The future is now


Accelerating the data-driven life science paradigm shift

Never before has so much data been produced within the life sciences. The cost of reading the genome from humans, species or individual cells has dropped, while the speed has increased, to the point that what initially took ten years, is now done in one day, and similar revolutions are taking place in several research areas. At the same time, computing power, artificial intelligence and other technology necessary to handle data have been greatly improved.

The mountains of data that are now emerging must be handled in a correct and ethical way. Among other things, they must be accessible and reusable, for researchers everywhere. Today, only a small part of all data is handled correctly, which means we miss out on opportunities to make new scientific discoveries, find patterns and investigate relationships. At the same time, many researchers lack the tools and knowledge needed to conduct data-driven research, and we need to strengthen the Swedish research community’s competencies.

This is the basis for SciLifeLab and Wallenberg national program for data-driven life science (DDLS), a 12-year initiative funded with a total of SEK 3.1 billion from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The purpose of the program is to train and recruit the next generation of life scientists, to create a strong computational and data science base, and to strengthen the competencies in today’s research society, thereby enabling every scientist to better analyze data patterns and integrate their data with the global data flows in life sciences. Furthermore, the program aims to strengthen national collaborations between universities, bridge the research communities of life sciences and data sciences, and create partnerships with industry, healthcare and other national and international actors. The program focuses on four strategic areas for data-driven research, all of which are essential for improving the lives of people as well as animals and nature, detecting and treating diseases, protecting biodiversity and creating sustainability.

SciLifeLab, which today conducts research activities at all major Swedish universities, provides a national infrastructure and functions as a hub for life sciences in various disciplines, is the main host of the program.

Participating organizations and collaborations

Apart from SciLifeLab and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, a total of eleven organizations are participating in the program, and will host its recruited scientists:

The program will also be connected to, and synergize with, SciLifeLab’s national research infrastructure and the dynamic research community formed around it. Furthermore, the DDLS program will collaborate with other Wallenberg initiatives, such as the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP), the Wallenberg Centres for Molecular Medicine (WCMM), and the Wallenberg Launch Pad (WALP). The aim is to create a unique framework for data-driven life science, and a truly national effort.

What does it mean that life sciences are becoming more data-driven?

In episode 3 of the SciLifeLab Talk Show, Emma Lundberg (SciLifeLab Group leader and Director of the Cell Profiling unit 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 units at SciLifeLab working with it? We take a trip around SciLifeLab to find out.

Webinar: program launch

In October 2020, SciLifeLab organized a live webinar on how DDLS will affect Swedish life sciences, and bring together universities, SciLifeLab, several Wallenberg initiatives, and many other key players in the field. See the webinar below or on:

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Last updated: 2024-02-20

Content Responsible: Heidi Törmänen Persson(