Leading role played by the Faculty of Medicine
A large portion of the knowledge and expertise historically associated with Lund as an important life science cluster has its origins in the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University. The Faculty Dean, Professor Gunilla Westergren-Thorsson, regards Lund as a melting pot for innovations and the Faculty as an important platform for collaboration across disciplines.
Lund is home to many of the world’s most acclaimed treasures in medical research with eminent innovations ranging from the discovery of new drug targets for treating common, widespread diseases such as cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, to the development of new technology to promote healthy aging, just to give a few examples.
The Faculty of Medicine plays a leading role in the development of a competitive and creative life science cluster in the Oresund Region. In a relatively small area, characterised by short distances – both geographically and in terms of collaboration between disciplines – the Oresund Region and Medicon Valley gathers several universities, each home to internationally acclaimed research, as well as innovative companies, research organisations and biobanks.
Most importantly, the academic research is managed in close collaboration with experts at clinical level, as well as some of the world’s most successful companies in life science, many of which are based on innovations that were born and initially developed in a university laboratory.
Creating opportunities for collaboration
The Faculty of Medicine in Lund allows for over 1800 employees and over 2800 students from various disciplines to interact and form new, innovative translational projects. The Faculty essentially provides an international forum for development of a global health perspective. “Our overall mission is to contribute to the improvement of human health on a global basis”, says Gunilla Westergren-Thorsson.
By creating opportunities for new research and enabling for closer collaboration between academia, industry and clinic, the Faculty provides an important hub for research and development within several areas in medicine. “There seems to be a high concentration of innovation activities here in Lund. This becomes even more visible through the development over time with results that we can see and measure”, Professor Westergren-Thorsson explains.
Developments show that over 60 new research companies, together employing over 2300 people, have been established over the past 15 years. A large percentage of these research-oriented companies are operating within the life sciences. “With the establishment of ESS and MAX IV, we will have an even stronger clustering of knowledge-intensive business, with thousands of new scientists and even more guest researchers congregating in the region. This is a very important step for Lund and for Medicon Valley as a whole”.
Resourceful and competitive arena
Gunilla Westergren-Thorsson explains that the Faculty has a strong focus on creating new, creative and collaborative environments for future projects. “One such development could be intensifying the collaboration with companies developing new pharmaceutical drugs for treating for example asthmatic diseases”. The Professor concludes by pointing out the importance of bringing academic research and the industry together.
“Fundamental research is required in order to identify possible drug targets, which can in turn be further developed by industrial partners into pharmaceutical treatments. Medicon Valley forms a resourceful and competitive arena for this type of collaboration”, she says.