EAM president and members support European Foundation for the Prevention of Environmental and Health Crises initiative

25-03-2021

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, 77 leading scientists from across Europe, including seven EAM members, have mobilized in a call for a European Foundation for the Prevention of Environmental and Health Crises. Both current and former EAM presidents, as well as several other members are supporting the call. 

Exclusively dedicated to environmental and health crisis prevention and management, the foundation would foster research in crisis anticipation and establish targeted measures to mediate the damage of potential catastrophes. The initiative has been likened to the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, forging a much-needed alliance between European scientists and philanthropists to better prepare for future crises.

The call, originally published in a letter to Nature in June 2020 and across the European media, has recently been followed by the release of an official white paper detailing the foundation’s vision, missions and governance structure. In addition, the document identifies examples of threats and potential future crises, where microbiology plays a major role. From infectious disease outbreaks including human, zoonotic and insect-borne diseases to panzootics affecting food supplies, microbiology is high on the agenda.

With an emphasis on applied science and action-research driven by a multidisciplinary approach, the initiative will encompass basic science, applied science, technology and engineering together with social, political, environmental and economic sciences. The importance of developing active partnerships with local territories and authorities to streamline response measures is also underlined.

Initially, an endowment of about 20 billion Euro from European philanthropists would be needed to set up the foundation. With advice from an independent scientific advisory committee, the foundation’s council of donors would support European research into technology and therapeutics to help counter epidemics and environmental threats in the future. For a comprehensive overview of the initiative, including the list of signatories, please consult the European Foundation’s white paper.

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