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Four strong research environments receive SEK 700 million in funding

Four strong research environments in Stockholm, Uppsala, and Umeå will be the first Berzelii Centers in Sweden.

They are to pursue outstanding basic research and have an expressed ambition to develop their collaboration with the business community and the public sector in order ultimately to exploit their research in commercial applications. The funding is given for up to ten years.

From the 22 proposals received, the first four Berzelii Centers have now been selected:

UPSC Center for Forest Biotechnology (UCFB), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Umeå Plant Science Center is a research environment that is a world leader in plant biotechnology, where internationally leading basic research is tied to the development of future products and processes in agriculture and forestry. The new center UCFB is to consolidate and further strengthen the research setting. The center is a collaborative project involving SLU, Umeå University, SweTree Technologies, Sveaskog, Holmen Skog, and Bergvik Skog. Contact: Ove Nilsson, SLU, phone: +46 90-786 84 87.

EXSELENT, Stockholm University

Activities focus on the synthesis of new functional porous materials. In collaborative work involving synthetic chemists, modelers, and structural chemists, the center is to create nanomaterials custom designed for applications in catalysis and in controlled adsorption and desorption. The center is a collaborative project between Stockholm University and the Institute for Surface Chemistry. Industrial partners are a number of companies in the pharmaceutical industry and the foodstuffs, cosmetics, and chemicals industries, including AstraZeneca, Biovitrum, Perstorp, and Nobel Biocare. Contact: Xiaodong Zou, Stockholm University, phone: +46 8-16 23 80.

Uppsala Berzelii Center for Basic and Applied Research in BioNanoTechnology, Uppsala University

The center is to pursue research on complex diseases and biotechnological methods of analysis to attain a better understanding of disorders like Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s, pain, and drug abuse. Sophisticated laboratory equipment will be used to search for combinations of biomarkers that indicate a specific disease. This interdisciplinary collaborative project, combining research in biology, chemistry, pharmacy, materials science, and nanotechnology, will develop entirely new analytic methods for protein-based diagnostics and screening of complex disorders. The center is a collaborative effort involving Uppsala University, Akademiska University Hospital, GE Healthcare, AstraZeneca, Olink Bioscience, Affibody, and Gyros. Contact: Fredrik Nikolajeff, Uppsala University, phone: +46 18-471 30 36.

Stockholm Brain Institute Berzelii Center, Karolinska Institute

By integrating world class expertise in cognition, calculation models, and nerve research, the center is targeting an enhanced understanding of the brain. The focus is primarily on the interaction of activity, sensing, and memory in the brain. A key goal is achieve a better understanding of mechanisms underlying, and ultimately better prevention and treatment of, disorders like ADHD, dementia, and schizophrenia. Ten research teams at KI, the Royal Institute of Technology, and Stockholm University are to collaborate with the Karolinska University Hospital, CogMed, AstraZeneca, IBM, Elektra, Carlson Research, and several smaller companies. Contact: Hans Forssberg, KI, phone: +46 8-517 773 50.

Each Berzelii Center will be successively built up with funding from the Swedish Research council and VINNOVA to a level of a maximum of SEK 5 million per year from the respective financiers. Moreover, there will be co-funding from the university/college, the business community, and the public sector. The total budget for each center will be about SEK 170 million over a ten-year period, a maximum of SEK 100 million of which will be in the form of grants from the Swedish Research Council and VINNOVA.

Annakarin Svenningsson | alfa
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