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Global experts on pandemics and emergency management met in Brussels today and yesterday to help find better ways to identify and respond to potential pandemic threats to Europe. The recent appearance of the Zika virus in the Americas, followed by the World Health Organization’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, has posed new challenges making the issues discussed even more relevant.

The meeting was organised by the Pandemic Risk and Emergency Management (PANDEM) project, and saw consortium members joined by 26 experts from 11 European Member States and the USA, with a range of backgrounds including public health, microbiology, information technology, communications, law, defence, security, insurance and crisis management. Representatives from various European Commission departments also participated in the workshop, including DG SANTE, DG HOME, DG ECHO and ECDC, ensuring a broad range of inputs and perspectives.

As part of the meeting, participants were asked to guide and assist the project in ensuring that the solutions identified by the project adequately target and address the research priorities and innovations required. The needs for balance of national interests, resources and capabilities of each Member State and the promotion of synergies for multinational collaboration at the European level were emphasised.

This expert workshop, like the PANDEM project, was funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The project aims to identify further research needed to strengthen pandemic surveillance, communications and governance in the European Union.

Find out more about the project’s consortium and aims here