Published: 10-09-2014 11:43 | Updated: 01-12-2015 13:24

Celebrating 20 years of collaboration between KI and Mayo Clinic

For two entire decades, Karolinska Institutet and the American Mayo Clinic have been involved in an intense collaboration. The parties' annual conference has attracted a record number of participants this year, and the evening will see the anniversary celebrated with a grand gala dinner.

Anders Hamsten. Photo: Gunnar Ask.“Throughout all these years, Mayo Clinic has been an example and model for KI in terms of collaboration between education, healthcare and research. As we celebrate 20 years together, making this our most extensive international collaboration, I feel both happy and proud of what we have accomplished,” says Professor Anders Hamsten, Vice-Chancellor of Karolinska Institutet.

Mayo Clinic is an American organisation within medicine and health, which on an annual basis provides care to approximately one million patients. It includes both the university with its numerous medical specialties, as well as hospitals, laboratories and primary, secondary and tertiary care institutions around the United States. In the past five years, Mayo Clinic has been voted the country's top healthcare organisation.

“Their success factor is definitely that they have managed to integrate education, research and healthcare in a way that's never been done before. In this respect, we at KI have a lot to learn,” says Professor Martin Schalling, coordinator for the Mayo Clinic/KI partnership.Martin Schalling

The Mayo Clinic-KI partnership began as a purely research-related endeavour in order to exchange experiences, primarily within the areas of metabolism, diabetes and nutrition. The annual conferences were rewarding, but 2011 saw a raising of the ambitions surrounding both these and the collaboration itself.

A new vision was formulated where innovation, administration, research and education would be woven together. The partnership was expanded to include psychiatry, neurodegeneration, regenerative medicine, cancer and infectious diseases. Furthermore, last year's conference benefitted from the addition of themes such as education, innovation, library service and administration. Today, there are about 12 different areas discussed during the conference, and the collaboration involves more than 300 researchers, teachers, administrators and students this year.

“Our partnership goes beyond the ordinary, which means that the focus of our work is both broad and deep. It is not just about research anymore, but also about visions regarding procedures and structures that influence and develop the way we work, both at Mayo Clinic and at Karolinska Institutet,” says Martin Schalling, and goes on to say that the parties' innovation systems have now begun to intertwine.

Another new aspect is that representatives from the Karolinska University Hospital are participating in this year's conference, which attracted over 300 people. In addition, John H. Noseworthy, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, is taking part in the collaboration for the first time, along with KI’s Vice-Chancellor Anders Hamsten.

“It's great to have representation from the Karolinska University Hospital involved this year. Obviously, this year's conference feels special as we are celebrating the 20th anniversary,” said Martin Schalling.

Text: Pia Hellsing