23 02 2024

On 8 February 2024, the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, together with the Research Council of Lithuania, organised the conference ‘Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Scientific and Practical Aspects’, where COVID-19-related scientific projects implemented in various Lithuanian scientific institutions were presented.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on health care systems, the economy, and financial sectors in many countries. On the other hand, the pandemic has given valuable lessons that might be useful in dealing with similar global threats. The challenges caused by the pandemic have been analysed not only by the governments and international organisations but also by scientists, whose insights may contribute to the management of global crises in the future. To encourage scientists to focus their efforts and search for innovative solutions to control COVID-19 pandemic and overcome its consequences, the Research Council of Lithuania funded more than 70 scientific projects between 2020 and 2022. The results of these projects can be found here                 

The conference organising committee (academicians Aurelija Žvirblienė, Limas Kupčinskas, Vilmantė Borutaitė, and Dr Jadvyga Olechnovičienė) selected ten projects funded by the Research Council of Lithuania within the fields of the social sciences, biomedicine, and technology to be presented at the conference.

Conference participants were welcomed by Prof. Jūras Banys, president of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Gintaras Valinčius, chair of the Research Council of Lithuania, and Prof. Limas Kupčinskas, chair of the Division of Biological, Medical, and Geosciences of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. Social and economic models for overcoming crisis were presented, the consequences of the pandemic on the educational process, and the psychological state of children and adolescents were discussed in the session of the social sciences. Innovative methods of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of COVID-19, the results of research on herd immunity and other relevant issues were presented in the session of biomedical and technological sciences.

At the end of the conference, the participants discussed the importance of a dialogue between scientists and the general public in order to strengthen public trust in science and reduce the impact of misinformation. The conference organisers observed that the presentation of research results in a way understandable to the general public remains a great problem as most scientists do not devote enough attention and efforts to outreach activities. For many researchers, it is easier to write a specialised text overloaded with academic terms than a short and clear presentation of their research. This does not contribute to reducing the gap between scientists and the general public. Therefore, more attention should be paid to presenting scientific achievements in such a way that the public is aware of what projects are being implemented. The importance of science communication is also recognised by the Research Council of Lithuania, which will evaluate the outreach activities in the ongoing tenders for funding.

The conference organisers prepared a draft resolution that summarises the insights of scientists and provides their recommendations to decision makers. After discussions and receiving the notes from the experts in the field of the social sciences, the text of the Resolution will be published on the website of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Aurelija Žvirblienė, full member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences and chair of the conference organising committee