Published: 04-04-2012 00:00 | Updated: 18-02-2014 14:36

Historic investment in SciLifeLab welcomed

The presidents of the four Swedish universities behind the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) welcomes the huge new investments in life science research announced today.

At a press conference today, the Swedish Minister for Education, Jan Björklund announced that in 2013, SciLifeLab will become a national research institute for major research in molecular biosciences and bioinformatics. According to the government's plan, SciLifeLab will grow to employ about 1000 scientists and have a turnover of about 1 billion SEK within a few years. In addition to the funding from the government, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation will invest 220 million SEK on technology laboratories in SciLifeLab and Astra Zeneca intends to invest 5-10 million USD annually for five years in joint research projects within SciLifeLab.

"This is a great investment in the research at SciLifeLab that the government, AstraZeneca and the Wallenberg foundation have entrusted us with. We will take on this responsibility and work with both a national and international perspective," said Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, president of Karolinska Institutet.

"Once fully developed, Sweden SciLifeLab will operate as a national resource that accelerates Swedish biomedical research to world class status. This investment will enable us to attract leading scientists and innovative research to come to Sweden," said Eva Åkesson, president of Uppsala University.

"Together with the other universities, we can now build a research environment ranking among the best in the world. The region will thereby become attractive to the very best researchers and for the establishment of new companies," said Peter Gudmundson, president of the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH.

"Stockholm University's internationally acclaimed research in molecular bioscience and bioinformatics will continue to be central to SciLifeLab and we welcome that the cooperation is now granted the status of a national research institute," said Kåre Bremer, president of Stockholm University.

SciLifeLab is a joint venture between four universities; Karolinska Institutet, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University. The medical research focuses on investigating the molecular basis of complex human diseases, and seeks to find biomarkers that can help diagnose diseases and monitor their progress. If it can be explained what actually happens in a person's cells when they are afflicted by cancer, diabetes or any other of our common diseases, it should be possible to quickly come up with ideas for how to treat them. Outcome results will improve and unnecessary costs can be avoided. This research focus should also make SciLifeLab an attractive partner for the pharmaceutical industry both in Sweden and globally.

For the environmental research program, SciLifeLab's advanced technology platforms will be utilised to create nationally and internationally prominent environmental research programmes. SciLifeLab has facilities both in Stockholm and in Uppsala.

The four universities that currently operate SciLifeLab will continue to be key stakeholders in the new National Research Institute Sweden Science for Life Laboratory.