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Crucial role for SciLifeLab in new multibillion kronor investment

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is investing SEK 3.7 billion in basic research into therapeutics, epidemiology and infection biology, precision medicine and diagnostics, evolution and biodiversity and cell and molecular biology. The programme, which will run until 2032, will be hosted by SciLifeLab.

Photo: Camilla Wernersson
SciLifeLab in Solna, Stockholm. Photo: Camilla Wernersson

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg life science investment consists of two elements: a completely new national investment in data-driven life science of SEK 3.1 billion over 12 years and an increase of SEK 600 million in the already agreed support to national research infrastructure in the form of SciLifeLab and the Wallenberg Centres for Molecular Medicine (WCMM) at the University of Gothenburg, Lund University, Linköping University and Umeå University.

Four priority areas of investment in data-driven research have been identified as:
•    cell and molecular biology;
•    evolution and biodiversity;
•    precision medicine and diagnostics; and
•    epidemiology and infection biology.

Many new research positions

“The aim of the programme is to build up a broad competence around the country to secure the future supply of researchers in the field of data-driven life science, both within academia and industry. The plan is to recruit a total of 39 internationally preeminent researchers, to establish a graduate school for 260 doctoral students and to create 210 postdoctoral fellowships. As part of the investment, a new form of appointment will be introduced in the form of externally employed doctoral student, which will provide 45 recent PhD graduates with the opportunity to combine academic with commercial research,” explains Siv Andersson, head of basic research at the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

The programme, which extends until 2032, will be hosted by SciLifeLab in collaboration with the WCMMs at the University of Gothenburg, Lund University, Linköping University and Umeå University, as well as other Swedish research universities.

“Fantastic recognition for SciLifeLab”

Photo: Eva Dalin
Ylva Engström. Photo: Eva Dalin

“This is fantastic recognition of SciLifeLab as it celebrates its 10th anniversary, that we can now progress to serving as the hub of such a forward-thinking investment. This will naturally affect our development and dynamic, something that I see as positive,” says Professor Ylva Engström of the Wenner-Gren Institute at the Department of Molecular Biosciences and vice dean of the Faculty of Science, as well as integration director of and thereby Stockholm University’s foremost representative at SciLifeLab.

Professor Engström underlines that this is an investment to benefit Sweden as a whole by taking advantage of all of the data produced by SciLifeLab’s infrastructures, something that will further strengthen links between research and technological development at SciLifeLab and advance the position of what is and will become possible.
“Naturally, it is also extremely positive for Stockholm University to be directly involved in this initiative, both in the focus areas of cell and molecular biology and evolution and biodiversity, as well as in the our strong specialisations of bioinformatics, computer science and mathematics. I am convinced that this will provide Stockholm University with an opportunity to contribute to an even greater extent to SciLifeLab with our scientific strengths,” says Ylva Engström.