Since the beginning of the 20th century Sweden has had a long and distinguished track record in the field of life science research. However, it has lost some of its momentum with the emergence of the global economy.
„We’re looking to boost core skills so that Sweden can once again lead the world in this field,“ says Peter Wallenberg Jr, Vice Chairman of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. „The concept pioneered by the University of Gothenburg where young researchers have dealings with both industry and the clinical side of things is an excellent example and something that will make Sweden more competitive in the life sciences.“
The Foundation has therefore decided to put SEK 270 million towards a new centre for molecular medicine in Gothenburg to offer tenure track positions for young researchers. The grant is part of a wider drive to strengthen the life sciences in Sweden. Previously the Swedish government, and four universities in the Mälardalen region, set up the Science for Life Laboratory in Stockholm/Uppsala to serve as a national resource for the life sciences in Sweden. The new centre in Gothenburg will complement and bolster this nationwide initiative.
„The Foundation funds only world-class research, and this grant goes to show that the University of Gothenburg is home to such research,“ says Pam Fredman, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg. „We now have the opportunity to take things to the next level by recruiting outstanding young international researchers. This is excellent news.“
The research will initially focus on cancer, obesity, diabetes, respiratory diseases and inflammatory diseases. In a bid to ensure that the research quickly translates into new treatments and benefits patients, Region Västra Götaland will be contributing a further SEK 150 million, while AstraZeneca will allocate time and resources of at least SEK 40 million for the next four years, with the option of an extension. The University of Gothenburg will also be contributing SEK 160 million.
„Academic collaboration is a key part of our strategy to be world leaders in research and to develop new drugs that change lives,“ says Jan-Olof Jacke, President of AstraZeneca Sweden. „This initiative from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation will strengthen ties between industry, academia and health care in a way that benefits all three and makes Sweden and the Nordic countries an even more attractive life science cluster.“
Region Västra Götaland, which is responsible for regional development and health care in the region, also welcomes the initiative:
„The new centre for molecular medicine will create an attractive environment in Västra Götaland for international life science researchers and companies,“ says Ann-Sofi Lodin, CEO of Region Västra Götaland. „Our involvement means that health-related problems can be identified and that research results will benefit health care and patients more quickly.“
Spanning ten years, the investment will start in 2016. The University of Gothenburg aims to create a leading international research centre that far outlasts the period of funding.
For more information, please contact:
Carina Dahlberg, Science Communicator, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, +46 (0)702 736 850, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann-Charlotte Schützer, Public Relations and Communications Consultant, University of Gothenburg, +46 (0)766 186 390, email@example.com
Jacob Lund, Director of External Communications, AstraZeneca Sweden, +46 (0)725 602 157, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susanne Hillberger, Communication Strategist, Region Västra Götaland, +46 (0)702 906 508, email@example.com