and collaborate with funders, researchers and policymakers during the development of the Roadmap, which will ultimately support the global community in better responding to devastating disease outbreaks.”     

Endorsement from funding organisations 

For high-priority, high-consequence infectious diseases outbreaks, where no medical countermeasures are available, well-designed clinical trials to identify vaccines and treatments are essential. 

Throughout 2022, the team sought to understand and address the research funder elements needed to avoid the proliferation of uncoordinated and underpowered trials apparent during epidemics and, especially, the recent COVID-19 pandemic.  

To inform the work, the team carried out extensive stakeholder engagement, including convening a meeting jointly with the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care (as G7 lead). 

Since its release, the Roadmap has been formally endorsed by 13 funding organisations and has brought about changes in policy and practice across multiple funders. The team also presented the Roadmap at the first World Health Organization global forum on clinical trials.