In recent years, there have been increasing instances of cross-border crises, including climate change, terrorism, international trade disputes and global health threats. These emergency situations require large-scale planning for preparedness and response in order
for countries to be able to cope with unforeseen challenges. Especially the COVID-19 crisis had a huge impact on European countries and the daily lives of its citizens. The pandemic has proven to be more than a health crisis; it is a human, economic and social crisis, impacting people, societies and economies at their core. The European Commission has recently funded many projects (in the Horizon 2020
program, H2020) to work on different aspects of crisis management, many with a focus on managing pandemics. While each project has distinct aims and challenges, they all work towards a common goal. It is for this reason that thirteen EU-funded H2020 projects, with a
combined funding of €72 million, have united to form the PREparedness and resPonse for emergency situAtions in euRopE (PREPARE) cluster. Each of the thirteen projects is tackling challenges specifically looking at the preparedness and response phases of crisis management and working together they aim to achieve stronger results and greater impact their cause. Together CO-VERSATILE, COVID-X, COVINFORM, EUR3KA, LINKS, NO FEAR, PANDEM-2 PathoCERT PERISCOPE PHIRI RISKPACC STAMINA and STRATEGY explore synergies, research opportunities and deliver joint activities to maximise impact. Through mutual support, the cluster strengthens the response to the ongoing crisis and the aim to be better prepared for future health crises.
In a round table discussion, a selection of these H2020 briefly presented their contribution to crisis preparedness and resilience of European countries. These brief presentations were followed by a round table discussion, touching upon topics such as common findings (building trust, health inequalities, training and capacity building, addressing stakeholder diversity); and the dissemination and exploitation of the results to the general public, to researchers, to (public) health professionals and policy makers, Finally, as many of these projects end in 2022/2023, the next steps or threats, that should have the highest priority for future Horizon Europe projects were discussed.