COLUMN. All activities on Medicinareberget will benefit when Natrium is completed. Faculty of Science Dean Göran Hilmersson comments on this in a guest column in Akademiliv.
“A small mountain has been leveled to the ground, and of course that has not gone unnoticed. I am humbly aware that working by the construction site, with recurring blasts and other disturbances, has been, and still is, extremely stressful. But when Natrium is completed, I firmly believe that all the organizations on Medicinareberget will benefit greatly from the consolidation of the life sciences in one place.
In the autumn, Natrium will begin to rise in the large pit blasted out next to Medicinarlängan, and in 2023 a large part of the Faculty of Science will move in. This involves between 500 and 600 employees from the Faculty Office and from the Departments of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Chemistry and Molecular Biology, and Marine Sciences. We are doing this primarily to consolidate departments that have previously been scattered, but we are looking forward to the improved opportunities to collaborate with Sahlgrenska Academy researchers. This creates the potential for us to share instruments, some teaching premises and maybe also develop and strengthen cooperation within operational support, which can lead to better services in both education and research. We will also be able to make better use of common units, such as animal shelters and other Core Facilities. But most important, we will bring about new interdisciplinary meetings. As scientists, we are experts in methodology, among other things, so we can measure anything that can be measured, and we see many interesting applications in medical research.
Plans call for a large café at the entrance to Natrium in the middle of Medicinarlängan and an open atrium deeper into the new building. I hope both these places will encourage spontaneous meetings, fika and discussions among researchers from all departments at Medicinareberget. After the move, when all practicalities are in place, we also want to develop joint research seminars and other arenas where we can become more familiar with each other’s expertise.
The Lundberg Laboratory – where many of our molecular biologists, geneticists, cell biologists, structural biologists, biophysicists and biochemists have worked up to now – was once built specifically to increase collaboration with other basic scientific research at Medicinareberget. This wonderful initiative led to many successful collaborative projects. Through Natrium we will go a step farther. The proximity we now create between the natural sciences and medicine will be completely unique; no other higher education institution has the natural sciences and medicine as such close neighbors as in Gothenburg.
The move will result in a new home for chemistry, botany, environmental science, zoology and marine sciences on Medicinareberget. It may seem that parts of these subjects are somewhat removed from Sahlgrenska Academy’s various fields, but here again I am convinced that we will see research converge in new ways. In the intersection of plants, sea and humans, interesting questions can arise along with new ways to answer them. Maybe this will involve salt balances in living cells or similarities in phenotypes. Spontaneous meetings can result in research proposals and results that cannot be predicted, and it is precisely the unpredictable that separates research from development work.
Dean, Faculty of Science.