"Transdisciplinary responses to a global crisis"

Webinar 1 

An overview of transdisciplinary responses to a global crisis

Monday 25 May           10:00 - 11:30                                                                                    

It is beyond doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic made much of the world end up in crisis. Attempting to get beyond the crisis in a fair, equitable and responsible way, a large set of types of knowledge and value articulations are required. Disciplinary approaches do not suffice to deal with them. There are no magic bullets (“the” vaccine!). In this series of Webinars, researchers from the Athena Institute and colleagues explore collective ways to unravel this global crisis using a transdisciplinary approach.         

Hosted by prof. dr. Jacqueline Broerse


Webinar 2

What is mine is yours. Accelerating R&D responses during outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases 

Thursday 28 May        10:00 - 11:30                                                                                      

Effective and timely innovation of vaccines, diagnostics, and antivirals to respond to outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases is dependent on the efficient collaboration between scientists, governments, and companies. Such collaboration is not always self-evident, however. What can we learn from earlier outbreaks on innovation barriers and approaches to remedy them? And what role can technology play in facilitating this?

Hosted by dr. Linda van de Burgwal and prof. dr. Eric Claassen 


Webinar 3

Which crisis? Whose evidence? Robust and inclusive evidence for rapid outbreak guidance

Friday 5 June             13:00 - 14:30                                                                                    

The speed at which guidance needs to be produced during the COVID-19 outbreak poses a huge challenge to guidance producing bodies around the globe. How to appraise and include wide ranging types of knowledge to come to robust guidance in the absence of frequentist (RCT-based) evidence? How to do so without resorting to expert opinion without empirical checks-and-balances? And how to balance harms, benefits and efficiencies, especially when already marginalized communities risk paying the highest price?

This is a shared initiative of the Athena Institute and the Appraising and Including Different Knowledge (AID Knowledge) working group of the Guidelines-International-Network.


Contributors to the conversation: Frode Forland, Specialist Director Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and former GIN Trustee, Sietse Wieringa, Guidelines researcher at University of Oxford, COVID-19 ward medical professional in London, member of AID Knowledge, Tomris Cesuroglu, lecturer of Global Health Systems at Athena Institute, involved in COVID-19 guidance production in Turkey. Reflections by: Fergus Macbeth, former Director of Guidelines, National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) UK, former GIN Trustee

Hosted by dr. Teun Zuiderent-Jerak


Webinar 4

Large effects at the margins

Monday 8 June           10:30 - 12:00                                                                                      

It has become increasingly clear that COVID-19 containment measures have affected different people highly unevenly. Children in youth care have been  facing increasing risks of domestic violence. The enthusiastic embrace of e-health and online education has made the digital divide more visible than ever. The largest effects have clearly been experienced by those already at the societal margins. What responses has this triggered? What can we learn about support structures that came up quickly - or are still lacking? How can ad hoc resilience be fostered in a more sustainable way? And how can professionals and policy makers learn from and with those at the margins?

Contributors to the conversation: Bobby Zachariah, Team Lead, Global Opportunity Youth Network, Pune City Connect, sharing from his experience on building community responses to disasters, Nicole Goedhart, Research Associate, Athena Institute, sharing from her experience on the Digital Divide

Hosted by dr. Barbara Regeer


Webinar 5 

COVID-19 - the epidemiological transition undone? 

Monday 15 June           12:30 - 14:00                                                                                      

It is generally acknowledged the current health care system was able to significantly reduce deadly infectious diseases, as a result of which the burden of diseased changed to chronic and lifestyle related diseases. This is called the epidemiological transition. Did COVID-19 undo this transition? And is that why we are willing to spend so much on preventive measures? And if not, what can we learn from COVID-19 to inform current prevention programs for chronic and lifestyle related diseases? 

Joining us to share their expertise: dr. Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Associate Professor of Interactive Governance of Health Interventions, Athena Institute, VU. Karine van 't Land, MD PhD, Public health physician, Amsterdam UMC. Prof. dr. Jochen Mierau, Professor Public Health Economics, RUG & Scientific Director AJSPH. Prof. dr. Pim Assendelft, Professor of Prevention in Healthcare, dep. Primary and Community care, Radboud University Medical Centre.

Hosted by dr. Tjerk Jan Schuitmaker


Webinar 6

Opportunities for public engagement?

Tuesday 23 June             09:30 - 11:00                                                                                    

The COVID-19 outbreak is what we call a wicked problem. It is highly complex, characterized by factual uncertainty, while values are in dispute and the stakes are high. Although wicked problems cannot be ‘solved’ with a straightforward solution, they can be addressed in a more appropriate way by involving a broad variety of people and perspectives in reflection, learning and decision-making. Public engagement offers a means to accomplish this. But what should public engagement look like in response to this complex societal issue that is so urgent? What are the issues that need to be addressed? Which values are at stake? Whose voice matters? And how can public engagement be organized in a fair and effective way in when rapid response is required?

Joining us to share their expertise: dr. Carina Pittens, Assistant Professor Patient Involvement, on COVID-19 care. Lidewij Eva Vat, Research Associate Patient and Public Engagement, on COVID-19 research. Sophie Kemper, PhD Candidate RIVM, on outbreak management.

Hosted by dr. Frank Kupper


Webinar 7

Making sense of Corona

Wednesday 1 July           10:00 - 11:30                                                                                   

We need to talk about sensemaking. The COVID-19 outbreak has put the spotlight on two interrelated trends that are profoundly changing the science-society relationship and complicating the public communication about science:

1) The boundaries between science and society are blurring leading to more collaboration, but also more controversy. 2) The digitalization of the media landscape has created many diverse online arenas where science is openly contested, negotiated and transformed, by scientists and politicians, many other actors involved. Under these circumstances, the way individuals and communities make sense of the COVID-19 outbreak is crucial. We all make sense of this complex reality from our own, limited and incomplete, perspective. What are the best strategies to build open and trustworthy relationships between science, media, politics and citizens? And what are the required roles and responsibilities of scientists and science communicators?

Joining us to share their expertise: dr. Jaron Harambam (KU Leuven), interdisciplinary sociologist working on conspiracy theories (on COVID-19), Tessa Roedema (Athena Institute, VU), PhD Candidate conducting research into sensemaking practices of citizens on COVID-19, Enith Vlooswijk, independent science journalist, columnist and fact checker, who will share her expertise on the practice of science journalism during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Hosted by dr. Frank Kupper