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Research and technological progress go hand in hand

Technological progress, curiosity, research. Which comes first? They are all closely interlinked and interdependent – especially in the life sciences.

This was really brought home to me on a visit to the national research resource SciLifeLab, run jointly by KTH, the Karolinska Institute, and Stockholm and Uppsala Universities.

This laboratory for the life sciences comprises several vital components: advanced expertise, far-reaching data collection, and a specific research infrastructure to produce large volumes of data in molecular biosciences, with the aim of identifying and developing methods in fields such as medicine, health, the climate and environment, forestry and agriculture.

As a visitor, it’s hard not to be impressed by all the collective knowledge housed in SciLifeLab and its advanced technical equipment. It has everything from large, unique, sophisticated microscopes to commercial equipment, a portable test lab for Covid that can be used in countries where medical equipment is scarce, and much more

It is quite magic to see this collection of equipment and the huge databases that are needed to build knowledge and analyses that can form the basis of the future of medicine, for example. SciLifeLab is also attracting international attention along with applications from many successful researchers.

As new questions arise and new challenges need solutions, the need for even more advanced equipment and technological progress increases. In happy symbiosis, the research and technological solutions strengthen and develop one another. So technological progress is fundamental to advanced research, but is also its own field of research, one that paves the way for new knowledge in the life sciences.

SciLifeLab came about as the result of a concerted effort around a strategic research area, and it has since been awarded additional funding and major external grants, particularly via the Wallenberg Foundations. KTH has been an important partner throughout – and will remain so as SciLifeLab expands in Solna, and through several national nodes within the framework of the national infrastructure for life sciences.