The global Covid-19 outbreak put pandemics and pandemic management in the spotlight. Understanding the various factors that influenced its emergence, its evolution, as well as our public health responses offers a multitude of transdisciplinary learning opportunities. Contagion Science provides an umbrella for fundamental research challenges and acknowledges that mechanisms and patterns of contagion are not limited to pandemics but occur in many areas of our modern societies.
In The 2030 Plan , UVA leadership presents a roadmap to become the best public university in the country. Part of this strategic plan is the exploration of innovative pathways to Research Preeminence. By leveraging Strategic Investment Funds the university leadership enables the schools, their faculty, staff members, and students to reach the ambitious goal of Research Preeminence.
In a competitive application process in summer 2021, the ambitious idea for an Integrative Pandemic Science program received a generous $5 million startup grant. The proposal was prepared by a team of collaborators from the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative, the Schools of Engineering and Applied Science, Data Science, Medicine, and the College of Arts and Sciences under the leadership of Dr. Chris Barrett and Dr. Madhav Marathe.
By changing the name from Pandemic Science to Contagion Science in 2022, the participating partners underline the transdisciplinary character of their work. Participating faculty and staff members as well as the five institutional project partners embrace President James Ryan’s vision for growing excellency at UVA. Ryan’s vision to “ […] not simply be great, but also to be good […]” is deeply ingrained in the motivation of this program.
The Biocomplexity Institute serves as the program’s organizing unit with broad and comprehensive partnership of the University of Virginia Schools of Engineering and Applied Science, Data Science, Medicine, and the College of Arts & Sciences. The ideas developed under the umbrella of the Contagion Science program require a coordinated approach and will have a transdisciplinary character to amplify their impact.