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Published: 2024-03-26

SEK 108 million to basic research from Wallenberg Scholars

NEWS Six Umeå University researchers have been admitted to the Wallenberg Scholars programme, which is aimed at providing leading researchers in Sweden with grants for free research in a topic and direction of their own choice. The researchers will share SEK 108 million.

“We’re pleased that six of our successful researchers have been appointed as Wallenberg Scholars. Two have been extended, and four are completely new in the programme. All in all, these researchers will share SEK 108 million to continue to develop their basic research. This is also proof that these researchers are in the top tier among Swedish researchers,” says Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.

The newly-appointed researchers are Virginia Dignum, Professor at the Department of Computing Science; David Wardle, Professor at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science; Felipe Cava, Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology; and Oliver Billker, Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology. Two researchers receive renewed grants: Lotta Vikström, Professor at the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, and Lars Nyberg, Professor at the Department of Diagnostics and Intervention.

The Wallenberg Scholars programme is aimed at providing leading researchers in Sweden with grants for free research. Grants are awarded after thorough evaluation incorporating international experts. On the whole, the programme has granted funding for 118 researchers across Sweden who will each receive a maximum of SEK 18 million over five years for theoretical subjects, or up to SEK 20 million for experimental subjects. In the evaluation of applications for Wallenberg Scholars, close to 500 international expert peer reviews were gathered. Each application was reviewed by four to five international experts.

Basic research in focus

Basic research is in focus for Wallenberg Scholars. Basic research is typically defined as a systematic and methodical curiosity-driven search for new knowledge and ideas without immediate application in mind. Although the primary purpose of basic research is not to find applications, it has still often led to significant and important discoveries. But it also involves conducting advanced calculations or developing technology to interpret and process data.

“We’re overjoyed by these appointments as it shows that our senior principal investigators rank among the most successful at Swedish higher education institutions. The appointments also show that we conduct excellent research in a wide range of scientific fields. We wish them all continued success,” says Katrine Riklund, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.