Published: 27-11-2018 14:59 | Updated: 14-05-2024 14:09

A new KI Engagement Grant awarded to eight projects

Eight projects at Karolinska Institutet have been awarded the recently established KI Engagement Grants, which aim to help KI researchers get started along a path to societal impact. These grants are part of an internal ‘impact and outreach’ effort approved by KI President Ole Petter Ottersen.

Research is increasingly being judged — by funding agencies and governments alike — not only on its scientific merit but also on its potential to have a tangible impact on society. And while it’s a given that academic research benefits society by creating new knowledge, using this new knowledge to directly benefit society at large, or co-creating new knowledge in a way that is most relevant to societal needs, requires that researchers actively engage with actors outside of academia.

To promote such engagement activities, Grants Office set up the KI Engagement Grant, which is financed through government funds distributed to Swedish universities to promote the impact of research and education. The eight winners of the KI Engagement Grants 2018 were selected during the summer 2018 and have received up to SEK 200 000 for a period of up to one year (total budget for the call was SEK 1.2 million). A follow-up call within the framework of promoting KI’s impact will be announced next year.

More about the KI Engagement Grant

Awarded researchers and their projects:

Karin Vikström, Pernilla Lagergren and Kalle Mälberg, photo: MMK/KI.Researcher: Pernilla Lagergren, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery
Project: An oesophageal cancer day for stakeholders
Summary: The KI Engagement Grant will be used to arrange a day with seminars, presentations and discussions for all patients who have been treated for oesophageal cancer, their relatives and clinical personnel working with these patients, as well as researchers in the field. This Oesophageal Cancer Day will be organised in Stockholm in spring 2019. Together with a patient collaborative group, the researchers will create an agenda with the most important subjects, to promote a better exchange of information and increase contact, networking and collaboration between the stakeholders.


Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz, photo: Johanna Wulff.Researcher: Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics

Project: A structured approach to managing use of evidence-based methods in practice: co-creating a toolkit

Summary: There is a substantial gap between what is known from research and what is done in practice. It is often challenging for healthcare professionals to translate research evidence such that it is useful in their context. To support professionals in this process, the researchers behind this project have written a book titled Användbar evidens (Useful evidence). Together with health- and social-care professionals, they will now create a hands-on, practical toolkit to facilitate a more structured decision process for the use of evidence-based interventions in health and social care. In this way, the material produced will contribute to making research more accessible and applicable.


Zarina Nahar Kabir, photo Annika Karlsson/NVS.Researcher: Zarina Nahar Kabir, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society

Project: Engaging family caregivers of persons with dementia and nurses in the development of a stress alleviating mobile application

Summary: The study aims to assess feasibility of a mobile application — Stress Alleviating Mobile Application for Caregivers (SAMAC) — by collecting the views of dementia nurses and of caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) on its use to alleviate caregivers’ stress and depressive symptoms. Dementia nurses and family caregivers of PWD will be engaged in developing the mobile application in terms of its content and features, and any other expectations of how it should function.


Christoph Nowak, photo: private.Researcher: Christoph Nowak, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society

Project: Engaging young people in diabetes epidemiology through popular social media influencers

Summary: Research on the epidemiology of common cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, such as heart attack or diabetes, aims to identify risk factors for the disease as well as ways to prevent it. Getting young people to actively engage in these issues is crucial for many reasons; for example, for raising awareness of the risk factors and securing public support for future research. Whereas traditional media often does not engage young people, social-media profiles reach vast audiences among under-30-year-olds in Sweden. In this project, KI researcher Christoph Nowak aims to produce several videos together with at least one established social-media profile — a so-called influencer — to illustrate in an easy-to-understand way what his own research is all about, why it matters for young people, and how one can become a scientist. He will also engage with the audience through chat and website comments.


Max Kleijberg, photo: Anna Forsberg.Researcher: Max Kleijberg, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics

Project: Studio DöBra toolbox

Summary: DöBra Studio is an initiative with the goal of creating intergenerational meeting places and stimulating conversations between children and elderly people about dying, death, and loss. Various forms of art are used as tools to support these conversations. The initiative was developed as part of the DöBra research program in collaboration with community-based stakeholders, such as artistic organizations, activity centers for elderly people, and organizations for children. With support from the KI Engagement Grant, the stakeholders involved in DöBra Studio will work together to develop “DöBra Studio Toolbox” — a toolbox enabling others to develop similar initiatives as well as allowing stakeholders to disseminate the knowledge developed through this collaboration.


Lena Wettergren, photo: Hedda  Wettergren. Researcher: Lena Wettergren, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health

Project: Building partnership with stakeholders in the project Fex-Can; fertility and sexuality following cancer

Summary: The Fex-Can research program has a co-creative track including an established long-term collaboration with a group of patient research partners. Researchers and patients have met regularly during the last four years to discuss the development of a web-based psycho-educational intervention that now is being tested in a randomized controlled trial. The KI Engagement Grant will fund an evaluation of this ongoing collaboration, through interviews with researchers and patient research partners, aiming to identify how to best sustain long-term engagement. The project group will also develop ways to engage a new group of stakeholders in a long-term collaboration: nurses and physicians working in cancer care.


Anders Sönnerborg, photo: Christina Sandström/Labmed.Researcher: Anders Sönnerborg, Department of Medicine, Huddinge

Project: Elements of an integrated and patient-centred approach to long-term care of people living with HIV

Summary: Sweden is the first country in the world to reach the UNAIDS/WHO goal of HIV care, the so-called 90-90-90 goal. The KI Engagement Grant will support the dissemination of Sweden’s best practices in HIV care, with the aim of informing and inspiring the development and adoption of analogous approaches in the European arena. Specifically, a working group — comprising physicians and nurses with longstanding experience of HIV clinical care, academic HIV researchers, as well as representatives from the patient organisation HIV Sweden — will compile a report that analyses how these diverse actors have jointly achieved success in HIV care and how they will extend their research to address new challenges. The resulting report will be presented for the EU parliament at a special session on the 27th of November 2018.


Agneta Richter Dahlfors and  Ferdinand Choong, photo: Bildmakarna.Researchers: Agneta Richter Dahlfors and Ferdinand Choong, Department of Neuroscience

Project: Art and gastronomy brings science to society

Summary: Through the medium of art and gastronomy, Agneta Richter-Dahlfors and Ferdinand Choong at the Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center, Department of Neuroscience aim to establish a platform for two-way exchange between scientists and the public. They have developed a novel imaging technique (optotracing) that reveals the carbohydrates in plant tissues in striking, colourful images. The goal of this engagement project is ultimately to showcase this research by co-creating a public “Molecular Gastronomy Art Exhibition”, in which researchers present optotracing images of the carbohydrates in edible plants while well-known chefs give talks about ‘The New Conscious Kitchen’, a trending concept of sustainable, plant-based eating. The KI Engagement Grant will allow the researchers to prepare the ground: they will produce an image portfolio and initiate workshops with members of select communications channels to discuss image selection and refinement, as well as the next steps for making the exhibition a reality.