The COVID-19 pandemic is the first influenza pandemic in a time, where the smartphone penetration of the society worldwide is over 60%. The COVID-19 pandemic reveals the sensitive interplay of science, media- and culture based public, economy and politics based on knowledge transfer in the context of decision-making processes.

The rate of noval coronavirus infections worldwide increases much faster then the new scientific knowledge on the way to effective vaccines, in the context of course of disease, predictions of infection rate developments, trace back of origins of virus origins, etc. Rather, the societal information needs about newest developments in the science sector, decisions and sanction of the politics as well as economical issues like availability of goods, inflation rates of currencies, etc. are extraordinary high. The reason are pandemic crises as extraordinary events on the one hand and the high mobility of information transfer on the other hand. The pandemic COVID-19 crisis is a global crisis which needs a global strategy of knowledge transfer through all sectors and disciplines.

But factual,

  • on the European level, it was very difficult to identify a unique communication and action strategies. The countries closed their geographical borders and created their own strategies to combat the pandemic,
  • science, economy, media- and culture-based public and politics reaches their limit during the period of COVID-19 pandemic because of lack of experiences in the context of efficient knowledge transfer,
  • the sanctions of the politics based on scientific knowledge were decided and executed nationally on a very basic and common level,
  • it is a balancing act between health system and economic system, makes it difficult to handle avoiding long-term damages in both systems.


For more efficient measures and decisions of politics on the European level during the next pandemic crisis, the knowledge base of science, economy and media- and culture base societies has to be better understood and coordinated. Therefore, PandeVITA aims to analyse the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with help of comparative case studies of mobility and communication pattern, knowledge transfer through the four systems of the quadruple helix to contribute to needed indicators and a decision criteria list.

In this context, an application will be developed, which enables the knowledge transfer and data exchange between science and society to evaluate mobility and communication patterns with the goal to enable more detailed and better matching recommendations to the society in times of crisis.



PandeVITA understands the COVID-19 crisis in a great part as a media crisis. The information need of all systems of the quadruple helix is much higher then the speed of produced new knowledge. As a consequence, measures activities in all systems are proceeded with involvement of media and in reflection of media coverages. Therefore, the better understanding of the COVID-19 crisis in distinction of previous influenza crisis, such as H1N1 crisis in 2009, needs to include the analysis of media impact on knowledge production processes in all systems.

The most significant problems during the COVID-19 were as followed:

  • Most of the activities to combat the global COVID-19 crisis were executed on a national or local level. There are no sufficient tools which enabled the exchange of knowledge on an international level.
  • The exchange of knowledge between the quadruple helix was difficult because of lack of experiences but also because of inefficient communication tools between the systems of the quadruple helix.
  • The increasing information need of the society caused by smartphone technology created a media environment with new communication structures. The impact of these structures on the knowledge circulation inside the quadruple helix during pandemic crisis is not well understood because of lack of cases.
  • The knowledge production in science, economy, politics and media- and culture-based societies during the COVID-19 crisis led to new regulations, e.g. according to privacy, data protection and health law. But these regulations vary widely in different countries inside and outside the European Commission.

A special report of „Edelman Trust Barometer 2020“ about trust and coronavirus presents the following results:

Among 10,000 respondents

  • 74% are worried that there is a lot of fake news and false information being spread about the virus.
  • 45% stated, it has been difficult for them to find reliable and trustworthy information about the virus and its effects.
  • 85% of the respondent said, they need to hear more from scientists and less from politicians.

These results reveal, that in times of health crisis, the society regards the scientific community as the most reliable source for advices and recommendations.



Therefore, PandeVITA will develop a platform which will encourage people to support scientific communities with gathered data about mobility, communication behavior, information needs and basic health information for the evaluation of mobility and communication patterns during ‘normal’ life and during pandemic crisis situations.

Furthermore, PandeVITA will analyze communication processes, socio-economic impacts and cost-effectiveness, and legal sanctions in different countries with the help of different case studies.

But the Big Data gathering, especially in the context of personal health data can only be proceeded on the highest level of voluntariness. This can only be achieved in a trustful environment created by policy makers and scientific communities which excludes the uncontrolled distribution of given data. In other words, a bottom-up approach where citizen provide personal data to scientific community for health purposes needs and a maximum of transparency in the knowledge exchange between science and society which includes all kind of information about data management.

This can be only guaranteed when the process of knowledge transfer from citizens to science is not a one-way street from citizen to science, rather it is embedded in the quadruple helix which includes a balanced and transparent knowledge exchange of politics and economy as well.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101006316.