Task Force on Research and Development 2021 Proposal/Workplan overview

Purpose: The R&D Task Force will develop tools to help GHSA countries and donors make a clear case for the link between R&D capacity-building and health security targets, to set clear road maps for strengthening R&D capacity-building, and hold dialogues that help identify and highlight key bottlenecks for decision-makers. The R&D Task Force will also actively coordinate with other relevant Action Packages such as those on antimicrobial resistance, zoonotic diseases, biosafety & biosecurity, laboratory systems, and sustainable finance as well as other GHSA Task Forces to ensure that R&D for medical countermeasures is integrated with those forums.

Primary activities:

  1. Clarify the links between R&D capacity-building efforts and health security, including with the International Health Regulations (IHR)/Joint External Evaluation (JEE) and to scope or focus the Task Force’s work.
  2. Strengthen assessment of country and regional research capacity, identify gaps, and highlight indicators and metrics that can track progress for GHSA members as local R&D capabilities are enhanced.
  3. Encourage the identification and implementation of new actions from public- and private-sector GHSA partners to strengthen R&D for health security.
  4. Collaborate with GHSA Action Packages and other Task Forces to ensure that R&D for medical countermeasures is more formally integrated into those discussions, and look for opportunities to connect with external partners to break down silos.
  5. Deepen international collaboration on health security R&D by convening relevant actors to identify barriers to communication and collaboration and develop road maps for improvement, including in relation to financing, data-sharing, and the coordination of targeted research calls.
    All activities are subject to further discussion with task force members and will be a primary focus during the kickoff meeting.

Deliverables for 2021

• Define scope of R&D for GHSA and links to GHSA 2024 Target (e.g. preclinical research through manufacturing).
• Develop an agreed-upon tool, including indicators and metrics, for gaining an overall understanding of country R&D capacities and regional gaps in the relevant strategic priority areas, that aligns with the IHR/JEE and is informed by the Global Health Security Index 1 and landscaping done by the World Health Organization’s ESSENCE on Health Research initiative.
• Hold dialogues and consultations on current barriers and bottlenecks of R&D for medical countermeasures, especially in low- and middle-income countries, and priority areas for regional apacity-building.
• Develop a road map for connecting sustainable financing mechanisms, particularly through international financial institutions, to GHSA R&D capacity-building initiatives.

Potential timeline:

Month 1: Hold kickoff meeting for Task Force discussing scope and workplan.
Month 2: Recruit additional country participants.
Month 3: Finalize workplan and begin discussion on defining R&D for GHSA and starting the process of developing a set of indicators for assessing country capacity for research.
Months 4–12: Begin holding dialogues and briefings on R&D capacity-building, continue work on elevating R&D in other GHSA workstreams, and finalize tools for assessing R&D capacity.
Task Force meetings or conference calls will be held remotely as needed, on a monthly or six-week basis.
● Updates to the Steering Group featuring a summary of activities, progress, and remaining challenges and work (prior to scheduled Steering Group meetings).
Month 13: Provide progress update to GHSA Steering Group.

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