CHRISTMAS GREETINGS. Dean Agneta Holmäng and Pro-Dean Henrik Hagberg extend their warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas to the entire staff. This has been a strange year where, despite the prevailing pandemic, Sahlgrenska Academy has still been able to make progress with external collaborations.
We will remember 2020 as a very strange year, the likes of which we will hopefully never have to experience again. On top of all the uncertainty and extra work caused by the pandemic, life was made more difficult this autumn with the crash of our e-mail system, where many of us also lost access to calendars and address books. But we can already see that the coming year offers hope in many ways. The spread of infection is likely to decrease in late spring, and more and more people will gradually have access to vaccines.
We are very proud
We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all staff and to our students. We are very proud of your efforts and flexibility that allowed us to succeed in this difficult time. The University can often be a slow moving ship, but in this case, everyone reacted quickly to reorganize large parts of our teaching and other activities to help reduce the spread of infection.
We are also very pleased that many of our researchers have been so successful in calls for research grant proposals during the year, both nationally and internationally. A couple of examples include success in clinical treatment research, where researchers received grants to develop three new large environments in this area, and the success of younger researchers in competition for the Swedish Research Council’s starting grants. There is certainly reason for optimism about the future.
Virtually all clinical-based training planned for the year could take place
Gunnar Tobin will become the new vice dean of education at the start of the year. We would like to extend a special thanks to our current Vice Dean Silvana Naredi, who will soon retire after six years in the position. During the year, almost all of our students were able to complete their clinical-based training, thanks in large part to the close collaboration between Silvana Naredi and Diana Swolin Eide, head of R&D at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. We are also grateful for the tremendous efforts by supervisors and other staff at both Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Region Västra Götaland and the University, even while dealing with the intense stress of the situation. In principle, almost all clinical-based training planned for the year could take place in some form within our region, which was not the case in several other parts of the country. Our joint efforts in the spring led to 118 doctors, 107 nurses and 37 biomedical analysts completing their training despite the pandemic, allowing them to begin employment in the medical system.
Developing and restarting collaborations with external partners
During the year, we were able to both maintain and develop several of our important collaborations, including in medical technology with Chalmers. A new master’s program began just over a year ago that includes teachers from Sahlgrenska Academy, and there are plans to hold another fair for degree projects in technology and medicine in late spring. We have also been able to start recruiting doctoral students to our joint research school in technology and health that is being offered with Chalmers and Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Region Västra Götaland. Students will be able to receive a double degree, i.e. a doctoral degree from both Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg.
There is also a new and exciting collaboration between Sahlgrenska Academy and GoCo Arena, where we recently became a founding partner. GoCo is an arena for health innovation and is aimed at strengthening collaboration between various stakeholders in Life Science in Gothenburg. It is based out of AstraZeneca. As one of our first activities, we have started collaborating with Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon, where we will work together to research sports activities of this type, similar to what is done for the Boston Marathon and other sports events. This will include organizing a sports science meeting for researchers in connection with Göteborgsvarvet. The University of Gothenburg was ranked this year as a Swedish leader in the field of sports science.
Clinical research is the best in Sweden
Since many clinical researchers needed to focus on helping the medical system’s response to the pandemic this spring, we postponed the large ALF call until the spring of 2021. Invitations to information meetings will be sent out, where you can find out all the details about the call. The call opens on Friday April 16 and closes on June 1, 2021. During the year, the ALF organization will also have to focus a lot of effort on preparing for the major ALF evaluation taking place in 2022. The previous evaluation, which was presented in spring 2018, showed that clinical research in our region is the best in Sweden. The competition is fierce, and, though we have already put together a lot of the required information, we still have a lot of work ahead of us if we are to achieve the same excellent results as the last time.
Time off at the holidays will be particularly welcomed
To tackle the spring semester, everyone really needs to recharge their batteries. The time off at the holidays will be particularly welcomed and needed by all. For our part, we will be celebrating a quiet Christmas with our families and loved ones. Agneta will be cooking and taking long walks with her dogs, and Henrik will probably burn his fingers making toffee, as usual.
We wish you a merry and restful Christmas – and a wonderful start to 2021!
Henrik Hagberg & Agneta Holmäng