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Nordic initiative offers courses in health innovation

Innovation

The School of Health Innovation, founded by Karolinska Institutet, KI, Oslo University, UiO, and Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU, is the first Nordic initiative to offer courses in innovation as an extension of the academic subjects health sciences and life sciences.

In addition, the University of Copenhagen will be joining the initiative shortly and the Novo Nordisk Foundation announces its financial support with over SEK 10 million over the next three years.

Include researchers from all over the three countries

The aim of the school is to build a stronger connection between the university research and the development of new drugs and treatments. Researchers in health sciences receive tools and competence in innovation and entrepreneurship. The support makes it possible, among other things, to expand admissions and be able to include researchers from all over the three countries, and not only from KI in Sweden, as previously was the case.

The course is open to researchers in health sciences at all levels, from PHD student to professor, in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. During the first three years, 200 researchers have participated in one or more of the three courses offered. In addition to the overall objective of raising awareness on innovation, the ambition is for researchers to come up with concrete innovation projects.

“Investing in skills through education and learning is crucial for most businesses – including innovation. We hope that many more will take the opportunity to learn about innovation both for their scientific activities and for their personal development,” says Carl-Johan Sundberg, Head of the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME), Karolinska Institutet.

 

Carl-Johan Sundberg

Carl-Johan Sundberg. Photo: Martin Stenmark

More commercially interesting research into the business community

Several participants have initiated a wide variety of projects ranging from new treatment of migraines, obesity, infertility, to methods for more accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer and breast cancer.

“By providing researchers with knowledge and skills through the School of Health Innovation, we can bring more commercially interesting research into the business community. It is important to be able to do this all over the Nordic region and all of Denmark – from doctoral level to professors,” says Trine Winterø, Deputy Dean of Innovation, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

The Novo Nordic Foundation’s goal with its support is that, by 2023, the participants in the courses should have initiated at least five new commercial projects.

“We would like to contribute to strengthening the entrepreneurial culture among health researchers. In the US and the UK, it is quite common for researchers to be involved in several start-ups. We want to contribute to this culture here at home,” says Mikkel Skovborg, Innovation Manager at the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The School of Health Innovation

The School of Health Innovation was founded in 2017, and is the result of a collaboration between the University of Oslo (UiO), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and the industrial cluster Nansen Neuroscience. The University of Copenhagen will join the collaboration in autumn 2020.

The courses are free of charge for researchers in health sciences and all travel costs for modules in other Nordic countries are covered. The goal is to expand the programme and be able to offer 140 places by in 2023. Participants will be selected based on their involvement in the application or descriptions of specific research projects. It is now possible to register for course 2, which runs in autumn 2020 and course 3, which runs at the end of autumn 2020. Course 1 will be held again in spring 2021.

Photo: iStock