On January 17, the Government presented its research and innovation bill, introducing the research politics for 2021-2024; which includes targeted investments in healthcare and life sciences. Substantial new funding is provided to SciLifeLab, so that the center can build preparedness for future pandemics, continue building technology capabilities and provide expertise to researchers nationwide.
In a press conference on December 16, Matilda Ernkrans, Minister for Higher Education and Research, emphasized how the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for research to quickly switch focus, and reorient its activities to address society challenges during different kinds of crises.
In order for SciLifeLab to be able to meet the needs regarding possible future pandemics, the government is providing a total of SEK 130 million over a four-year period, starting in 2021 with SEK 40 million. This funding is intended to help SciLifeLab to offer increased lab capacity during future pandemics.
“SciLifeLab is a national center for molecular life sciences, focusing on health and environmental research, and is a world-leading laboratory. SciLifeLab is a strong research environment with education and collaborations and there are good opportunities to help, with both current and future pandemics and to conduct research to prevent future crises”, said Matilda Ernkrans, during the press conference.
“SciLifeLab already has much of the technology and expertise needed to analyze relevant samples during a pandemic. The increased support provides the opportunity to strengthen future preparedness so that testing operations might be able to start even faster than it did with COVID-19″, she concluded.
The funding also strengthens the basic funding of SciLifeLab to offer Swedish researchers the most advanced technologies and expertise available, both in everyday life and during crisis. That investment covers SEK 30 million for 2021 and a total of SEK 150 million over a period of four years.
“We are very happy about the new government support to SciLifeLab, both for our basic infrastructure role and for our ability to prepare for future pandemics. This will enable important new initiatives. We think that this funding is a recognition for the dedicated efforts of the staff and the cutting-edge national services that have been delivered over the past 10 years to the life science community in Sweden. We have also worked hard, with the help of dedicated funding from the KAW, to try and address the COVID-19 challenges, such as development of the virus diagnostics, serology, host immune response and profiling of the virus spread in the community and environment”, says Olli Kallioniemi, SciLifeLab Director.
Read the bill in its entirety on the Governments homepage
See the press conference on December 17 in full