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SEK 3.1 billion to data-driven life science in Sweden

data driven life science

Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) donates SEK 3.1 billion to a new research initiative focusing on data-driven life science (DDLS).

The most recent life science initiative from KAW consists of two parts, where one part is a completely new national investment in computer-driven life science with SEK 3.1 billion over twelve years.

The second part is an extension with SEK 600 million, of current support to the national research infrastructure SciLifeLab and to WCMM, Wallenberg Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Gothenburg, Lund, Linköping and Umeå.

“The program builds on the Foundation’s previous life science initiatives and the interface now being created with the expertise established in mathematics, data and AI thanks to the Foundation’s support for autonomous systems, software and AI, as well as quantum technology via the WASP and WACQT programs,” says Wallenberg Jr.

Better preparedness against future pandemics

“The rapid technical developments made in life science, combined with innovations in data-processing and AI, will play an increasingly important role in research and development, and will impact virtually all fields in medicine and natural sciences. This is particularly important to ensure a better preparedness against future pandemics, where collection and analysis of large quantities of biological and medical data are indispensable in monitoring the spread of disease, and to give politicians and public agencies advice based on scientific knowledge,” says Siv Andersson, Head of Basic Research at Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

New research positions

The initiative gives priority to four areas – data-driven research in cell and molecular biological, evolution and biodiversity, precision medicine and diagnostics and epidemiology and infection biology.

“The aim of the program is to build broad expertise throughout the country to ensure we meet the future need for researchers in data-driven life science, both in the academic world and in industry. The overall plan is to recruit 39 internationally pre-eminent researchers, establish a graduate school for 260 PhD students in academia and industry, and create 210 postdoctoral positions. As part of the initiative a new type of position will be introduced: “industry-sponsored postdoc”, which will give 45 researchers who have recently received their PhD the opportunity to combine research in academia and industry,” Andersson adds.

The host for the program, which runs until 2032, is SciLifeLab in collaboration with the Wallenberg Centers for Molecular Medicine at the Universities of Gothenburg, Lund, Linköping and Umeå, along with the Swedish research universities.

Photo: iStock