Winners of vaccine logistics competition

Homepage Current Winners of vaccine logistics competition

The great effort in Europe and elsewhere to vaccinate the population against the coronavirus has begun, while the virus is still far from being under control and the measures are still severely limiting our lives. In December 2020, the Top Sectors Logistics, LSH, ICT and Creative Industry issued a challenge to the knowledge community to consider how the goal of vaccinating 95% of the Dutch population could be realized. The challenge was not intended to come up with solutions to the current pandemic. Rather, the researchers were asked to look ahead, and come up with creative ideas.

The assignment was: design an integral logistical and creative solution for long-term planning for a pandemic vaccination program that can quickly, carefully, responsibly and accurately vaccinate potentially 95% of the population in the Netherlands. In addition to a robust logistical model, information provision and appreciation, acceptance and accuracy of the operation are of great importance, socially and economically.

Meanwhile, the submissions are in. Chaired by TKI Logistics scientific director Albert Veenstra, the TKI Directors Bart Ahsmann, Fred Boekhorst and Nico van Meeteren of ClickNL, Dutch Digital Delta and Health Holland respectively, together with Steef van de Velde, former dean and professor at the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam), and Peter Bertens, deputy director of the Association of Innovative Medicines, assessed the various submissions. These were judged on five criteria:

  1. Quality of the logistics concept
  2. Social potential
  3. Administrative organisation
  4. Quantitative substantiation
  5. Creativity and originality

A large-scale vaccination campaign cannot be viewed from one perspective; what works logistically is not necessarily the most optimal solution from the citizen's perspective. If the elderly have to travel for a long time and then wait in the cold for a shot, it will not promote willingness and vaccination coverage. On the other hand, it is clear that without a sound logistical operation, the required efficiency and speed of vaccination will not be achieved.

The jury was impressed by the work of the various submitters from the different universities and colleges. Teachers have engaged groups of students on this timely topic as part of their training. Researchers have engaged companies to bridge theory and practice. The jury appreciates the great commitment of all those involved, which shows that there is extensive expertise available in the Netherlands for this type of issue.

The top sectors involved provided and awarded a sum of €10,000 for the first prize, and twice €5,000 for two-second prizes:

The first prize was awarded to the submission 'A fast and responsive supply chain' by student teams supervised by Lector Dennis Moeke of HAN University of Applied Sciences and Prof. Rob van der Mei of the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The jury was impressed by the integrality of the submission, with great attention to both the registration process from the user's perspective and the logistical process. The submission was accompanied by a working, algorithm-based universal simulation tool that provides insight into choices and consequences in a clear dashboard that can support both policymakers and the public in decision-making and social acceptance. This tool forms a reusable model for different pandemics and strategies.

A second prize was awarded to the submission from a student team from Erasmus University Rotterdam supervised by Dr Niels Agatz. The submission involves a thorough analysis of sub-aspects of the logistic model, which also considered international solutions to identify best practices. This provides concrete guidance for improvement of the current vaccination operation as well as performance indicators for future vaccination programs.

A second prize was also awarded to Henri Boersma's submission from Maastricht University Medical Centre. The proposal involves using the distribution and infrastructure of supermarkets, bringing vaccination close to people. According to the jury, this submission underlines the added value of thinking outside the box in terms of policy responsibilities but using existing expertise and distribution structures. With innovative means of administration and training and a slightly broader implementation in collaboration with, for example, pharmacists and neighbourhood initiatives, this concept could certainly be feasible in the future. The jury appreciates the out-of-the-box thinking to offer a truly innovative perspective, where the citizen is central.

The TKI's congratulate the winners of this competition!

The jury also appreciated the other entries and believes that all submissions offered perspectives and partial solutions that are valuable. The combination of creative thinking, sound analysis, and the enthusiasm and commitment of students has resulted in a rich collection of solution approaches that, especially when combined, can make a very meaningful contribution to issues of future pandemics. The jury has therefore asked the TKI Dinalog to make a synthesis of all the contributions and to use them as inspiration for the "Delta Plan Pandemics" that is currently being developed.

Ook interessant