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Pandemic Technology Project

About the Pandemic Technology Project

December 16, 2020

As covid-19 began spreading around the world, an avalanche of new digital services and data-driven approaches has emerged to aid pandemic response. From smartphone exposure notifications to vaccine allocation algorithms, these systems have been developed under the watch of politicians, public health officials, scientists and businesses. They have also faced many challenges.

The Pandemic Technology Project examines how these systems are being used in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. Over the course of 2021, it will investigate and report on the various ways that digital technologies are developed and deployed.

The project is funded by support provided by a grant to MIT Technology Review from the Rockefeller Foundation. Content is editorially independent and output is overseen by MITTR editor Bobbie Johnson. Unless otherwise stated, all material posted by the project reflect the views of the individual contributors, and not the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or the Rockefeller Foundation.

How it started

Our coverage started in March 2020, as we saw technologists discussing how smartphones could help detect possible exposure to the disease. This led to a flood of apps and systems, which we began monitoring developments through our Covid Tracing Tracker.

As the pandemic continued, we saw these technologies supplemented by other digital interventions, including expanding the use of digital health records, the prospect of immunity passports, and other data-driven ways of approaching the spread of covid-19.

How it's going

In November 2020, we expanded the project to take in this larger landscape. The project is now funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, and alongside the core staff of Technology Review, we have dedicated reporters and editors focused on uncovering more about these important questions.

Principal investigator, project lead: Bobbie Johnson
Editor: Lindsay Muscato
Reporters: Cat Ferguson, Mia Sato

You can see a full list of stories we've published on the Pandemic Technology Project page.

What they're saying about us

The project and tracker have received coverage in news outlets around the world, from international broadcasters to local websites. If you're a member of the press interested in talking to our team about this work or the role of technology in the pandemic, please email lindsay.muscato@technologyreview.com

Our work has also been used in public health decisions, and cited in studies and research papers. If you are referencing our work, or have an interest in our data please email ctt@technologyreview.com to let us know.

Google Scholar citations

Deep Dive

Pandemic Technology Project

Kirsch funds fluvoximine research
Kirsch funds fluvoximine research

This tech millionaire went from covid trial funder to misinformation superspreader

After boosting unproven covid drugs and campaigning against vaccines, Steve Kirsch was abandoned by his team of scientific advisers—and left out of a job.

What’s happening with covid vaccine apps in the US

The world is debating apps that prove you've been vaccinated. We're keeping track of what you really need to know.

vaccine credetialing concept
vaccine credetialing concept

What you need to know about US vaccine proof on your phone

How and where you may need to show digital vaccine proof—and what the bigger picture looks like for covid credentials and apps.

Media narratives on covid-19 concept
Media narratives on covid-19 concept

How to navigate covid news without spiraling

As the pandemic changes so quickly, there’s a better way to think about getting and sharing the information you need.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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