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RAPID Research & Innovation Initiative (RRII)

The COVID-19 RAPID Research and Innovation Initiative (RRII) invites researchers to use the RAPID Research and Innovation funding mechanism, which allows HEC to receive and review proposals dealing with topics and issues of severe urgency with regard to the availability of or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment as well as quick-response research on COVID-19. There is an urgent and immediate need for research in order to gain a better understanding of the epidemic, to understand and contain the patterns of spread, develop diagnostics and improve patient care and the public health response. The said fund is supported by the World Bank and implemented by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The RRII will provide funds to selected institutions based upon a competitive, yet swift peer-review of proposals. 

The priority themes for RRII support include:
  • Development of Infectious Diseases Surveillance Systems Systems using big data analytics and artificial intelligence: Including integrating the response into the entire medical system, from primary to secondary to tertiary
  • Disease Epidemiological Modelling: Data systems and evidence-informed modelling for disease prediction, outcome prediction and impact assessment of interventions
  • Immune Patterns of COVID-19: Immune Mechanisms of COVID-19 infections and recovery, implications for diagnostics and therapeutics, including understanding localized factors and responses (such as ethnic, genetic, social, behavioral, and climatic factors, etc.)
  • Treatment modalities and strategies including concentration on local and traditional medicine
  • Diagnostics kits: Rapid diagnostics based on antigen detection vide RTPCR systems, Gene EXPERT systems or alternatives
  • Indigenous manufacture of Low cost Intensive-care equipment: Oxygen supply and monitoring equipment, Intravenous fluid devices, Ventilators/CPAP units, Cardio-respiratory monitors etc.
  • Development of disinfectants particularly using indigenous herbal ingredients: low-cost sterilization and sanitation material for hospitals, general-purpose consumer hand sanitization material
  • Personal Protective Equipment: N-95 Masks, other Personal Protective Gear (clothing gowns, goggles, and gloves), preferably reusable materials
  • Information Collection and Dissemination IT platforms: Identify hotspots and growth patterns, Contact tracing modeling of affected people
  • An additional priority area for the funding instrument RAPID Innovation Seed Fund (RISF) is Education Technology to facilitate learning at the basic and secondary education levels in a COVID-19 environment
Each applicant seeking funding through the RAPID Research and Innovation Initiative can propose an idea based on one of the above-mentioned priority themes and can apply through one of the following three funding instruments: