The Sweden Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab, will be opened in 2013 and act as a generator to boost research in molecular biosciences and bioinformatics, create new commercial products, and create jobs.
Sweden's Minister for Education, Jan Björklund, said the government’s ambition is that within a few years, the institute will employ more than 1,000 scientists and have a turnover of 1 billion kronor ($150 million).
"A research institute like SciLifeLab will be able to gather the sharpest brains and lay the foundation for new and major breakthroughs," he said.
"Collaboration of this kind helps make Sweden an attractive country both to researchers and knowledge-intensive companies."
SciLifeLab was set up last year after collaboration between four Swedish universities: Stockholm University, the Karolinska Institutet, The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Uppsala University. As of 2013, SciLifeLab will be an independent national research institute.
A focus on finding cross-disciplinary synergies is one of the institute's primary strengths. Researchers in biology and medicine, for example, are working with innovators from the Royal Institute of Technology.
Eva Åkesson, president of Uppsala University, explained in an interview that once fully developed, Sweden SciLifeLab will operate as a national resource that will elevate Swedish biomedical research to world-class status.
"This is a very good collaboration between the universities. A lot of technology is already in place and there are great advantages in sharing these resources. This will benefit both the research world and the industry," she told The Swedish Wire.
Also Peter Gudmundson, president of the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, told The Swedish Wire that the new institution will play a great role in attracting top academics from around the world and create opportunities for both the Swedish and foreign pharmaceutical industry.
In addition to funding from the government, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation will invest 220 million kronor on technology laboratories in SciLifeLab.
Astra Zeneca, the Anglo-Swedish drug giant, intends to invest $5-10 million annually for five years in joint research projects within SciLifeLab.
Anders Ekblom, CEO of AstraZeneca Sverige, said in a statement that SciLifeLab combines advanced technology with expertise in translational medicine and molecular bioscience.
"[This is] an area of great interest to AstraZeneca in the development of new patient treatments," he said.
This article was published in collaboration between Stockholm Business Region and The Swedish Wire.
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