Looking forward – 2022

As we set our sights on the years ahead, we are looking forward to: 

  • Adopting a public health approach to our research. To address the needs of the most fragile populations, fighting specific diseases is not enough. In addition to epidemiological factors, in our studies we will address with even greater determination other determinants of health, including poverty, discrimination, age, nutrition and education.   
  • Developing a family-centred approach to our studies. Babies and pregnant people have acquired a central role in our research. By providing guidance and support to families, we will ensure better pregnancy outcomes and healthy newborns. Building on our expertise in engaging with older children, we will explore new avenues to engage and involve families more and better.  
  • Embracing patient-centred decentralised research. There is an urgent need to identify new avenues for study participation, that are more accessible and more acceptable, for example, without asking participants to reach research facilities. Where possible, we will explore the potential of digital health to empower people who do research with us, the Patients, while safeguarding their rights and wellbeing as well as the robustness and reliability of the data collected. Decentralisation and digital health have a huge potential for more diversity and inclusion, and we are determined to explore them. 
  • Citizen-led science and participatory research. We are well aware that study participants have knowledge, expertise and lived experience; we will use their competence in combination with our researchers’ expertise in every step of research, from designing a study protocol to translating the results of research for public health action. We will leverage our partners’ expertise in data science to develop research projects that use data gathered from patients directly. This is happening in our VERDI project and we will endeavor to promote it in our future project applications. 
  • Strengthening our preparedness platform for emerging infectious diseases. In an age of pandemics, research needs to be global, fast and more personalised. For us, it means relying on a ready-to-act network of research centres across the globe, that are able to apply the most advanced research methodologies and produce standardised and interoperable data. We will continue to work with our collaborating sites and research centres to strengthen their capacities for preparedness and response to any emerging infectious disease that is a threat to maternal and child health.