Published: 06-11-2023 13:56 | Updated: 05-04-2024 12:45

Policy lab sparked discussions on research and politics

A room with people sitting around small tables looking up front at a screen with a powerpoint presentation on
The first policy lab attracted many interested participants Photo: Åsa Svensson

The venue in Biomedicum was quickly filled with interested KI employees when the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health and the Centre for Health Crises welcomed them to the first policy lab on 26 October. The aim was to discuss and learn more together about how research can influence politics and society. The focus this time was on how the national Swedish political system is structured when it comes to health care issues and what ways there are to reach in with input from universities.

A woman in dark trousers and a light top standing in front of a screen with a powerpoint presentation
Maja Fjaestad at the policy lab on October 26 Photo: Åsa Svensson

The Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health and the Centre for Health Crises both have a stated ambition to drive policy in their respective subject areas. They have noticed a desire from many others at KI to also reach out with the results of research and teaching to contribute to improvement in society and provide support for decision-making. In addition, there is a lot of expertise and experience of policy work among KI's employees, both from the work they do at KI now, but also from previous roles and engagements. All in all, this gave rise to the idea of organising a policy lab; to discuss, exchange experiences and thereby learn more about what is often called the third task of universities.   

Focus on the structure of Swedish national governance and decisions  

This time the focus was on how the Swedish political system is structured, especially when it comes to health care policy, but also on the role of universities as central government authorities. Two presentations from KI affiliates with extensive experience of working in policy and politics paved the way for conversations and discussions. First up was Maja Fjaestad, who is associated with research at Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME) and an expert coordinator in public policy and preparedness at the Centre for Health Crises. Maja has extensive experience in politics, most recently as State Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then Nina Viberg, researcher at the Department of Global Public Health and project coordinator at the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health, presented. Nina has previously worked at b la, the Swedish Agency for Health and Care Services Analysis, and as an administrator for issues regarding antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and coordinator within the Swedish Government Offices for issues related to vaccines against COVID-19.  

A woman in a dark dress standing in front of a screen showing a powerpoint presentation
Nina Viberg presenting at the policy lab October 26 2023 Photo: Åsa Svensson

A lot of engagement and plans for future policy labs  

The interest from KI's employees to gather and discuss policy and advocacy work was so great that a change of venue was required to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate, and afterwards many were already looking forward to the next event. The idea is that the policy lab on 26 October will be the first in a series and that each event will have a specific focus. Suggestions for themes already received by the organisers include advocacy work at regional level, policy work globally and towards the EU, as well as inviting various current investigations and using the policy lab as a forum to discuss policy aspects of current events.  

 Upcoming policy labs will be announced in the calendar on and on the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health and the Centre for Health Crises websites. If you want to receive information directly to your mailbox, please contact and leave your name and email address.