Published: 17-06-2016 14:04 | Updated: 20-06-2016 13:08

Sida coordinators get inspired about innovation and financing

Ingeborg van der Ploeg, director of doctoral education, Joyce Masalu from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania and Björn Kull, head of the KI Grants Office.

A crash course on Karolinska Institutet’s innovation system and insight into how the Grants Office works with external financing and resource mobilisation were on the agenda when Sida’s chief coordinators for projects in Bolivia, Cambodia and countries in Africa came to KI on a study visit on 17 June.

It is not always so easy to make national research funds stretch. This is not only a Swedish problem but one that very much affects universities in African countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia. If these universities are to quickly build their research capacity, they often need an injection of international funds.

On 17 June, KI hosted a half-day programme for chief coordinators of a number of Sida’s programme countries to demonstrate how KI applies for grants from the USA’s NIH and manages the funds it receives.

“We’re delighted and proud to be able to present KI and discuss our options for closer collaboration,” says Professor Anders Gustafsson, acting dean of research and the host of the event.

Björn Kull, head of the KI Grants Office, spoke about the help it gives to researchers with applications and project administration. Janet Jeppsson, coordinator at the Grants Office explains the reason for the model’s success:

“The Grants Office here at KI has been extremely successful when it comes to supporting researchers, not just in the application phase but also in the all-important aspect of following the rules to be seen as a reliable partner,” she says.

Sida’s programme countries had also requested information on the innovation process. Former vice-chancellor, Professor Hans Wigzell, showed the visitors how the innovation system works and talked about the holding company model, which makes it possible for KI’s scientists to commercialise their ideas. Joyce Masalu from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania was one of the delegates:

“Innovations don’t happen by chance,” she says. “It takes training for individuals to become innovative, that and access to the proper tools.”

Ingeborg van der Ploeg, director of doctoral education and coordinator for one of KI’s current Tanzania programmes:

“The better these countries get at attracting and managing research funding, the more attractive they become to us as partners,” she says.

Text: Maja Lundbäck

Photo: Stefan Zimmerman