Swetox – 11 universities collaborating for a chemical-free world

Published: 2016-08-29

On Tuesday, I visited Swetox together with the Chairman of the Swetox board, Lisa Sennerby Forsse, the Governor of Stockholm Chris Heister and Maria Lönn from the Stockholm County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen).

Visiting Swetox in Gärtuna

At Swetox in Gärtuna.

Nation-wide collaboration is at the heart of Swetox, a consortium involving 11 universities administratively organized under Karolinska Institutet. The establishment of Swetox was made possible by initial support provided by the Swedish Research Council Formas, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Stockholm County Council and KI. Swetox was developed in Gärtuna in Södertälje to explore knowledge, experience and infrastructure in association with restructuring of AstraZeneca activities. From its establishment in 2014, Swetox has established itself as a center for research, education and collaboration within the area of chemicals, health and environment, presently with a staff of about 50 people.

National platform

I see Swetox as a national infrastructure and in that sense, the collaboration between Swetox and the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development national infrastructure is particularly interesting demonstrating how combining national infrastructures expands the service to projects.

In 2016 Swetox was entrusted by the government with the responsibility for a new National Platform for Nanosafety financed through the Swedish Chemicals Agency demonstrating how Swetox adds to the Swedish government’s environmental quality objective A non-toxic environment.

At the visit, we also learnt that Swetox has received good laboratory practice, GLP, accreditation. We should consider how this can add knowledge, experience and mind set about experimental quality control into KI at large.

It is now time for Swetox to prepare for its next phase, to establish itself as a sustainable center for research, education, collaboration and innovation within the area of chemicals, health and environment. This will require discussions among the consortia partners and other interested parties how to increase the nation wide presence of Swetox and how to find a sustainable long term financial model.

Inspiring seminar at Stockholm County Council

Later in the week, Toivo Heinsoo had invited to a Health Care Future Seminar, in association with his retirement as Chief Executive of the Stockholm County Council (SCC). In his seminar he chose to look into the future rather than summarizing the past. An extremely inspiring afternoon including an interactive meeting format as a sign of the future rather than the past. Many important topics were of course discussed. How can we accommodate an expanding population and still keep some green areas? How do we see leadership in the future health care system? How will patients and doctors be able to handle and interpret all the information that will be available to them? How does culture contribute to creativity? Just to mention a few.

Toivo Heinsoo's Future Seminar

Retiring Stockholm County Council Chief Executive Toivo Heinsoo’s seminar looking into the future of health care.

For KI, with SCC as our most important collaborator, Toivo has been instrumental for the development of our collaborative organization and activities. I would not be surprised if we will have the pleasure to interact with Toivo in new roles in the future working on some of the topics he addressed in his seminar; Looking into the future.

 

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