Imperial's Jameel Institute has announced plans for a major new global initiative to prepare for future pandemics.
The Jameel Institute-Kenneth C. Griffin Initiative for the Economics of Pandemic Preparedness will use pioneering integrated economic-epidemiological modelling to provide critical data and analysis to inform public health decisions related to pandemic preparedness and disease outbreaks around the world.
The initiative is co-funded by a £3 million gift from Citadel founder and CEO Kenneth C. Griffin, and a separate gift from Community Jameel, the international organisation that co-founded the Jameel Institute with Imperial in 2019. It was announced at the Philanthropy Asia Summit in Singapore.
Under the leadership of Katharina Hauck, Professor for Health Economics and Deputy Director of the Jameel Institute, the new initiative brings together epidemiologists, economists and data modellers from across Imperial, together with researchers from the World Health Organisation and Singapore’s Programme For Research In Epidemic Preparedness And Response (PREPARE), National Centre for Infectious Diseases and Umeå University in Sweden.
Initially working with five countries including Singapore, the team will produce a publicly available digital scenario-based dashboard modelling preparedness levels of over 150 countries, as well as deep-dive studies on specific preparedness interventions. It will also provide evidence on the impact of alternative policy strategies - to governments, international health organisations and businesses, and work with partners to create a clear case for investing in pandemic preparedness.
Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic
Professor Katharina Hauck, deputy director of the Jameel Institute and leader of the new initiative, said: “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the vital importance of accurate projections and modelling to prevent deaths. Unfortunately, they had much less reliable evidence on the enormous social and economic impacts of pandemic mitigation. Our mission is to establish a robust and trusted methodology to forecast the potential human impact of future pandemics, across health and the economy. We’re excited to be able to play a central role in this hugely important space moving forward and are grateful for the continued support from Community Jameel and Kenneth Griffin.”
Pioneering new initiative made possible by generous support from the philanthropic community
Kenneth C. Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, said: “COVID-19 has revealed the threat infectious diseases pose to individuals and communities around the world. I am proud to support this initiative that delivers to policymakers and public health officials the research and recommendations they need to reduce future threats, protect livelihoods, and save lives.”
Hassan Jameel, vice chairman of Community Jameel, said: “With future pandemics inevitable, it’s critical governments and global health organisations prepare effectively and learn the lessons from our COVID-19 response. We have, tragically, learned of the potential human cost of being underprepared for such outbreaks in recent years, and we are working to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t repeated. Community Jameel is proud to support this pioneering work by the Jameel Institute, and I urge other organisations to partner with and support this vital work, which could help save millions of lives in the next pandemic.”
Critical partnerships to support initiative goals
The Jameel Institute-Kenneth C. Griffin Initiative for the Economics of Pandemic Preparedness was launched at the Philanthropy Asia Summit, a collaborative platform for philanthropic partnerships organised in Singapore by Temasek Foundation, which aims to convene and drive investment into scalable innovations across health, climate change and education. Following a rigorous selection process, the initiative was selected by Temasek Foundation to be presented at the summit by Professor Hauck, with representatives from the Jameel Institute and Community Jameel. Temasek Foundation encourages philanthropists attending the summit to co-finance selected projects.
Ng Boon Heong, CEO of Temasek Foundation, said: “"There are big challenges before us. To tackle them, all sectors of society must play their roles. Collaboration within and across sectors must happen at scale. I am heartened to see philanthropic organisations driving innovation and catalysing collective action. The call-to-action advanced by the Jameel Institute-Kenneth C. Griffin Initiative for the Economics of Pandemic Preparedness, and presented by Professor Hauck, will fill the gaps we observe in the disease management today.”
This article was first published on 30 September by Imperial College London.