Emmanuelle Charpentier mentor for research venture in Umeå
Umeå University is establishing a postdoctoral programme in Life Science research to attract prominent young researchers and stimulate cutting-edge research. The mentor for the new programme will be none other than the Nobel laureate Emmanuelle Charpentier, who discovered the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology during her time as a scientist in Umeå.
Text: Ola Nilsson
“We are very happy, with the help of Emmanuelle Charpentier, to be able to continue to invest in top-class research in an area where Umeå has positioned itself on the world stage, says Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.
The postdoctoral programme Excellence by Choice aims to recruit 17 new postdoctoral researchers to Umeå over a five-year period. The research will be in the area of Life Science. The objective is to create new collaborations to strengthen research in Life Science and traning of next-generaton scientists.
Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will be the patron and mentor of the new programme. She currently conducts research in Berlin but is affiliated with Umeå University as an honorary doctor of medicine, among other things. It was during her time as a scientist in Umeå that she made her revolutionary and award-winning discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 “genetic scissors”.
The programme will attract excellent young researchers to Umeå, encourage new synergies and collaborations in Life Science with a focus on molecular and translational research, and enhance internationally competitive research. The postdoctoral researchers will receive funding of postdoctoral fellowships and project running costs as well as a grant for their career development. The programme will organize activities to strengthen networks and collaborations in the academic world.
The programme can be seen as a continuation of the postdoctoral initiative that began in 2015, when a joint donation from the Kempe Foundations and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation made it possible for Umeå University to establish the EC Jubilee Award managed by the MIMS, The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden, in the form of The MIMS Excellence by Choice Postdoctoral Programme, which provided an opportunity to offer several young researchers to conduct postdoctoral research at the university.
This new Excellence by Choice programme is largely financed with donations from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Kempe Foundations, as well as with direct funding from Umeå University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU. Research at Umeå Plant Science Center, UPSC, is also included. This new programme is managed by UCMR; Umeå Centre for Microbial Research.