Born team players
Stockholm-Uppsala prides itself on its collaborative approach to solving some of the world’s greatest health problems.
From an early age, Swedish children are taught the strength of teamwork. This has helped promote non-hierarchic research environments where the members of the team are empowered to explore ideas and take initiatives to strive for one common goal and get the job done.
This teamwork approach goes hand in hand with the region’s creative research environments characterized by bold leadership and open collaboration across disciplines. Pioneering scientists work together in teams, appropriately set up to tackle basic research questions or to successfully drive large, complex and challenging projects.
Here are just a few of many examples of the region’s creative research environments where extensive collaboration with industry has generated new ideas and innovations.
- The recently established Stockholm Brain Institute (SBI) is an example of innovative interdisciplinary cooperation. By challenging researchers to leave their comfort zones, it is hoped that new answers to conditions such as ADHD, dementia and schizophrenia will be found in areas as disparate as cognitive neuroscience and biological computation
- Another example is The Center for Biomembrane Research at Stockholm University (CBR). This research environment has a clear multi-disciplinary approach. It is one of the leading centers in Europe working in this area and is taking on major challenges involved in studying this important class of proteins. How important? 50% of all drugs directly target membrane proteins.
- Uppsala Berzelii Technology Centre for Neurodiagnostics focuses on developing new methods for early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases. Several industrial partners belong to this center of excellence.
“Biology is a complex research area and you can rarely predict exactly what will happen with your experiment. But if we have a setup were we work in several small creative teams, within a larger environment, the chances of getting the results you hope for improve”, says Professor Gunnar von Heijne, leading the Center for Biomembrane Research at Stockholm University. ”This is very much how we work at the CBR”.
Universities in the region attract more funding than any other Swedish region. Seventy percent of the Swedish government’s recent strategic research funding in life sciences is allocated to research groups in Stockholm-Uppsala. Close to €1 billion is invested annually in life science-related research. The region is one of the European regions that is engaged in most EU projects. In the 6th framework programme, no less than 189 out of 680 projects (28%) had at least one project member from Stockholm-Uppsala.
Dr. K. Torbjörn Ingemansson, Research DG, Brussels and Jan Maier, Avedas AG, Karlsruhe: Euro|Biotech|News, No 3-4, volume 8, 2009.