Private-public Collaboration in Iceland: Battling COVID-19 with deCODE Genetics

Olaf Sigurjonsson*, Lára Jóhannsdóttir, Svala Gudmundsdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Iceland’s 360,000-person population has been gradually rebuilding its trust in public institutions after the harsh financial crisis of 2008–2010. The country was once again shaken in 2020; this time by the arrival of COVID-19 with its extreme impact on the country, including its number one sector, tourism, which came to a grinding halt in March 2020. Iceland’s swift response to battle the pandemic garnered headlines around the world for its public–private collaboration with deCODE genetics, which used their deep genetics experience to develop and roll-out screening services and extensive analysis of the virus, thereby changing the trajectory of COVID-19 and permitting an earlier re-opening than most European countries. This article shows how the public–private partnership boosted the nation’s trust in institutions and bolstered the country’s resilience in a time of crisis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Political Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)436-447
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 1 May 2022.


  • Iceland
  • Private economy
  • Public sector
  • Resilience
  • Trust

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