ICT research after corona

In an interview with the Dutch ICT magazine AG Connect, CWI director Jos Baeten outlines how the corona crisis affects ICT research. Besides the difficulties and downright misery that result from Covid-19, there’s an upside, says Baeten. “It has a positive aspect: everyone is committed to resolve this crisis.”

Publication date: 23-06-2020

In an interview with the Dutch ICT magazine AG Connect, CWI director Jos Baeten outlines how the corona crisis affects ICT research. Besides the difficulties and downright misery that result from Covid-19, there’s an upside, says Baeten. “It has a positive aspect: everyone is committed to resolve this crisis.”


What impact does the corona crisis have on scientific ICT research?
“Research at universities has been under pressure for several years because of the large student numbers. During the corona crisis, universities were very suddenly forced to switch to full online education, including online exams. Their ICT infrastructure had to be restructured to be pave the way for online lectures. All this effort causes a huge dip in research. That dip is global and affects everyone. IN the near future we'll see in everybody’s resume that 2020 was a difficult year; Covid-19 influences everyone’s work, in whatever way.”

“On the other hand, there’s a beautiful side to it too: everyone is committed to resolve this crisis. Everyone wants to end this situation as soon as possible. At CWI, several researchers offer their expertise, for example researchers critically assessing the ‘corona app’ being developed by the government.”

“Another example is our researcher Peter Grünwald, who researches adaptive testing. His research examines, among other things, how one can use test results already while test is still running. That way of testing is now being used in a clinical trial for a possible vaccine against Covid-19, allowing this trial to be completed much quicker. Within three days we received permission from medical ethics review committees for this. That’s extremely fast, and it shows how relevant this research is.”

What impact have you been most surprised by?
“The broad willingness of researchers to put their current research aside for a moment, and focus on the current situation. That’s pretty impressive and the right thing to do.”

Read the full interview (available in Dutch only) at AG Connect.