Research across sectors
The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised the importance of mitigating the transmission of diseases through air. Now, a Dutch programme involving scientists from universities, medical hospitals and life sciences companies across the country has received a €4 million NWO Perspectief grant to research the topic. The MIST programme (‘Mitigation strategies for airborne infection control’) brings together many different disciplines to better understand and prevent airborne virus transmission. Universities and businesses involved include the University of Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology, the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre, the University Medical Center Groningen, Arcadis, Hiensch Engineering and Philips.
Practical recommendations to limit infection
As part of the programme, researchers study the contagiousness of viruses, the spread of aerosols and the influence of ventilation and air purification on transmission in various circumstances. The results are then translated into practical recommendations for efficient, cost-effective and sustainable measures – taking into account the conditions and needs of different environments such as private homes, hospitals, schools and public transport.
A wide range of expertise in a well-connected ecosystem
The programme is an excellent example for how healthcare and life sciences subjects tend to require a wide range of expertise: experts involved in MIST include epidemiologists, infection prevention specialists, soft-matter physicists, fluid dynamics experts and engineers. And this collaborative approach is a perfect fit for the Amsterdam Area’s flourishing life sciences and health ecosystem, with its many partnerships and close-knit networks bolstered by a high concentration of research institutes, universities, medical centres, LSH businesses and startups. Specialised hubs such as the Amsterdam Science Park and the Amsterdam Life Sciences District further encourage collaboration across sectors and disciplines. Just recently, the Amsterdam-based biotech startup CimCure raised €5 million to develop its innovative vaccine-based immunotherapy as a potential new tool in the fight against cancer.