Third ASSET Summer School: a fact, lots of news

As reported in the ASSET Strategic plan, the three Summer Schools on Science in Society related issues in Pandemics (2015, 2016, 2017) pose the main challenge of the collaborative project overall that is dealing with the intersectoral approach required by the management of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEIC), like epidemics and pandemics. Therefore, by establishing an interactive learning setting for researchers and practitioners in the field of Science in Society (SiS) related issues in Pandemics, the ASSET Summer School focused on: governance of pandemics; unsolved scientific questions about epidemics and pandemics; crisis participatory governance; ethical, legal and societal implications of pandemics; gender pattern – vulnerability; and (issues related to) intentionally caused outbreaks.

From May 30 to June 1, 2017, the Third ASSET Summer School on Science in Society related issues in Pandemics was held at the National Centre for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the Italian Institute of Public Health in Rome. It is a (matter of) fact.

In those three days, both the deductive and the inductive methods were applied to discuss on PHEIC management, according to a multidisciplinary perspective. A sequence of several case studies was analysed and contents ranged from public health to social science and communication. Thematic focuses were: vaccination and current vaccine hesitancy; an intentionally caused outbreak of botulism; Zika virus and gender related issues; risk assessment applied to Yellow Fever and the impact of risk communication on Ebola Virus Disease spreading in Western Africa; lay public involvement in case of major outbreak occurrence and study of people reaction on social media against recent terroristic attacks. Indeed, it is a news.

The third ASSET course was comparable to a varied stage of actors holding different professional roles and backgrounds: general practitioners, public health officers, researchers, medical students and PhD candidates, biostatisticians, journalists, sociologists. They represented public research institutes as well as private companies. And this is really a (good) news.

Thirty people gathered in Rome in these days, coming from Lyon (France), Haifa (Israel), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dublin (Ireland), Athens (Greece), Geneva (Switzerland), Bucharest (Romania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Manchester (UK), Abuja (Nigeria), Chișinău (Moldova), Milan and Rome (Italy). Then, the cross-cultural environment recalled by the pay-off associated to the ASSET Summer School was actually well represented. It is a (great) news.

An interactive approach was fully developed at the 2017 ASSET Summer School: people worked in groups all over the learning units and attendants also presented their own projects, activities or experience developed concerning SiS related issues in the management of major infectious disease outbreaks. In this way, it was possible to enjoy a beneficial sharing of expertise and a fruitful exchange fostering Mutual Learning among differently grounded professionals. In the end, another news.

It is right to state that the third ASSET Summer School was a fact, but also brought a lot of news.

MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence