Published: 2021-06-21 10:39 | Updated: 2021-07-02 11:09

KI is establishing a "Health Emergency and Pandemic Science Center"

Face mask with world map
KI is establishing a new centre to prepare for future pandemics. Photo: Getty Images

On 1 July 2021, a new virtual centre – the Health Emergency and Pandemic Science Center – will be established at Karolinska Institutet. The COVID-19 pandemic has indicated that in the event of acute health threats and pandemics, universities and colleges must be able to quickly change their research, education, and other activities to help solve urgent needs.

The new centre will initially be virtual and further hone and improve KI's ability to respond to health threats.

"It will help KI to adopt a clearer and more active social responsibility, help strengthen preparedness for the next pandemic – but it will also enable KI to position itself in the area, thus providing better opportunities for national and international funding and the development of international cooperation," says Ole Petter Ottersen, Vice-Chancellor of Karolinska Institutet.

The idea is to contribute, through multidisciplinary research and education, to continuous improvements in regional, national and global preparedness for acute health crises and pandemics. This also includes being prepared to quickly change KI's operations in the event of an acute health crisis or pandemic.

The competence of expert groups is ensured

It is important to be able to meet the need for current skills and make KI's expertise available to society. The nine resource groups with combined internal experts and KI’s interdisciplinary resource group post-pandemic (KIRP) that have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020, will be phased out once the new centre is in place. However, the competence of the groups will be secured for the establishment of the virtual centre. The aim is to consolidate and further develop existing structures and secure the skills made available through KIRP.

The construction of the new centre will take place in stages. It will be reviewed in 2024 based on its relevance to acute health crises and pandemics. The centre's activities will then be reassessed.