Update from the first year of the DDLS program

The SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science was inaugurated about a year and a half ago. This 12-year-program aims to foster the next generation of data-driven life scientists, with the goals to enable better analyses and interpretation of data and data patterns, as well as integration of data seamlessly within the global life science data streams. Where are we today, one year into the program, and which are the next steps?

The first year of the Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS) program funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) has had a strong focus on setting the stage for the research phase of the program, through networking, organization, and governance.

“During this first period, we have started the first recruitment phase, and seven DDLS research fellows are already on board. Another 13 research fellows are expected to join by the end of the year. We have initiated and funded the first collaborative projects between DDLS and WASP (Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program), and we are setting up structures for our data support program and training efforts, as well as industrial and societal actions”, says Heidi Törmänen Persson, DDLS program coordinator at SciLifeLab.

The program has also established new services for research data management, accessible to all Swedish researchers, and strengthened FAIR data sharing, as part of a developing national data platform. A connection with Sweden’s fastest supercomputer for AI and machine learning, Berzelius, has also been established. A network of data nodes hosted at Swedish universities is forming and will facilitate that local research communities are well connected to the nationwide DDLS data platform.

“Researchers will benefit from the new data platform for data-driven life science. We are particularly keen to create an environment for the community where researchers, data-producing platforms, and compute centers can interact and reach a greater international impact for research data and results.”, says Johan Rung, Head of Data Centre at SciLifeLab.

Over the 12 years, the program is planned to include many activities, such as:

• Recruit 39 future research leaders as DDLS Fellows
• Establish a graduate school for 260 Ph.D. students in academia and industry
• Create 210 postdoctoral positions in academia and industry.
• Establish a national data platform for data-driven life science with tools, services and FAIR data sharing.
• Collaborate with data science and AI communities through joint grants

”The DDLS Fellows will be recruited to the participating organizations, so they will be solidly anchored into the local research environment. At the same time, they will be connected to the national DDLS program, and be part of growing SciLifeLab’s strong, interdisciplinary research community with research fellows and national research infrastructures. This ensures the long-term sustainable impact of data-driven life science”, says Olli Kallioniemi, Director SciLifeLab.

DDLS progress report 2021 – Achievements during the first year

The SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science in brief

  • On October 2020, KAW announced their generous support of 3.1 BSEK to fund a 12-year data-driven life science initiative in Sweden.
  • Four strategic research areas: Data-driven Cell and Molecular Biology, Data-driven Precision medicine and Diagnostics, Data-driven Evolution and Biodiversity and Data-driven Epidemiology and biology of infection
  • The 11 partner organizations of DDLS: Lund University, Chalmers University of Technology, University of Gothenburg, Linköping University, Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Uppsala University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Umeå University.


Last updated: 2022-05-09

Content Responsible: Johan Inganni(