The National SciLifeLab-KAW COVID-19 Research program is extended through funding from KAW

Report this content

Press release from SciLifeLab

In March 2020, SciLifeLab launched a national COVID-19 research program together with the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW). Now, the program will be prolonged and extended through a new donation of 50 million SEK from KAW.

“Almost one year have passed since the launch of the national research program on COVID-19. It has been amazing to see the collective effort and new collaborations that was initiated between researchers at our universities in a very short time. Present results are remarkable and applicable in the current crisis, but more research is needed. That is why we are now substantially increasing the funding of the program”, says Peter Wallenberg Jr, chair of Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

The program enables the Swedish research community to conduct research on the SARS-Cov2 virus and COVID-19, both to fight the ongoing pandemic but also to prepare Sweden for future ones.

So far, the program has led to the development of technology and capabilities for COVID-19 testing, e.g. new molecular diagnostic methods, high-throughput and high-content serology, analysis of the host immune response, environmental virus profiling, understanding of the molecular pathogenesis and research about how the virus could be inhibited.

All research data has been made open and publicly available through the national COVID-19 data portal. This has helped to create a clearer real-time overview of the pandemic and facilitated the distribution of important data across different research disciplines.

In December 2020, a new donation from KAW (50 million SEK), made it possible to launch two new calls with the aim of continuing and extending the SciLifeLab-KAW COVID-19 Research Program. The first call was open for proposals from researchers already active in the program and the second call was open for individual scientists with new contributions to the existing program.

76 proposals were submitted and evaluated by a panel of national and international experts as well as the SciLifeLab Management Group. The scientific quality and impact on the pandemic were primary evaluation criteria, which also included emphasis on open science, data handling, and sharing of samples and data, as well as the synergistic value together with the other proposals. The SciLifeLab board decided to fund 23 out of 76 proposals.

"We are happy to continue the promotion of COVID-19 research, supported by KAW's important donation. The quality of the proposals submitted was very high. It is also clear that the research program, that started in 2020, has already led to major breakthroughs scientifically and to practical contributions in the fight against the pandemic. Together with new fresh ideas, the new funding will be merged with the old one, so that we can create an even better COVID-19 program, supported by the SciLifeLab infrastructure and data sharing via the COVID-19 portal”, says Olli Kallioniemi, director of SciLifeLab.

In total, KAW has donated 105 million SEK to SciLifeLab for the continuation and extension of the COVID-19 research program. 53 million SEK of these have been used to fund the recently launched program on COVID-19 vaccine effects.