Conference: Science for Resilience – Learnings from the Pandemic

Date: May 23 and 24, 2022

No one knows what autumn 2022 will bring. But we do have more than two years of experience with the pandemic. What's more, science has learned to make its findings available. Looking ahead, what can we learn from the way the pandemic has been handled so far? And how can newly obtained knowledge be best applied to inform evidence-based decisions? By discussing these questions, the "Science for Resilience" conference aims to promote an open and interdisciplinary culture of debate in Austria.

This conference is addressing the issues raised in the draft paper by the Future Operations Board. The finished paper will be presented at the conference.

Conference Program

Monday, 23.5.2022

9:00-09:15  Opening and Welcome

  • Antonella Mei-Pochtler (Think Austria, Federal Chancellery, Republic of Austria)
  • Ulrich Elling (IMBA)
  • Herwig Ostermann (Austrian National Public Health Institute)
  • Thomas König (Institute for Advanced Studies – IHS)

09:15-11:00  How can the right data be made available to the right people at the right time – in order to facilitate smart and timely decision making?  (Thematic Session 1)

  • Nicholas Fisher and Dennis Trewin (Australian Bureau of Statistics) – The critical Importance of expert statistical input in managing epidemics (online)
  • Nicola Hamilton (UK Health Security Agency) – Building the plane whilst flying it – developing the data infrastructure of the Covid-19 testing programme
  • Edouard Bugnion (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) (online)
  • Erika Vlieghe (University of Antwerp) – From Data to Advice (online)
  • Stefan Thurner (Complexity Science Hub) – Why a functioning national medical data infrastructure is necessary for future health care challenges

Chair: Michael Stampfer (WWTF)

11:30-13:00 How to build resilient health systems? (Thematic Session 2)

  • Anna Sagan (European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies) – Health and long-term care staff at the limit – How to build resilient health systems?
  • Ruth Waitzberg (Berlin University of Technology and Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute) – The Israeli health system is prepared for shocks, but is it resilient? Focus on health workforce
  • Luís Velez Lapão (Universidade Nova de Lisboa) – Insights from Portugal on health system resilience: From Policy measures to digital solutions
  • Herwig Ostermann (Austrian National Public Health Institute) – The Austrian Perspective

Chair: Andrea E. Schmidt (Austrian National Public Health Institute)

14:30-16:00  What scenarios can we expect for the Fall of 2022 and in the coming years, and how shall we prepare for it?  (Thematic Session 3)

  • Ulrich Elling (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology) and Barbara Schober (University of Vienna) – Covid Scenarios for the Fall of 2022 and Beyond
  • Fergus Cumming (UK Health Security Agency) – Staring into the Abyss: Five Lessons from the UK's Pandemic Experience
  • Lisa Landry (Public Health Agency of Canada) – COVID-19 Surveillance and Targeted Studies to Support Recovery, Readiness and Response (online)
  • Ami Mizrahi (Ministry of Health, Israel) – From Reference Scenarios to Goals and Capabilities In Israel (online)

Chair: Arne Bathke (University of Salzburg)

16:30-18:00  How does SARS-CoV 2 evolve and what are implications for treatment and immunity? (Thematic Session 4)

  • Janine Kimpel (Medical University of Innsbruck) – Analysis of Variants
  • Richard Peabody (WHO)  (online) 
  • Trevor Bedford (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Nextstrain) – Continuing SARS-CoV-2 evolution and diversification post-Omicron (online)

Chair: Andreas Bergthaler (Medical University of Vienna, CeMM)

18:00-19:30  Panel Discussion 1 – Vulnerable Populationen: Psychosoziale Bedingungen, Diversität und Inklusion (in German)

  • Adrian Graf (Gymnasium BG18 Klostergasse)
  • Heinz Katschnig (Medical University of Vienna)
  • Birgit Meinhard (Interest Group Caring Relatives) 
  • Sigrid Pilz (Patient advocate, City of Vienna) 
  • Eva Potura (Second Victim)
  • Martin Schenk (Diakonie)

Chair: Tanja Stamm (Medical University of Vienna and Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft)


Tuesday, 24.5.2022

09:00-10:30  What are the best approaches to increase trust, to improve communication, and to reduce polarization? (Thematic Session 5)

  • Christian Korunka (University of Vienna) – Introduction
  • Jakob Moritz Eberl (University of Vienna) – Divided by the Jab: Vaccination-related Affective Polarization in Austria 
  • Thorsten Faas (FU Berlin) – Asymmetric Affective Polarization (online)
  • Friedericke Hendriks (TU Braunschweig) – Science Communication and its role for public trust in science (online)

Chair: Christian Korunka (University of Vienna)

11:00-12:30 How do science and public policy interact in times of crisis? (Working Title)  (Thematic Session 6)

  • Claudio Radaelli (European University Institute) – Effective governance and the role of science (working title) (online)
  • Susanne Forstner (Institute for Advanced Studies – IHS) – Research and policy advice during the pandemic: experiences in the field of economics
  • Claudia Habl (Austrian National Public Health Institute) – Crisis management during the pandemic from the perspective of GÖG as a boundary organization

Chair: Thomas König (Institute for Advanced Studies - IHS)

12:30-14:00  Press Conference

14:00-15:30  How do we make daycare and schools "safe" in spite of the pandemic?  Panel Discussion (Thematic Session 7)

  • Deepti Gurdasani (Queen Mary University of London, UK) – Quantitative data regarding children and Covid19 (online)
  • Thomas Müller (Director of the Innsbruck University Clinic for Pediatrics) – Consequences for the physical health of children and adolescents
  • Paul Plener (MedUni Vienna) – Consequences for the mental health of children and adolescents
  • Mario Steiner (Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna - IHS) – Consequences for educational equity
  • Michael Wagner (University of Vienna) – Infection prevention in kindergartens and schools

Chair: Barbara Schober (University of Vienna)

16:00-17:30 - Panel Discussion 2 – Lessons Learned (in German)

  • Ingomar Gutman (High-risk patient, University of Vienna, UMC Groningen)
  • Katharina Reich (Austrian Federal Ministry of Health)
  • Thomas Starlinger (Office of the Austrian President)
  • Andrea E. Schmidt (Austrian National Public Health Institute)
  • Dorothee Van Laer (Medical University of Innsbruck) 
  • Elke Ziegler (ORF)

Chair: Andreas Bergthaler (Medical University Vienna, CeMM)

18:00  Conclusions/Closing and Social Event



Arne Bathke (Paris Lodron University Salzburg), Andreas Bergthaler (MedUni Vienna, CeMM), Ulrich Elling (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology), Anita Gottlob (Austrian National Public Health Institute), Helmut Hönigmayer (Institute for Advanced Studies – IHS), Thomas König (Institute for Advanced Studies – IHS), Claudia Royc (Institute for Advanced Studies – IHS), Andrea E. Schmidt (Austrian National Public Health Institute)

Please register at event(at)

You can also participate online over Zoom:

The event is taking place at the Lecture Hall of IMP at Vienna Biocenter, in coordination with IHS, IMBA, Gesundheit Österreich. You can also participate over Zoom, please note that the event will be recorded.

We thank our supporters: Verbund, WWTF and IMP.