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Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID) Coordinating Center

NIH-supported network delivers pandemic research response in regions around the globe most vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks


To research emerging diseases and improve the response to future pandemics.


In partnership with Duke University's Human Vaccine Institute, we lead the CREID Coordinating Center, enhancing the ability of CREID’s Research Centers to focus on in-country research before, during, and after disease outbreaks.


The CREID Coordinating Center launched in May 2020 and quickly began supporting the next generation of infectious disease researchers worldwide. The center awards grants to early-career investigators, hosts educational workshops, and fosters a strong network among the scientists whose work is critical to understanding and combating pandemic threats.

Infectious diseases have been detected with increased frequency in recent years, threatening the health of people around the world. Documented gaps in infrastructure have limited the capacity to respond—and do so quickly—to disease outbreaks. To combat this global health burden, in 2020 the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) established the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID) Network to improve knowledge of emerging diseases, expand and strengthen partnerships, and develop strategies to provide effective and at-the-ready research responses for future pandemics.

The network, which comprises one central Coordinating Center and 10 global Research Centers, has a presence in more than 30 countries. It builds from lessons learned from prior disease outbreaks, including Ebola, Zika, and West Nile Virus. The collaborative network offers an important flexible mechanism where resources can be rapidly deployed to initiate research activities that inform and support effective outbreak response.

The CREID Coordinating Center

The CREID Coordinating Center was established in May 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining momentum globally. The vision for the Coordinating Center is to increase government and local capacity for a robust, collaborative, and global infectious disease research response, which is critical to reduce transmission and prevent mortality.

A partnership between RTI International and Duke University’s Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI)—the Coordinating Center serves as the operational hub for the CREID Network, offering expertise in support of administration and management of scientific programs and research findings. Its leadership and synchronization enhances the ability of CREID’s Research Centers to focus on in-country research before, during, and after disease outbreaks.

Training the Next Generation of Infectious Disease Investigators

The CREID Coordinating Center implements an annual Pilot Research Program to support, train, and mentor the next generation of infectious disease researchers. The program fuels the development pipeline for up-and-coming researchers while increasing global capacity to address the pressing need for rapid and effective emerging and re-emerging pathogen research in at-risk locations around the world.

Since 2020, the Coordinating Center has made 12 awards to 16 early-career investigators based in 10 countries across Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, who are conducting research on SARS-CoV-2, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, hantavirus, pathogen spillover and surveillance, and zoonotic arboviruses. Each awardee partners with one of the 10 CREID Research Centers for mentorship, guidance, and long-term collaboration.

Managing a Robust Inventory of Network Capabilities

The Coordinating Center has created an inventory to describe the Network’s portfolio of research, experience, and resources. Having this database available boosts collaboration across the Network and improves Network members’ ability to rapidly pivot research efforts and resources to support future outbreaks.

A scalable data management structure has been established using a secure, cloud-based storage system. There have been five portal-based report tools developed for the inventory to date, including dashboards for:

  • a CREID member directory documenting emerging infectious disease and bioinformatics expertise
  • active research studies
  • network-supported publications
  • laboratory assay protocols
  • research site capabilities and outbreak response capacities

These resources have proven invaluable to rapidly synthesize information for outbreak research response, including when NIAID tasked CREID with supporting research efforts in 2022 during the Ebola outbreak in Uganda and the mpox virus outbreak.

Harnessing Network Collaboration and Innovation

In September 2022, the Coordinating Center team hosted the first in-person meeting of the global network membership since its founding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Held in Towson, Maryland, the meeting included 290 individuals from 34 countries, with representatives from the 10 global Research Centers, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other U.S. government agencies, and external stakeholders and collaborators.

In addition to research center progress reports and abstract-driven oral presentations grouped by scientific discipline and global region, the 3-day meeting included focused sessions on how to create technical partnerships in advance of outbreaks; access and use the Network inventories; efficiently share samples, materials, data and laboratory protocols; promote mentor-mentee relationships and enhance cultural competency across countries. These conversations led to important discussions on how the CREID Network can be leveraged to open the field to nontraditional investigators—particularly those from low- and middle-income countries.

Along with internal Network partnerships, the CREID Coordinating Center also collaborates with entities such as The Global Health Network (TGHN) and is cohosting a workshop on virtual biorepositories for pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential. Such events solicit input from external stakeholders on tools that can leverage relevant samples while promoting local, site-level ownership and research collaboration.

Setting the Foundation to Combat Future Pandemics

The CREID Coordinating Center is a prime example of how RTI supports translational research and science that requires complex research networks. Multicenter research programs are the most efficient way to investigate various interventions or conditions. With the global health concern around emerging infectious diseases, the successful implementation and management of the Coordinating Center allows network researchers to complete studies, identify results, train, and mentor early-career investigators, and publish findings more quickly. Combined with the added flexibility needed to respond to infectious disease outbreaks as they occur, the CREID Coordinating Center provides infrastructure critical to successful performance of essential research during disease outbreaks.


CREID’s objective is to focus resources on building a sustainable, scalable, and adaptable outbreak research response infrastructure to rapidly address global health challenges caused by infectious diseases. It does so by coordinating multidisciplinary pathogen surveillance; study of pathogen transmission, progression, and host response; and development of innovative approaches for improved early detection of emerging pathogens worldwide. The CREID Network allows experts from NIAID to pivot quickly in support of critical research efforts to better understand outbreak evolution and develop critical therapeutics and vaccines for emerging and re-emerging pandemic threats. Launched in 2020, CREID’s website promotes Network activities, shares research and publications from Network members, and highlights the priority pathogens of the Network.

COVID-19 Research and Response

RTI offers extensive experience addressing public health threats. We work across sectors to help communities respond to the COVID-19 crisis and its secondary effects.

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