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Published: 2007-10-09

New research institute in global health to Umeå University

NEWS The research institute, which will be run by Umeå University, will receive SEK 2.3 million (€250,000) annually for five years from the Swedish Research Council for research on global diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Additionally, the aim is to obtain strategies for improved sexual and reproductive health, as well as to study questions of rights such as gender perspectives on health, health systems and health economics. The poor health condition of children is an important area, and one which requires the study of nutrition, vaccination programmes and other methods to prevent illnesses.

The research institute in global health is one of the institutes that the Swedish Research Council was mandated by the government to announce during 2007. Three applications of interest where submitted and Umeå University’s submittal was deemed best by the international panel.

“This coincides with our investment on research "areas of excellence" and further strengthens it. The research institute provides us with an excellent opportunity to combine cutting-edge research with postgraduate studies,” says Göran Sandberg, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.

"Global health is an important area that continually gains importance, such as climate change. Older diseases take on new forms and newer epidemics challenge the research," explains Håkan Billig, General Secretary of Medicine at the Swedish Research Council, who made the announcement.

"It is incredibly satisfying that our application was successful. Now, there are greater opportunities to place additional focus on illnesses and poverty, and to produce strategies for improved health. We now have received a good educational complement to our FAS Centre on global health," says Professor Stig Wall, who is one of the foremost researchers behind the university’s success within the field. "I would also like to give credit to Anna-Karin Hurtig, Senior Lecturer from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Services, who was responsible for the application and did a fantastic job," he continues.

The research institute will be operated by Umeå University in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet. Håkan Billig believes it is positive that the application that was awarded is collaboration between faculties.

"To develop a creative environment for instructors and students and to heighten the exchange of experience nationally and internationally within the area is an important criterion for quality," he said.
Anna-Karin Hurtig concurs and added that "it will be very exciting to work together with Karolinksa Institutet."

The objective of the research institute is to develop and improve the capacity for research and postgraduate education via collaboration throughout all the faculties, between the university and with worldwide international partners. The research groups within Umeå University and Karolinska Institutet, KI will investigate and analyse different aspects of global health. Umeå International School for Public Health, UISPH has a multidisciplinary impression with focus on non-contagious chronic diseases. The centre of focus at KI is on infectious diseases and its research includes studies on pathogenesis, clinical research, and epidemiology and public health research.

The research institute is expected to start during the 2007/2008 academic year with a national announcement. Twenty doctoral students will be admitted in the first year and the selection process will be based on applications and individual interviews. The global health research institute will receive a total of SEK 11.5 million (€1.25 million) from the Swedish Research Council.

For more information: Stig Wall, Professor of Epidemiology Tel: +46 (0)90-785 12 09 Mobile: +46 (0)70-662 90 75
E-mail: stig.wall@epiph.umu.se

Håkan Billig, General Secretary of Medicine, Swedish Research Council Phone: +46 (0)8-546 44 294 Mobile: +46 (0)0708-840 976
E-mail: hakan.billig@vr.se

Editor: Carina Dahlberg