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Five Nordic research projects awarded grants for COVID-19 research

Maria Nilsson NordForsk

The new projects will take advantage of the Nordic countries’ unique health data to advance the knowledge base about COVID-19 and have been awarded roughly NOK 53 million in funding.

NordForsk, an organisation under the Nordic Council of Ministers, is providing funding for the COVID-19 research projects together with a number of national research agencies from across the Nordic region and Estonia: the Swedish Research Council, the Academy of Finland, Innovation Fund Denmark, the Research Council of Norway, the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannís) and the Estonian Research Council.

Read more: Nordic COVID-19 initiatives and the potential of joint life science efforts

NordForsk received 17 eligible proposals. These were assessed by an international expert panel, and now, five projects have been selected to receive approximately NOK 10 million each.

Make use of our region’s unique digital resources

The five new research projects will study COVID-19 in relation to everything from pregnancy progression to smoking to mental health vulnerability. The projects are designed to generate new knowledge – using existing health data – that can help to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers throughout the Nordic countries and Estonia are taking part in this large-scale collaborative initiative, which has been awarded roughly NOK 53 million in funding.

”We are extremely pleased to see that the Nordic and Baltic countries have been able to mobilize funding quickly for a joint COVID-19 call administered by NordForsk. These research activities will make use of our region’s unique digital resources in the form of health data and registries. This will help to generate new insight into how infection by the COVID-19 virus affects our health, and how we can learn from the current pandemic for the future,” says Maria Nilsson, Special Adviser at NordForsk.

“We at NordForsk have our niche within research that benefits the Nordic region. So we seek to support research activity that can be carried out in the Nordic countries but is still valuable for the entire world.”

“Right now a great deal of research on COVID-19 is being initiated, much of it focused on the virus itself and developing vaccines and a treatment. This is research that can be carried out anywhere in the world. We at NordForsk have our niche within research that benefits the Nordic region. So we seek to support research activity that can be carried out in the Nordic countries but is still valuable for the entire world,” says Arne Flåøyen, Director of NordForsk.

 

Funded projects

 

01. Addressing the smoking paradox in the etiology of COVID-19 through population-based studies

Project leader: Maria Rosaria Galanti, Karolinska Institutet
Other participating institutions: Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Norwegian Institute of Public Health

02. SCOPE – Scandinavian studies of COVID-19 in Pregnancy

Project leader: Siri Eldevik Håberg, Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Other participating institutions: Karolinska Institutet, University of Copenhagen, University of Bergen, Statens Serum Institut

03. Data streams and mathematical modelling pipelines to support preparedness and decision making for COVID-19 and future pandemics

Project leader: Tom Britton, Stockholm University
Other participating institutions: Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Agency of Sweden, Norwegian Computing Center, Telenor, University of Oslo, Aalto University, Tampere University

04. Mental morbidity trajectories in COVID-19 across risk populations of five nations

Project leader: Unnur Valdimarsdóttir, University of Iceland
Other participating institutions: Karolinska Institutet, Capital Region of Denmark, Institute for Sustainability Studies, University of Oslo, University of Tartu

05. Nordic Collaborative Health Register Network for Covid-19 Epidemiology

Project leader: Morten Andersen, University of Copenhagen
Other participating institutions: University of Oslo, Uppsala University, University of Strathclyde

Photo of Maria Nilsson: Terje Heiestad/NordForsk