The humanities and social sciences research programme NRP 80 aims to provide evidence-based guidance and action knowledge to support the best possible management of the Covid-19 pandemic and of future pandemics in Switzerland.

Covid-19 not only represents a challenge to the health system but challenges society in general in many ways. NRP 80 contributes to understanding and addressing the societal challenges posed by the pandemic. In addition, its aim is to draw lessons from the pandemic in order to help prevent negative effects in future crises and make the most of sustainable social development potentials.

NRP 80 focuses on the situation in Switzerland from social sciences and humanities perspectives.

What are the objectives of NRP 80?

NRP 80 sets out to provide valuable insights regarding the societal dimensions, processes and measures for handling pandemics. The main objectives are:

  • to understand the societal dimensions and processes relevant to the course of the pandemic, with their short-, medium- and long-term effects;
  • to identify relevant factors and measures for the best possible management of the pandemic in Switzerland;
  • to gain generalisable knowledge from the Covid-19 pandemic for proactive management of future pandemics.

These objectives are complementary to the completed NRP 78 “Covid-19”External Link Icon, which aimed at providing evidence-based recommendations for clinical management and public health, and at accelerating the development of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.

Why is the research programme important?

The Covid-19 pandemic has short-term as well as medium- and long-term, potentially drastic effects on society. NRP 80 will provide valuable insights aimed at identifying, understanding and managing the most salient socially, economically and politically pressing challenges in Switzerland. Furthermore, it will identify the societal factors and mechanisms that have been influencing the course of the pandemic.

The goal is not only to better understand the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to pave the way for better management of future crises. Potentials for forward-looking, sustainable social development in Switzerland are to be identified and implemented.

How will this be achieved?

NRP 80 coordinates and expands research in the humanities and social sciences on crises triggered by pandemics. In addition to scientific research, the NRP also promotes cooperation and exchange between science, politics and society.

Taking into account the innovations and changes triggered by the pandemic, the research findings will be used to develop evidence-based strategies and recommendations for decision-making during and after a pandemic.

The 25 funded projects are grouped into seven research clusters:

  • Youth and education
  • Family and law
  • Governance and economy
  • Work
  • Public discourse
  • Wellbeing and cohesion
  • Social security

The grouping into research clusters increases knowledge exchange across projects and makes it easier to identify and exploit potential synergies.

How long will the research programme last and how much will it cost?

The research phase will start in December 2022 and run for 3 years. NRP 90 will operate with overall funding of CHF 14 million.

How will the results be communicated?

Active knowledge exchange is central to NRP 80. The researchers collaborate closely with the stakeholder groups in society that are relevant to their project. Knowledge exchange experts support the project partners in implementing the research results.

The findings and recommendations of NRP 80 will be presented and discussed in events and publications throughout its duration. Various communication tools and channels (website, professional and public media, social media, newsletters, reports) will be used to address different target groups and invite them to exchange information.