Universiteit Leiden

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Joining forces to find solutions in the time of corona

The Resilient Society Platform was launched this week, right in the middle of the corona crisis. It brings together researchers, students, government and business in the hunt for solutions to the problems caused by COVID-19, both now and in the future.

The aim of the Resilient Society (RS) Platform, which is supported by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), is co-creation or partnerships between academia (researchers and students), government and industry to solve specific problems caused by COVID-19.

Over 100 organisations

Stefan de Jong, who works at the Strategy and Academic Affairs Directorate and is a science and technology studies researcher, is the contact person for the platform at Leiden University. He says, ‘At the moment there are problems with medical equipment, mobility and logistics, the food supply and digital security.’ Thus far over 100 organisations have joined the RS Platform.

Resilient Society Platform
Stefan de Jong: ‘I hope that participants from the humanities and social sciences will join soon’

Online sessions

The RS Platform is as an online knowledge broker. In online sessions qualified parties try to find possible solutions. De Jong: ‘The RS Platform is open to researchers from all disciplines. It works together with the SSH COVID-19 Portal (social sciences and humanities). As the platform originated at the technical universities, it may seem as though the solutions to corona issues mainly come from science and technology, but researchers and students from other disciplines are welcome to contribute too. I hope that participants from the social sciences and humanities will join the platform soon.’ In Germany, philosophers, historians, theologians and legal scholars are already being asked to think about how society can ‘reopen’ without endangering lives.

The RS Platform is looking for…

  • Researchers to submit challenges and solutions online or via email. Researchers from the social sciences and humanities are particularly welcome;
  • Students to act as knowledge brokers, facilitators or communicators (more information and how to register);
  • Reviewers to assess whether the submitted challenges meet the objectives and quality criteria of the platform.

Team of experts

Interested organisations can offer their expertise or present a challenge through the platform. A team of experts assesses each challenge and advises on which steps to take. The challenges must be ones that can be solved fairly rapidly; there is no point in long-term projects during the corona crisis. If a solution has potential and is considered feasible, the team looks among the organisations that have joined the platform and possibly outside for partners who can help develop the solution. The partners are brought together in online sprint sessions and make concrete agreements about the steps that need to be taken. This makes the rapid co-development of solutions possible. 

Through the RS Platform, new, relevant and high-quality products and services can be developed, both open source and commercial.
 

Text: Corine Hendriks
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