The challenge of translating knowledge infrastructures to public need

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak made it clear that despite the potential of science, technology, and innovation (ST&I) to positively impact healthcare systems worldwide, as shown by the rapid development of SARS-CoV-2 test diagnostics and new mRNA vaccines, healthcare stakeholders have faced significant challenges in responding to the crisis through well-integrated ST&I-oriented health initiatives and policies. Therefore, the pandemic has mobilized experts, industry, and governments to evaluate alternative trajectories to promote a more efficient dialogue between ST&I and public health. This article presents a critical thinking about the contemporary asymmetries in the technical and political infrastructures available for particular approaches in ST&I in health, such as precision medicine, and for public health systems worldwide, uncovering a persistent gap in the translation of knowledge and technologies to adequately coordinated responses to the pandemic. We stimulate the understanding of this process as a matter of translation between platforms of knowledge and policy rationales shaped by different institutionalized frames of organizational practices and agendas. We draw attention to the need to strengthen governance tools for the promotion of ST&I as a strategic component of the post-pandemic agenda in public health, to prepare societies to respond efficiently to future emergencies.


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