For SciLifeLab, the intended program represents a realization of the strategic objectives regarding data-driven life science described in our Roadmap 2020-2030.
So, what is data-driven? The concept springs from the modern technological advances that continue to bring about mountains of systematic, comprehensive, and deep data. When flipping the paradigm, data drives novel scientific endeavors rather than the other way around. Researchers that can utilize the data available are able to mine it for unexpected, unpredictable relationships and new knowledge. At the same time, computing power, machine learning, AI, and other technologies available to crunch that data, have dramatically improved and present great opportunities for those who successfully link it up to their own work.
The funding from KAW gives priority to four areas, being data-driven research within:
• cell and molecular biology
• evolution and biodiversity
• precision medicine and diagnostics
• epidemiology and infection biology
SciLifeLab and KAW share the ambition to foster the next generation of life scientists, enabling every biologist to better analyze and interpret data patterns and integrate their own data seamlessly with the global life science data streams, as well as creating an extremely strong computational and data science base. Central components of such a venture include education, training, recruiting new talent, sparking collaborations, and engagement in innovation activities.
The planned program presents an opportunity for SciLifeLab to leverage our national research infrastructure and the dynamic research community formed around it. It includes prospective collaborations with and participation by more than a dozen universities and other research organizations across the country (middle illustration to the right).
Through the program, KAW intends to fund e.g. the recruitment of 39 internationally pre-eminent researchers, establish a graduate school for 260 PhD students in academia and industry, and create 210 postdoctoral positions. Together with their previous investments Wallenberg Centres for Molecular Medicine (WCMM), Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP), and Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT), it makes for a unique framework for data-driven life science – and a truly national effort.
On October 21, 2020, SciLifeLab organized a live webinar, highlighting the implications of DDLS for Swedish life science, and how this initiative brings together universities, SciLifeLab, WCMM, and many other key players in the field. The participants were asked to send in their questions either beforehand via a web-based form, or during the live event using the webinar Q&A tool.
As mentioned during the event, SciLifeLab still welcomes comments and questions about the DDLS initiative – and our input form below will remain open for a few weeks.
Moderated by Sandra Falck, SciLifeLab External Relations Officer
The thematic areas of the recruitment packages have been defined by the Wallenberg Foundation – as the funder of the DDLS program. The allocations have been based on research excellence and to cover the four research areas in a balanced manner. However, within the scope of the broad thematic areas there is room to tailor the recruitments to serve the best interest of the respective universities as well as the program as a whole.
The positions will be announced internationally in open competition and applications will be opened during the first two phases of the program, starting in 2021. Naturally gender equality will be considered striving for balance and diversity. Once the steering group for DDLS has been appointed, the process for recruitments and more details regarding the positions and eligibility criteria will be prepared in collaboration with the universities involved and approved by the SciLifeLab board
Yes, there will be separate announcements for the PhD and Postdoc positions that are not included in the packages to the Fellows. These will be announced in later phases, starting in 2024, when the research school has also started.
We will answer this broadly, not from the viewpoint of any given infrastructure platform. SciLifeLab infrastructure facilities, like those funded by the VR, will support the DDLS program Fellows, PhDs and Postdocs in the very same way as they support all other Swedish researchers today. As part of the DDLS program, we will emphasize the importance of properly taking care of the data arising from national infrastructure platforms, such as promoting the FAIR criteria. Also, we hope there will be new opportunities to analyze and mine the data obtained from the infrastructure platforms. This is where all infrastructure platforms will have a role to play. Obviously, the bioinformatics platform will be particularly central, and the DDLS funding includes support to expand and extend the WABI program. Similarly, any data infrastructures, such as the SciLifeLab data center, will need to be engaged one way or another. Finally, mining the life science data space by DDLS investigators may give rise to new service projects to be carried out by the infrastructure platforms. Thus, interactions between infrastructure platforms and DDLS will be many and these reciprocal interactions will be important to the success of DDLS and of the infrastructure platforms.
Answers to these questions are found here https://www.scilifelab.se/data-driven/nominate/
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