COVID-19: Mitigating impact on research through matchmaking
The frustration with not being able to contribute to the difficult situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic led researchers at LUPOP to launch a matchmaking initiative. Their idea is to help researchers with clinical background, now needed in healthcare, by supporting their research and application work.
As COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, public interest in epidemiology has increased significantly. This is something that Jonas Björk, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of LUPOP, has noted:
"Those of us who work with population studies and research in epidemiology have recently experienced a huge public interest in our subject area—which strangely feels a little positive amid all the sad news. At the same time, we are many in epidemiology who neither work clinically nor do research specifically on infectious diseases, and are therefore frustrated with not being able to contribute with our knowledge of epidemiological methods during this difficult time," he says.
The idea came about after colleagues at Clinical Epidemiology in Malmö contacted Jonas Björk and asked if there was any way to help. 48 hours later, the matchmaking initiative was launched by Anna Axmon, senior lecturer in reproductive epidemiology and project manager for LUPOP. Through the initiative, clinical researchers that are short of time can be matched with researchers that want to contribute time and knowledge.
To reach out to researchers, the initiative has been communicated through LUPOP's channels. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has also been contacted and offered assistance in reducing their workload if possible, and give them a buffer in case of sick leave.
"We immediately received a very positive response from the Public Health Agency. Even through social media the impact has been great, with 750 views on Facebook and 2600 impressions on Twitter during the first day alone," says Anna Axmon.
How does it work?
Researchers interested in help or who want to contribute with time can register through a web form. LUPOP then matches requests with the right expertise within the network of researchers.