Research Topic

Relationships between Science, Technology and Governments during Health Crises

About this Research Topic

The 21st century has been marked by several global health crises: SARS, Ebola, Zika, MERS, Avian Flu and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever, these crises have highlighted the importance of science and technology expertise in governmental decisions, and governmental help or hindrance to the development of health-related science and technology. This Research Topic will examine how governmental policies affect scientific collaboration and technological innovation, and how members of the scientific community become involved in shaping such policies.

One example comes from the 2015-2016 Zika outbreak in which regulations by many Latin American governments, including Brazil and Colombia, created obstacles to the export of the viral genetic material to other countries. While aiming to prevent “helicopter-science” practices and give an advantage to local scientists, these nationalistic policies may have delayed scientific discoveries and healthcare responses. During 2020, to give another example, COVID-19 vaccine trials have often been met with resistance in several parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Latin America.

This Research Topic takes elements from political science, sociology, diplomacy, and technology development to understand how different countries collaborate during a health crisis, with emphasis on the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we aim to understand collaborations between countries of different economic development. Sub-themes for this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:

• Multinational scientific collaborations and ownership of scientific data.
• Reception and responses to recommendations of the World Health Organization to health crises.
• The role of other United Nations agencies (i.e. UNDP, UNICEF, UN-Women, UNHCR) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Foreign policies in regard to the transit of medications and biomedical equipment.
• Health technology transfer between governments.
• Non-State Actors (NSAs), their communication and their role in shaping policies. These include: DIY science advocates, makers, academics and students.
• The need for multinational drug and vaccine trials and response from the local community.
• Development of geographically targeted technologies during a health crisis.
• The role of social media in disseminating scientific advances and ultimately affecting local policies.
• The role of communication in shaping health policies, and the role of information and communication technologies in the processes thereof.


Keywords: Science, Technology, Government, SARS, Ebola, Zika, MERS, Avian Flu, COVID-19, Diplomacy, Health Policy, International Collaboration, Social Media, Communication, Health Communication


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The 21st century has been marked by several global health crises: SARS, Ebola, Zika, MERS, Avian Flu and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever, these crises have highlighted the importance of science and technology expertise in governmental decisions, and governmental help or hindrance to the development of health-related science and technology. This Research Topic will examine how governmental policies affect scientific collaboration and technological innovation, and how members of the scientific community become involved in shaping such policies.

One example comes from the 2015-2016 Zika outbreak in which regulations by many Latin American governments, including Brazil and Colombia, created obstacles to the export of the viral genetic material to other countries. While aiming to prevent “helicopter-science” practices and give an advantage to local scientists, these nationalistic policies may have delayed scientific discoveries and healthcare responses. During 2020, to give another example, COVID-19 vaccine trials have often been met with resistance in several parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Latin America.

This Research Topic takes elements from political science, sociology, diplomacy, and technology development to understand how different countries collaborate during a health crisis, with emphasis on the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we aim to understand collaborations between countries of different economic development. Sub-themes for this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:

• Multinational scientific collaborations and ownership of scientific data.
• Reception and responses to recommendations of the World Health Organization to health crises.
• The role of other United Nations agencies (i.e. UNDP, UNICEF, UN-Women, UNHCR) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Foreign policies in regard to the transit of medications and biomedical equipment.
• Health technology transfer between governments.
• Non-State Actors (NSAs), their communication and their role in shaping policies. These include: DIY science advocates, makers, academics and students.
• The need for multinational drug and vaccine trials and response from the local community.
• Development of geographically targeted technologies during a health crisis.
• The role of social media in disseminating scientific advances and ultimately affecting local policies.
• The role of communication in shaping health policies, and the role of information and communication technologies in the processes thereof.


Keywords: Science, Technology, Government, SARS, Ebola, Zika, MERS, Avian Flu, COVID-19, Diplomacy, Health Policy, International Collaboration, Social Media, Communication, Health Communication


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 December 2020 Abstract
15 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 December 2020 Abstract
15 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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