The Covid-19 Initiative at the Collège de France: An objective appraisal in preparation for the post-pandemic world
“When we analyzed the mechanisms that led to the onset of the pandemic, it very quickly became clear that Covid-19 arose in response to primarily human factors and couldn’t be treated solely as an infectious disease issue,” says Philippe Sansonetti, professor emeritus at the Collège de France (Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Chair, 2008-2020), who initiated the project.
We felt the Collège de France had a role to play, given its multidisciplinary ethos and the quality of the knowledge and expertise assembled there.
In the scientific world as elsewhere, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the degree to which academic domains can be extraordinarily intertwined, even though they may often be viewed or treated in isolation: health, research, social anthropology, demographics, politics, economics, labor and employment, law, culture, philosophy, historical memory, religion and so on. Based on that observation, a number of professors at the Collège de France representing a variety of disciplinary fields decided to embark on a joint study: “We felt the Collège de France had a role to play, given its multidisciplinary ethos and the quality of the knowledge and expertise assembled there,” says Sansonetti in his introductory video for the project. “The goal of the Covid-19 Initiative at the Collège de France isn’t to make some dramatic assessment, but rather to try to be ‘optimistic,’ formulate proposals for the future and offer an objective appraisal for the benefit of our politicians, manufacturers, stakeholders and so on.”
To date, the Covid-19 Initiative has brought together nearly 10 Collège de France professors, both active and honorary. Together, in filmed interviews, they offer thoughts and perspectives from their respective fields, going beyond the immediacy of media coverage by collectively proposing ways to think about the post-Covid landscape. The initiative is structuring its analysis around two key issues:
- “Public health policy and the politics of health: trust, sovereignty, solidarity”: an effort to decipher the factors that produced the health, economic and social crisis.
- “Pandemic environments: the human environment, societies, ecosystems, climate and the energy transition.”
The Covid-19 Initiative has adopted a distinctively European outlook, both in its desire to expand its initial core to include other European institutions and its ambition to think collectively about the post-pandemic world.
Collège de France professors taking part in the “Covid-19 Initiative at the Collège de France”:
- Philippe Sansonetti, emeritus holder of the Chair in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (2008-2020)
- François Héran, holder of the Chair in Migrations and Societies
- Samantha Besson, holder of the Chair in International Law of Institutions
- Mireille Delmas-Marty, professor emerita who held the Chair in Comparative Legal Studies and Internationalization of Law (2003-2011)
- Alain Fischer, professor emeritus who held the Chair in Experimental Medicine (2013-2020)
- Philippe Aghion, holder of the Chair in the Economics of Institutions, Innovation and Growth
- Lluis Quintana-Murci, holder of the Chair in Human Genomics and Evolution
- Marc Fontecave, holder of the Chair in Chemistry of Biological Processes
"Covid Initiative" is supported by Fondation Hugot du Collège de France.