Mån 4 mar / År 42 / Nr 5 2023

The County Council of Västerbotten invests 80 Million in National Research Centre

The County Council of Västerbotten (VLL) invests 80 MSEK in the national research network ‘The Wallenberg Centres for Molecular Medicine’ (WCMM). The ambition is to improve the healthcare provided by the county council, establish new therapies and to strengthen Norrland’s University Hospital’s position, nationally and internationally

The Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine (WCMM) in Umeå is one of the national nodes, together with Lund, Gothenburg and Linköping, initiated by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation with the aim to reposition Sweden as a world-leading life science nation. The four nodes will collaborate with the SciLife Lab at the Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University. The effort has been planned for approx. one year and common lines of thought have been concretised in the form of evaluation of assets, recruiting strategies and collaborations.

In Umeå a large part of the investment will be used for creating tenure track research positions with a combined scientific and clinical profile.

”We primarily address professionals in the beginning of their clinical career, who’ve already established a strong scientific platform. The idea is that they shall create their own strong research teams, which will interact with the centre’s pre-clinical research teams. This will further strengthen the translational environment, which is necessary in order to provide the highly specialised healthcare of the future,” says Mikael Wiberg, Research Director at the County Council of Västerbotten (VLL).

Umeå was the first university in Sweden to establish assistant university lectureships combined with clinical education. It’s been a successful concept, which has been followed by great interest by other Swedish universities.

”We believe that this recruiting profile will prove a success for WCMM as well,” he adds.

Four Prioritised Research Areas
VLL and Umeå University have identified four, clinically based, research areas in which Umeå is particularly strong: cancer, diabetes/metabolism, infectious biology and neuroscience.

”Even before WCMM these areas have been acknowledged nationally and internationally, and this effort will strengthen them further,” says Mikael Wiberg.

Norrland’s University Hospital has a very strong infrastructure within these prioritised areas, with established biobanks and registers. They’re all linked to medical records and contain information about kinship, together with tumour and blood samples that have been collected through diagnoses and treatments.

”In addition, we have extensive infrastructural competence within the radiological area with big resources in structural and functional MR imaging. A large-scale effort has been initiated to provide researchers with the necessary support for clinical studies in this area. Lastly, I would like to point out that the close link and short distance between the university and county council make the transfer of translational research data very effective in Umeå,” he concludes.