£10m Trinity Challenge to protect future generations from pandemics

Imperial has joined a global coalition focused on protecting the world from future health emergencies in the wake of COVID-19.

The Trinity Challenge – launched today by 22 world-leading universities, businesses and non-profit organisations – will provide access to £10 million of funding for innovations that could improve the world’s ability to identify, respond to and recover from pandemics and other global health threats.

We must ensure that future generations never suffer the same fate again. Professor Ara Darzi Co-Director of the IGHI

Convened by Dame Sally Davies – former UK Chief Medical Officer, Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge – the Trinity Challenge calls on participants to harness the potential of data and analytics to learn and share lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and drive advances in areas such as economics, behavioural sciences, and epidemiology.

The challenge brings together organisations like Facebook, GSK, Google, Microsoft – as well as universities including Imperial, Cambridge and LSE – to work together on health issues in an unprescedented way.

Launching the Challenge, Dame Sally Davies said: “There will be another COVID-19, and there is an opportunity for the international community to learn lessons now and prepare for the future. The Trinity Challenge is a recognition by business, academia and philanthropy of the need for new, breakthrough ideas and approaches to beat the next pandemic.

“My career has been inspired by making sure all people, everywhere, have the best possible life chances. Health is integral to that, and we are seeing this now more than ever.

“We need to come together to make sure this never happens again.

“We need new ways of working, new partnerships, new ideas, and believe that together this strong and growing coalition can and will generate acts that protect and improve lives and livelihoods everywhere.”

Imperial College London is playing a leading role in the global effort to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Imperial academics are at the forefront of efforts to advise the public and policymakers, understand the disease, develop new vaccines and create new diagnostic tests.

A safer future

Imperial’s participation in the Trinity Challenge is led by the College’s Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI).

Professor Ara Darzi, Co-Director of the IGHI, said: “Right now we are facing one of the most formidable challenges of our time that has sent ripples of devastation through communities, health systems and societies all across the world. We must ensure that future generations never suffer the same fate again. Through the Trinity Challenge, we can break boundaries that stifle innovation and set us along an urgently needed path of discovery and global collaboration towards a safer future for all.”

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, said: “While we are living through the most urgent public health crisis in a generation, we have achieved more in the past six months than could ever have been imagined. The pandemic has highlighted the power of collaboration, the strength of our communities, and the importance of thinking beyond geographical borders. The Trinity Challenge will help us combine data analytics and collective insights from across sectors to ensure that we are prepared for the epidemics, pandemics and global health emergencies of the future.”

Global effort

The Trinity Challenge asks global participants to submit impact-led ideas on how to safeguard the world’s health and economic systems from the threat of global health emergencies. Submissions that make the selection will be supported with access to people, data and resources from founding members like Imperial, to maximise the effectiveness of their solutions and leverage the world-leading expertise and innovation of these institutions.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the world was not prepared. Together, we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to ensure a pandemic of this magnitude, with this level of disruption to lives and livelihoods, never happens again.

“We welcome the Trinity Challenge, which brings together multiple partners to harness the power of data and analytics for a safer world.”

Challenge Teams will focus on potential solutions that support and strengthen the global public health ecosystem in a robust and inclusive way. Proposals will be fielded globally through an open and accessible submission process to bring the best minds and ideas together.

Participants will develop ideas, tools and insights relevant to three key stages:

  • Identification: Building early-warning systems and ground-breaking technologies to identify pathogens or outbreaks before they cause great harm.
  • Response: Developing insights and capabilities to target interventions with maximal effectiveness and at minimal cost.
  • Recovery: Strengthening the social and economic revival following health emergencies and constructing an equitable path toward an inclusive recovery.

The Trinity Challenge Founding Members are: Aviva, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Brunswick, University of Cambridge, Discovery, Facebook, Global Virome Project, Google, GSK, HKUMed, Imperial College London, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Internews, Legal and General, LSE, McKinsey and Company, Microsoft, Northeastern University, Optum, Reckitt Benckiser, Tencent, Zenysis Technologies.

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