The practice of life science is continuously becoming more data-dependent. The amount and complexity of data is growing exponentially, and more scientific discoveries are enabled when data is openly available to researchers across the world. This is the basis for the SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program on Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS), which sets out on its mission to recruit and train the next generation of life scientists, later this year.
On October 20, 2020, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) announced a SEK 3.1 billion 12-year funding initiative to support data-driven life science, DDLS, in Sweden – naming SciLifeLab the host.
For SciLifeLab, the intended program represents a realization of the strategic objectives regarding data-driven life science described in our Roadmap 2020-2030.
The program will focus on four strategic research area, 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 scientist 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.
This 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. It will also form collaborations with other Wallenberg initiatives, such as the Wallenberg Centres for Molecular Medicine (WCMM), Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP), and Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT). The idea is to create a unique framework for data-driven life science – and a truly national effort.
Over the years, the program aims to:
The DDLS Fellows will be recruited to the participating organizations, enabling them to utilize the strong local research environments. At the same time, they will be connected to the national DDLS program, cultivating a strong, interdisciplinary community of researchers working with the rapidly expanding resources and needs of open data in life sciences.
Each recruitment package has a budget of 17 MSEK to cover salary for 5 years as DDLS Fellow, two PhD positions and two postdoc positions, as well as running costs. The positions are tenure-track, and the respective hosting universities/organizations take long-term responsibility of tenured group leaders.
The DDLS Fellows will be recruited to the four strategic research areas of the program, in two rounds – 2021 and 2024. How many fellows recruited to each research area and to which participating organization, is displayed below.
The first round of recruitments for DDLS Fellows, will open in June, 2021. The positions will be advertised internationally through SciLifeLab’s and the participating organizations’ channels, as well as through the scientific journal Science.
A total of 20 Fellows will be recruited in the 2021 round, distributed across the program’s four strategic research areas and 11 participating organizations as presented in the list below.
In 2024, a total of 19 fellows will be recruited. They will be distributed across the program’s four strategic research areas and 11 participating organizations, as presented in the list below.
The concept of data-driven 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.
In episode 3 of the SciLifeLab Talk Show, Emma Lundberg (SciLifeLab Group leader and Director of the Cell Profiling facility at SciLifeLab), and Sebastian DiLorenzo (bioinformatician and community coordinator at NBIS), share their reflections. We look closer at the data lifecycle, data handling and data sharing in all the steps of the process, and we visit SciLifeLab Group leader Ola Spjuth to hear about his research. We sit down with Olli Kallioniemi (Director of SciLifeLab), to talk about what DDLS means for SciLifeLab, and with Annika Stensson Trigell (board member, KTH Royal Institute of Technology) and Lotta Ljungqvist (board member and CEO of Testa Center, Cytiva) to talk about what DDLS means for Sweden. What’s the concept of open science, and how are researchers and facilities at SciLifeLab working with it? We take a trip around SciLifeLab to find out.
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.
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