This has been a very exciting week. Tuesday was marked by a kick-off for the new regional so called ALF agreement between the Stockholm County Council (SCC) and Karolinska Institutet (KI). This agreement is a foundation for research and education and regulates our essential collaboration with SCC and the hospitals. The agreement is a common responsibility and constitutes our common road map into the future. We are several stakeholders but share a common vision to improve health and this was the overall feeling as we met kick-start the new agreement. Invited were members of the KI-SLL management team, the research and education councils as wells as the FoU committes at the hospitals.
Structural changes taking place in the health care sector in the region constitute challenges for medical research and education. New structures will replace structures established over a long time and it is our common responsibility to ensure good conditions for health care, education and research. The main goal of the day was to get everyone familiar with the ALF agreement so we share a common platform and to start discussions, what are the challenges for education and research in the new landscape. A lot of good ideas came up that we will bring with us in the future work. A kick-off is of course also a valuable opportunity to get to know who is in which role. You can read more at ki.se/news
The government research bill
Monday, the Minister for higher education and research presented the government research bill, which I commented on at ki.se. The research bill focus on societal challenges in health and life sciences, digitalization and environment. SCC is KIs most important collaborator and together we aim at jointly address societal challenges within health. We hope that innovations within life sciences will occur along the way. Digitalization will be of great importance in addressing many of the challenges within health. And we should not forget that there are clear connections between health and the environment and in line with that, our university has active research also in the area of the environment. Biobanking is another prioritized area where KI works together with SCC as part of a national effort. There is a clear focus on collaboration, which is further emphasized by the fact that collaboration will be included as a base for resource allocation. I believe that collaboration is critical if we are to solve the societal challenges that we are facing. We all understand that it is difficult to measure collaboration but we should not dismiss a potentially important indicator measuring it constitutes a challenge. At last it was confirmed that the funding for the strategic research areas will remain. This is very good as it provides stable funding to strong research environments. But of course the policy also raises questions; We have asked for increased base funding which was met by a small increase. But how it will be distributed is unclear. From what has been communicated so far one would draw the conclusion that the focus is not on large research universities. How the increasing costs for research infrastructures should be handled also remains unclear and will put a significant financial strain on the sector.
As vice-chancellor of an internationally leading medical University, I am happy that the research bill has a strong focus on health but would of course have hoped for more funding in a world of global competition.