Southern Scandinavia and Northern Germany form a leading life science region with unique research infrastructures that can help transform research into innovation. There is especially a large unused potential for industrial and clinical researchers to use these unique facilities. The HALRIC consortium led by Lund University has now received EU funding to build collaborations between companies, hospitals and universities, to utilize these unique research techniques and competencies.
EU Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak (ÖKS) has approved a 3-year project grant 2023-2026for the Hanseatic Life Science Research Infrastructure Consortium (HALRIC). This consortium of20+ members between Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Norway includes hospitals, universities, research infrastructures, regional governments as well as life science organisations working closely with industry.
Erik Renström, vice-chancellor of Lund University, says that Interreg’s approval of HALRIC is a very important step for research in the joint ÖKS-Hamburg region.
“The opportunities for research and innovation using large-scale facilities are for many user communities underexploited. Especially for medical research, linking expertise to less experienced users is important to further this community. The HALRIC project is an excellent opportunity to engage new users, create critical mass and strengthen the collaborations not only between universities but also with industry.”
The project will augment research and innovation in life science by using the large-scale facilities (ESS, MAX IV, DESY and European XFEL) as well as cutting-edge smaller-scale infrastructuressuch as cryoEM, advanced biological MS, 7Tesla-MR.
To achieve that, the project’s primary aim is to facilitate up to 75 pilot collaborations for companies, hospitals, and universities with research infrastructures. Such triple-helixcollaborations are essential to address global health challenges through world-leading life science innovation.
The project will also develop prototype models for handling the exceptionally large amounts of data generated by such infrastructures. Thirdly, the consortium will facilitate further development of the life science ecosystems in the involved regions through virtual meeting places and an international strategic forum.
Katharina Fegebank, Minister of Science, Research, Equalities and Districts and Second Mayor of Hamburg expects the project to further strengthen and deepen the cross-border collaborations:
“During these turbulent times, cross-border science and research cooperation is of utmost importance. I am excited that we can continue our close transnational cooperation between Hamburg Metropolitan region, Greater Copenhagen and Skåne. The project will facilitate cross-border research projects between researchers and industry. It will further establish a cross-border Strategic Forum for high-level Life Science discussions that will strengthen the science ecosystem. Due to the complementary nature of the research infrastructures this cooperation will help us to further position the region as a world-leading Life Science hub.”
Anette Steenberg, CEO at Medicon Valley Alliance, highlights the project’s involvement of all three sectors – public, academic, and private:
“An essential focus of the new project is to engage industrial and clinical researchers in the unique life science research infrastructures in our regions – creating innovation and developing competences. As the cluster organization representing companies, hospitals, and academia in the Danish-Swedish life science region Medicon Valley, we therefore look much forward to this collaboration which will further strengthen Northern Europe’s powerful life science sector.”
The project’s total budget is 11.2 million €, which is covered by a grant of 6.6 million € from EU Interreg ÖKS, and by in-kind contributions from all the consortium’s partners. The project’s work packages are Cross-Border Innovation and Research, Hanseatic Science Cloud, and Strengthening the Regional Life Science Ecosystem.
Sweden: Lund University (project lead), MAX IV, ESS, Malmö University, Skåne University Hospital, Region Skåne, Medicon Village
Denmark: University of Copenhagen, Technical University of Denmark, Aarhus University, University of Southern Denmark, Rigshospitalet, Region Hovedstaden, Medicon Valley Alliance (project management)
Germany: University of Hamburg, DESY, European XFEL, EMBL, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg Eppendorf, City of Hamburg, Life Science Nord
Norway: University of Oslo