Nine Swedish universities and MAX IV launch unique education programme to tackle societal challenges

A new intersectoral and interdisciplinary project between nine Swedish Universities and MAX IV – a Ph.D. programme called PRISMAS – launches in January 2023. The program is dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Horizon Europe's essential research and innovation areas. The project will create a connected network of next-generation X-ray experts, enabling various stakeholders to take full advantage of world-leading synchrotron facilities such as MAX IV, while tackling current societal challenges in the same breath.

The PRISMAS graduate school will bring together students from diverse scientific backgrounds that will use and develop synchrotron methods in their research, while acquiring the skills to tackle some of the most critical sustainability development goals and future societal challenges in their projects, led by selected Principal Investigators from around Sweden. It aims to develop primary findings to applicable solutions and innovations specifically dedicated to healthy people, healthy planet, clean energy, sustainable technologies, cultural and geological heritage, and accelerator science areas.

The program includes hands-on training in cutting-edge synchrotron skills that is applicable in various research areas at MAX IV in Lund, Sweden, combining practical experience with courses covering all aspects of synchrotron radiation to produce researchers who are experts in these methods and in their fields.  

The initiative is supported by nine Swedish universities and a network of 43 partners from academia, industry (including market-leading industrial companies), and institutes. The project is co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Co-funding of regional, national, and international programmes (COFUND). 

Marjolein Thunnissen, cred MAX IV - Science Director MAX IV, PRISMAS Programme Director

"PRISMAS is the first project of its kind at this scale. It creates a network of Swedish universities towards MAX IV to utilize the facility to its ultimate potential. Since the program is dedicated to UN Sustainable Development Goals and Horizon Europe's key research and innovation areas, we will see progress in addressing health, food, and energy issues. There is research on batteries and energy, development of new medicines, and much more. It will also help method and instrument development which the community needs", explained Marjolein Thunnissen, MAX IV Science Director, PRISMAS Program Director.  

"PRISMAS has a unique collaborative and multicomponent environment and connects fundamental science with real applications related to the industry. Long-term collaborative networks between Stockholm University, MAX IV, RISE, and Alfa Laval AB will be established from the program since we will evaluate the fundamental aspects related to biobased water purification technologies regarding water recycling and clean water bodies," says Aji Mathew, Professor of the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University, speaking about her research project in PRISMAS. 

Career-oriented academic curriculum

Summer and winter schools and annual meetings are part of the program. The partner universities will coordinate to offer a large selection of relevant courses that students can use to meet the requirements for the PhD.  

"PRISMAS will create a vibrant and stimulating interdisciplinary environment for the students. The experience they gain from interaction and collaboration with such a diverse group of researchers will be extremely valuable when they finish the program and continue with their careers," explained Lindsay Merte, PRISMAS Director of Studies, Associate Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Applied Mathematics, Malmö University.  

Read more: 

MAX IV website:
EU fact sheet: 

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