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Annual Report 2010

Research and Education – the key to future health


Annual Report 2010

Research and education – the key to future health Contents Foreword ................................................................ 2 Undergraduate education ....................................... 4 Postgraduate education ........................................... 10 Research ................................................................. 18 Cooperation and innovation................................... 28 Institute of Biomedicine ......................................... 36 Institute of Clinical Sciences................................... 37 Institute of Medicine .............................................. 38 Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology ............... 39 Institute of Odontology.......................................... 40 Institute of Health and Care Sciences ..................... 41 Environment and sustainable development ............ 42 Human resources.................................................... 43 Finances ................................................................. 46

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“Collaboration vital for the develop

Professor Olle Larkö, Dean of the Sahlgrenska Academy, during the faculty’s Management Day.

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ment of the Sahlgrenska Academy“ Looking back at 2010 there are three key events that stand out. The first was the appointment of a new Academy Board with a sharper focus on research and the drive to make it more competitive. The second was the launch of several research programmes courtesy of strategic government research funding. We were also awarded substantial funding from the Birgit and Sten A Olsson Foundation for research into mental handicaps, which enabled us to set up the Gillberg Centre. This will contribute to new knowledge on examination, investigation and treatment methods in neuropsychiatry, a field that includes autism, ADHD and anorexia among children and adolescents. The third was the well-attended symposium on the medicine of the future, an area where the investment in virtual technology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s new Imaging and Intervention Centre is expected to lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic expertise. This is a good example of a collaboration between the Academy and Region Västra Götaland that we consider to be vital for the development of the Academy. Extending our collaboration with partners in industry, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Gothenburg and Region Västra Götaland will make the Sahlgrenska Academy stronger and more visible at national and international level. Forging stronger links with other medical faculties in Sweden is also important, particularly

in the fight for strategic research funding. There is also a need to improve collaboration between faculties at the University of Gothenburg, an area with considerable untapped potential. We carry out regular assessments of our work and can see that we need to continue to develop our core activities of research and education. Our study programmes are among the most popular in Sweden and we want them to remain so. This will require us to adapt to new requirements, which is why we will continue to develop our range of courses to ensure that our teaching meets tomorrow’s needs in the healthcare sector. Our approach is clear when looking to the future: the concepts of a holistic approach, collaboration and excellent knowledge-building will enable the Sahlgrenska Academy to contribute to progress in preventing, alleviating and treating illnesses and poor health in a way that ensures that we are sought-after and respected by students and researchers alike in an increasingly competitive world. We believe that we have made good progress along this road, which is down to our colleagues and students, and would therefore like to extend our special thanks to them for all their hard work during the year. Ragnar Norrby, Chairman Sahlgrenska Academy Board

Olle Larkö, Dean Sahlgrenska Academy

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Educational issues

Focusing on

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EDUCATION AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL


the education of the future Are there any events that really stand out during the year? “Our work with educational issues is rarely characterised by individual events, but instead development and change tend to occur as a process,” says Kerstin Nilsson, Vice Dean of Undergraduate Studies. “But if I had to name one thing, it would be our course for qualified researchers that will make them eligible for condensed training as a medical doctor. It is due to start in the spring of 2011 and we’re delighted to have received more applications than expected, with just over five applicants for each place.”

What have you got lined up for next year? The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education’s inspection and the University of Gothenburg’s inspection, known as BLUE11, will take place in 2011. “This will make huge demands of teaching staff as they will have to teach while working on both inspections.” She believes that it will be even harder to find placements for several student groups in the local area as the care sector is changing.

Projects in 2010 She explains that the students came up with several ideas that the Council for education in first and second cycle programmes and the education department at the faculty office have endeavoured to implement. These included a new student counselling organisation during the year as a result of an inquiry the previous year, and an Academy-wide course evaluation process. “I feel that communication has increased between the educational programmes at the Academy,” says Nilsson. “This has enabled us to learn more from each other.” After several years of investigation and analysis prompted by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education’s review in 2007, the Programme Committee for Medicine has begun to develop the medicine programme.

“We’re planning to increase our collaboration with Region Västra Götaland to create agreements on placements in hospitals and primary care.”

Vice Dean Kerstin Nilsson

However, the Vice Dean is concerned about the reduction in state funding for Sweden’s academic institutions that was announced in conjunction with the introduction of student fees for non-European students. “This might make it harder to develop study programmes, especially at master’s level, and to increase the number of places on existing programmes. There’s nothing to suggest that we’re training more staff than the healthcare and dental sectors need – quite the opposite in some cases.”

EDUCATION AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL

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PERFORMANCE, 2008-2010

96% 3645

3492

95% 3508

3330

94% 3358 3154

in line with the study programme in medicine at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. NUMBER OF FIRST-CHOICE APPLICANTS PER PLACE Programme AUT10 AUT09 AUT08 Physiotherapy

18,54

17,41

11,81

Nursing

9,74

8,78

7,90

Occupational therapy

4,70

4,92

3,70

Medicine

11,67

10,64

9,25

Dentistry

6,37

8,60

7,20

Top place for the Sahlgrenska Academy 2010

2009

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F ULL TIME EQUIVALENTS A NNUAL PERF ORMANCE EQ UIVAL ENTS The performance indicator relates to performance for the year as a whole for FTEs, and stood at 96% in 2010. This means that the Sahlgrenska Academy has reached the funding cap.

Record number of applicants Applications for places on the Sahlgrenska Academy’s physiotherapy, nursing and occupational therapy programmes were the highest in Sweden in the autumn of 2010. Several other study programmes were high on the list, with more applicants than ever before according to statistics from the Swedish Agency for Higher Education Services. The Academy’s medicine programme also proved to be a popular first choice, with 1,167 applicants chasing 100 places. This translates into just over 11 applicants per place, which is the highest figure for Gothenburg this millennium and is 6

EDUCATION AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL

It was the large universities and the specialist universities that claimed the Swedish top spots in the latest ranking from Urank, an independent group of academics. This time the organisation had also divided the 2009 results into three groupings by subject: care and medicine, technology and science, and the humanities. The University of Gothenburg came second to Lund University in care and medicine, with Karolinska Institutet taking third place.

International prize for the pharmacy programme The pharmacy programme was awarded the Annual Simcyp Academic Award for its innovative use of the Simcyp simulation platform in its teaching. “What the students learn during laboratory sessions ties in completely with the move towards more model-based pharmaceutical research at the big drug companies,” says


integration of theoretical and laboratory work is valuable and contributes to a deeper understanding at both the theoretical and practical level. Visualisation can also promote more clinic-like teaching, which increases students’ opportunities to develop professional expertise. The aim is to use this project to generate models that can be generalised to other courses in the faculty and also make a significant contribution at the theoretical level.

Placements Studentcorner is a meeting place for all students and has services that can make their everyday life easier.

Michael Ashton, professor of biopharmacy at the Department of Pharmacology.

Studentcorner Studentcorner was officially opened in January 2010 and is a forum for students to meet up with supervisors, international coordinators and student counsellors. They can also book time with a study counsellor, pick up information or borrow a computer. A drop-in service with language supervisors was offered once a week during the spring term, followed by a drop-in service with IT supervisors during the autumn.

Learning through technology Technological developments in healthcare are creating new teaching opportunities. A project at the Institute of Odontology enabled students to follow on-screen the dentist’s view through a microscope. This demonstrated that the

Since 2008 we have been running a research project to design a quality assurance evaluation instrument for placements in the nursing programme. This instrument is based on quantitative data, students’ own experience and what they consider to be necessary for optimal learning. The idea is that the final evaluation instrument could be used for all vocational courses involving placements in the healthcare sector.

Coordination of master’s programmes In a bid to improve the quality of the master’s programmes at the Academy, a working group has produced a model for the coordination of course resources in 2011. The assessment criteria for the master’s courses have been designed and audited by the University of Gothenburg’s Quality Council. Programme management staff and programme committees have had the opportunity to attend seminars with Rosalind Duhs from University College London on the relationship between learning goals, learning activities and examination forms, also known as constructive alignment.

EDUCATION AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL

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156

students from the Sahlgrenska Academy studied at foreign universities in 2010.

Success for new master’s programme A two-year international master’s programme in public health science with health economics started in the autumn term of 2010 at the Institute of Medicine. Interest in the programme was considerable, with a total of 459 applicants, 390 of whom came from other countries. The programme is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in a health-related subject and is taught in English.

Annual teaching prize goes to LearnAble project The Sahlgrenska Academy’s 2010 educational prize of SEK 50,000 was awarded to the group behind the LearnAble – Learn to be Able to Learn and Teach project. It was professor Karin Kjellgren, then Vice Dean, who initiated the project for both students and teaching staff at the Sahlgrenska Academy back in 2005. The aim was to facilitate students’ transition from school to university by giving them the tools they need to find, evaluate and communicate knowledge. The project also offered teaching staff an Academy-wide course in university teaching, where the practical element involved supervising the students on the induction course.

In the autumn of 2010 nine doctors and 19 nurses who had qualified abroad were accepted onto supplementary training courses for doctors and nurses. The corresponding course for dentists attracted 12 students and started at the same time.

Academic integrity The Council for education in first and second cycle programmes has produced a new brochure for students and lecturers on academic integrity, the rules on citing sources and how to demonstrate own knowledge using permitted methods. It also covers the rights and obligations of teaching staff and students in the event of cheating and plagiarism.

Supplementary training In 2009 the University of Gothenburg, Karolinska Institutet, Linköping University and Lund University were asked to arrange supplementary training for doctors, nurses and dentists who had qualified in countries outside the EU/ EEA and Switzerland. These courses aim to help students to acquire the knowledge they need to be authorised to practise their respective professions in Sweden.

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EDUCATION AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL

Nishma Hindocha spent three months at Cardiff University in the spring of 2010. She thought it was very interesting to get another perspective on her odontology studies.

International partnerships In 2010 a total of 156 students from the Sahlgrenska Academy studied at foreign universities, which was slightly fewer on 2009. The percentage of students following entire courses abroad is increasing, though the majority of foreign


visits are for degree projects and placements. 67 foreign students studied at the Sahlgrenska Academy in 2010. More study programmes than ever before were actively involved in student exchanges, with the number of teaching staff taking part in international exchanges also up on the previous year. A total of 29 Sahlgrenska Academy teaching staff taught at foreign academic institutions during the year. These exchanges were funded through government grants for lecturers, Erasmus and Linnaeus-Palme.

International dimension to courses Along with lecturers from Nepal, former UN ambassador Pierre Schori (chair of the Olof Palme Memorial Fund) was invited to talk about international collaboration on International Day. Swedish and international students were also given the chance to talk about their experiences. In 2010 the internationalisation committee advertised funding for Sahlgrenska Academy lecturers to support the development of courses in English, invitations to foreign speakers, visits to foreign universities and to cover the costs of teaching exchanges. Lena Andersson and Gunilla Krantz from the Institute of Medicine were among those who received grants, which they used to set up a partnership with the University of Rajarata in Sri Lanka.

Bachelor’s programmes                  

Audiology Biomedical Laboratory Science Dental Hygiene Dental Technology Dental Surgery Diagnostic Radiography Nursing Dietetics Medical Physics Medicine Midwifery Nursing Occupational Therapy Pharmacy Physiotherapy Prescribing Public Health Science Specialist Nursing Speech and Language Pathology

Master’s programmes  

Business Creation and Entrepreneurship in Biomedicine Public Health Science with Health Economics

EDUCATION AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL

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First in Sweden

Specialist expertise

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POSTGRADUATE STUDIES


in medical basic science Börje Haraldsson’s mandate period as Vice Dean of Postgraduate Studies ran from October 2005 to September 2010, during which time he endeavoured to improve education at postgraduate level. “I think that we’ve laid strong foundations for continued improvements thanks to our focus on transparency, competition and quality. In 2010, for example, we created six places for specialist expertise in medical basic science, significantly expanded our course activities and invested in the development of supervisors’ skills.”

What are you most proud of? “That our venture into medical basic science is up and running after a long preparation period. We’re the first in Sweden to take the initiative to get medical doctors to undergo full-time research training, and so guarantee fresh talent on the research front. This has attracted considerable interest both at home and abroad,” says Haraldsson, who feels that the Sahlgrenska Academy has growth potential. “We need to work on the way we advertise our doctoral student places so that we get a better spread. Although we receive many applications for each place, we feel that there are still gifted young people whom we don’t reach. We also need to improve our information on the reasons for pursuing doctoral studies, what is involved, and how they can affect future career choices.”.

Kristoffer Hellstrand – new Vice Dean of Postgraduate Studies Kristoffer Hellstrand took over as Vice Dean after Börje Haraldsson during the autumn. Together with the Council for Postgraduate Studies, Hellstrand will endeavour to streamline the application process for external funding, which is something that many still consider to be complicated in spite of tangible improvements in recent years. “We’ll also be completing our work to ensure that the course element of postgraduate studies Vice Dean Kristoffer Hellstrand. is even more focused on doctoral students’ needs, partly by adding extra modules on how to write scientifically and how to organise a doctoral thesis,” says Hellstrand.

Do you see any challenges in the future? “Postgraduate education is an important part of the Academy’s work, and the input from doctoral students plays a crucial role in the quality of research. The education we offer should be of a high standard, making it attractive to students who are interested in research. A key challenge is to inspire students to begin their doctoral studies early during their undergraduate education, and the reforms that have been carried out in recent years – such as the teaching assistant programme and the special funding for medical basic science – are important steps in the right direction.”.

POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

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REASERCH STUDENTS ACCEPTED, 2007-2010

DOCTORATES AWARDED, 2007-2010

2010

146

2010

147

2009

168

2009

143

2008

119

2008

126

2007

84

2007

113

Women

Men

New research subject area Students at the Sahlgrenska Academy can write doctoral theses in five subject areas: pharmaceutical science, medical basic science, medical science, odontological science and care science. Pharmaceutical science was introduced in 2010 at the suggestion of the Council for Postgraduate Studies. The Sahlgrenska Academy now complies with the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education’s wish to ensure that the number of research subjects offered at Swedish medical universities is the same. These research subject areas must, in turn, be consistent with the undergraduate programmes offered at the Academy.

Medical basic science During the year six places were created for doctoral studies in medical basic science, with the aim of nurturing new lecturers in fundamental medical subjects. This initiative was designed to increase expertise in these subjects, secure good undergraduate education for the future and strengthen the link between biomedicine and clinical subjects.

Supervisor training 2008 saw the Sahlgrenska Academy introducing mandatory training for supervisors. The courses have been fully 12

POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

Women

Men

subscribed, with demand outstripping supply. In 2010 the number of places on these courses was increased temporarily. The courses are run by the University of Gothenburg’s PIL Unit (Pedagogical Development and Interactive Learning).

Theme courses at doctoral level In a bid to increase the range of subject-specific courses and methodology courses at doctoral level, the Sahlgrenska Academy has set aside funds to finance subject-specific course programmes. An inventory has been carried out of all the possible, broad and over-arching subject areas in which a course could be planned and run in the long term. Eight themes were identified in 2010, including cancer – from transformed cell to patient, cardiovascular metabolic syndrome, inflammation, odontology and patient-centred care.

Language supervision for researchers Undergraduate students already have access to language supervision, and this has now been opened up to doctoral students who would like to develop their language skills, both on a one-to-one basis and through a series of seminars for larger groups. Language supervision can provide feedback and ideas for improvements during the preparation of an oral or written project.


Environment & Health graduate school The Environment & Health graduate school is a joint venture between the University of Gothenburg and Region Västra Götaland. In 2010 the Sahlgrenska Academy was awarded two places for doctoral students at the graduate school. More than 60 applications were received, from which the graduate school’s management selected two projects.

Material Initiative The Material Initiative is a new joint project at the Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology and means that doctoral students at Chalmers work in parallel with doctoral students at the University of Gothenburg and the Sahlgrenska Academy on common and overlapping projects, known as twinning doctoral studentships.

Scientist Career Day 2010 Scientist Career Day was organised in September by Future Faculty with funding from the Sahlgrenska Academy and GöteborgBIO to give young researchers ideas and inspiration for careers paths. The event attracted over 300 visitors who got to meet representatives from trade and industry, Region Västra Götaland, recruitment companies and so on. Future Faculty is an organisation at the Sahlgrenska Academy that works with junior postdoctoral researchers who are engaged in active research but have yet to find a permanent post as a senior lecturer or professor.

Junior researchers and exhibitors at Scientist Career Day 2010.

African collaboration Since 2009 the Sahlgrenska Academy has been involved in a doctoral student collaboration with Rwanda funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. In 2010 the Academy went on to set up a similar collaboration with CARTA, the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa. Under the agreement, the Academy’s doctoral students can be part of a network of nine African universities and five research institutes. The faculty has also been given two doctoral places at CARTA, which offers a structured education at doctoral level, with intensive teaching.

ORPHEUS 2010 saw the Sahlgrenska Academy becoming a member of ORPHEUS, the Organisation for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System. Founded in 2004 in Zagreb, the organisation aims to bring more consistency to the range of medical courses offered at doctoral level in Europe.

POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

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Theses that made the headlines

147

PhD students defended their theses in 2010. The following are just some of the theses that were picked up by the media:

Bacterial spray can help children with glue ear

Girls with autism or ADHD symptoms not taken seriously

Many children have longterm problems with fluid in the middle ear, and sometimes surgery is the only way to shift it. In her thesis, Susann Skovbjerg investigated whether a bacterial nasal spray can have the same effect in some children. The study covered 60 children who were split into three groups to try different solutions. In the group given the bacterial spray, a third of the children got much better or were cured completely.

Svenny Kopp’s thesis focuses primarily on 100 girls who, before reaching adulthood, went to the doctor on account of difficulties with social interaction and/or concentration at school or elsewhere.

“One explanation for the marked improvement may be that the spray stimulates the immune system to conquer the longterm inflammation,” says Skovbjerg. 14

POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

“We could see that their parents had been concerned about the girls’ behaviour or development during their first few years of life. They had also asked for help at an early stage, but hadn’t been given a proper diagnosis,” says Kopp. She concludes that the healthcare system does not take girls with symptoms of autism or ADHD seriously enough and calls for more training.

Hopes for a vaccine against genital herpes Herpes results in serious problems with the genitals and can also increase the risk of HIV infection. Despite extensive research, it has not yet been possible to produce a vaccine against genital herpes. However, in his thesis, Staffan Görander describes how researchers have made some progress in this area. “We found that vaccination with gG-2 prevented the virus from causing serious infection and managed to block the HSV-2 virus on its way into the nervous system. In this way we managed to bring about immunity against herpes,” says Görander. “Our research results will also increase our

understanding of how the virus causes infection and spreads.”

New findings on autoimmune diseases A deficiency of one of the immune system’s enzymes – NADPH oxidase – affects the severity of autoimmune diseases such as MS, and explains why the course of these diseases can vary so much. New findings give an insight into how this enzyme deficiency can be diagnosed, and could lead to new medicines, reveals a thesis written by Natalia Mossberg. The discovery could also lead to a new approach to the treatment of MS in its early stages, such as a vaccination for people at risk of developing this type of illness.


Better movement patterns can help with back pain This thesis investigated how sensory motor learning affected patients with longterm back pain who had not previously responded to any form of treatment. “People with long-term back pain often protect themselves from pain by unconsciously limiting their movements. Sensory motor learning alleviated their pain. At the same time, they felt better and less stressed,” says Christina Schön-Ohlsson, author of the thesis.

Infertility harder on men than previously thought IVF has meant that more couples than ever now have the opportunity to

become biological parents. However, the path to achieving this can be laborious and, for some, the treatment is unsuccessful. Those couples living without children, both men and women, had a significantly poorer quality of life than those for whom IVF treatment had been successful and also in comparison with the couples in the control group. “When interviewed after two years they perceived their infertility as central to their lives and above all that quality of life amongst men without children was more negatively affected than had been previously reported in studies of involuntary infertility,” says Marianne Johansson.

Those who exercise when young have stronger bones when they grow old

of the bones and exercise habits of around 3,200 men.

“The bones respond best when you’re young, and exercising and loading them with your own bodyweight during these years has a stimulating effect on their development. This may be important for bone strength much later in life too, so reducing the risk of brittle bones,” says Martin Nilsson who wrote the thesis, which is based on an examination

Exercise the best treatment for tennis elbow Exercise and ergonomic advice are more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections in treating tennis elbow, and give fewer side-effects. These were the findings reported by Pia Nilsson in her thesis. POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

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“A treatment programme designed by a physiotherapist and occupational therapist together reduces the patient’s pain, increases the function of the elbow and hand, and reduces the duration of sick leave. This programme heals tennis elbow better than cortisone injections. The method can benefit the patient, the employer and society in general.”

Oral damage remains after giving up snuff In his thesis, Mats Wallström tested a cessation programme on 50 patients with a history of heavy long-term snuff use.

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POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

A second tissue sample was taken from the same area of the mouth in 20 of the patients who took part in the programme and were tobacco-free after six months.

HIV virus hides in the brain

“We could see that the mucous membranes were still not normal six months after giving up, neither in a clinical examination nor under the microscope,” says Wallström.

Studies of the spinal fluid of patients given anti-HIV drugs have resulted in new findings suggesting that the brain can act as a hiding place for the HIV virus. Around a tenth of patients showed traces of the virus in their spinal fluid but not in their blood – a larger proportion than previously realised, reveals a thesis written by Arvid Edén.

He believes that this group of people should also be monitored after giving up snuff, as there is a suspicion that the risk of cancer is higher in former tobacco users, and previous research indicates that nicotine can affect the development of cancer.

“Antiviral treatment in the brain is complicated by a number of factors, partly because it is surrounded by a protective barrier that affects how well medicines get in. This means that the brain can act as a reservoir where treatment of the virus may be less effective.”

Stem cell therapy – a future treatment for lower back pain? Lower back pain affects many people and may be caused by degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae. Treatment for the condition using stem cells may be an alternative to today’s surgical procedures. This is the conclusion of a thesis written by Helena Barreto-Henriksson. The thesis describes how she and her colleagues studied cell division in the disc, and the possibility of influencing the disc through cell transplantation. “The advantage of such treatment over today’s surgical approaches is that it would be a much simpler and less serious procedure for the patient.”


Best theses of 2009 Best thesis at the Sahlgrenska Academy 2009: Christer Fransson, Prevalence, extent and severity of peri-implantitis

Best thesis at the Institute of Biomedicine: Malin Johansson, The MUC2 mucin – A network in the intestinal protective mucus

Best thesis at the Institute of Clinical Sciences: Ann De-Wahl Granelli, Pulse oximetry: Evaluation of a potential tool for early detection of critical congenital heart disease

The prize-winners for the best theses. Standing, left to right: Erik Portelius, Ann De-Wahl Granelli, Nina Khosravani and Pia Alsén. Seated, left to right: Christer Fransson, Malin Johansson and Anna-Karin Sjögren

A special ceremony in May saw prizes being awarded to seven Sahlgrenska Academy researchers for the best theses of 2009. The seven prizes are awarded each year to doctoral students who have completed their research and written theses of a particularly high standard. In addition to a prize-winner from each institute, a prize was given for the best thesis for the entire Academy in 2009. Best thesis of the Academy received SEK 60,000 the others received SEK 15,000 from Dr Arnt Vestby Research Foundation and a special diploma. The prize for best thesis went to Christer Fransson, who showed that bone loss around dental implants is far more common than previously realised.

Best thesis at the Institute of Health and Care Sciences: Pia Alsén, Illness perception and fatigue after myocardial infarction

Best thesis at the Institute of Medicine: Anna-Karin Sjögren, The Importance of Isoprenylation and Nf1 Deficiency in K-RAS-induced Cancer

Best thesis at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology: Erik Portelius, Targeted Abeta proteomics – A tool to study the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease

Best thesis at the Institute of Odontology: Nina Khosravani, On the Innervation of Salivary Glands and Treatment of Dry Mouth – An Experimental and Clinical Study

“I felt very grateful, proud and honoured to be given this magnificent prize. It’ll encourage me to continue to combine teaching with clinical research.” POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

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Enhancing our competitiveness

We need a clear

18

RESEARCH


vision Ulf Smith was Vice Dean of Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy from 2008 until May 2010. Among other things, he worked on increasing the Academy’s ability to attract strategic funding. “We can get better at this,” says Smith. “One important success factor is bringing together groups of researchers to create broader expertise and competence in ongoing research projects. We must therefore have a clear strategy for how we ensure nationally and internationally competitive research.” His ideas have won support on the Academy Board, which agrees that there is a need for a more radical vision for the Academy’s future development.

What is needed? “We’ve initiated and planned closer collaboration between basic and clinical research, which will benefit the Academy, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Region Västra Götaland and, ultimately, patients,” says Smith. “The next step is to create translational centres to serve as creative meeting places for basic researchers and clinical personnel where they can resolve the big healthcare issues. Our work on such centres is progressing, and I look forward to seeing the results.”

Sven Enerbäck takes over Sven Enerbäck took over from Ulf Smith as Vice Dean on 1 October 2010.

“It’s an exciting and challenging job. One important aspect is to continue the work begun by Ulf on further integrating basic research into more patientoriented clinical research,” says Enerbäck, who believes that his most important tasks for the future are to protect research and help create a research environment which is creative, open and welcoming. In this way, he can make it easier for new researchers to establish themselves and develop their research at the Academy. Vice Dean Sven Enerbäck

“I’m also looking forward to finding new ways of supporting established research at the Academy. And it’s important that we get better at landing external research funding.”

How will you achieve that? “By looking to push the quality of our research even higher, making us more competitive. But our researchers need support in the application process to achieve this. We have therefore recruited a research adviser to the Academy with the role of assisting researchers during this process.” Enerbäck also notes that while the Academy needs to facilitate high-quality research, much of the responsibility for achieving this still rests on the individual research group.

RESEARCH

19


Research developments New centres Strategic investment in Sahlgrenska Cancer Centre Together with Lund University, the University of Gothenburg has been awarded government funding to develop a strategic research field in cancer, 2010-2014. Professor Göran Stenman heads the centre at the Sahlgrenska Academy, which brings together researchers from a wide variety of fields – pathology, molecular medicine, urology, surgery, virology and oncology. The research ranges from basic research into cancer genetics and tumour biology to more clinically applied, patient-based research. “The idea is to develop a leading research field in cancer nationally and internationally and significantly increase levels of external research funding and the recruitment of leading researchers and clinicians to the field,” says Stenman. Gillberg Centre to contribute new knowledge “The creation of the Gillberg Centre is a tribute to neuropsychiatric R&D work at the University of Gothenburg,” says the centre’s director, professor Christopher Gillberg. “It spells a sharper focus on patient groups’ needs for better understanding, better treatment and clearer strategic investment in clinical and basic research in the field.”

University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centred Care (GPCC) opens The GPCC was opened in February by health minister Göran Hägglund. The new centre is part of the government’s strategic focus on particularly eminent research environments. The government has awarded funding of SEK 90 million over a five-year period for this multidisciplinary research programme looking into personcentred care for long-term illnesses. “Person-centred care focuses on the individual, not the illness, and starts with the patient’s experience of his or her situation,” explains the centre’s director, professor Inger Health minister Göran Hägglund opens the GPCC. Ekman. “By starting from the patient’s story rather than restricting our efforts to samples and tests, we can create more personal care and understand behaviours and symptoms from the individual patient’s perspective.”.

RED10 research evaluation The Gillberg Centre at the Sahlgrenska Academy is to serve as a platform for research and the development and establishment of new examination, investigation and treatment methods for conditions such as autism, ADHD and anorexia nervosa. The centre is being financed largely with funding from the Birgit and Sten A Olsson Foundation for research into mental handicaps.

20

RESEARCH

A total of 45 institutes at the University of Gothenburg were covered by the RED10 research evaluation during the year. RED10 stands for Research Evaluation for Development 2010 and is part of the Vice-Chancellor’s action plan to strengthen the University of Gothenburg. It began in December 2009 and is due to be completed in February 2011.


New grants Other activities during the year Medical conferences hosted 2010 was a record year for Gothenburg in terms of conference numbers, with the autumn especially busy. A variety of medical congresses were hosted by representatives of the Sahlgrenska Academy together with medical organisations. One example is the EADV dermatology conference, which brought around 6,000 clinicians and researchers from around the world to Gothenburg to learn about the latest advances in Swedish and international research in the field. The SICOT/ SIROT conference for orthopaedic surgeons was also wellattended, with around 3,000 participants from various parts of the world, making it the largest orthopaedic meeting ever held in Sweden. Permanent exhibition on Per-Ingvar Brånemark The spring saw the opening of an exhibition on Per-Ingvar Brånemark and the discovery of osseointegration. Professor emeritus Per-Ingvar Brånemark was behind one of the Sahlgrenska Academy’s most successful and commercially exploitable research breakthroughs. He developed a method of anchoring implants directly into the bone, which he termed osseointegration. A permanent exhibition has been put together in the Academicum building telling the story of the discovery and what it has led to. Professor emeritus Per-Ingvar Brånemark attended the opening of the exhibition.

The largest source of external grants in 2010 was the Swedish Research Council. Other major sources included the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the EU, the Swedish Research Council Formas and the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. The Sahlgrenska Academy received a total of SEK 106 million from the Swedish Research Council’s Scientific Council for Medicine and Health for medical research, four research assistant posts and a collaborative project. In addition, the single largest grant from the Swedish Research Council’s Scientific Council for Humanities and Social Sciences went to professor Lena Hartelius, who was awarded SEK 11.8 million, more than any other researcher at the Academy during the year. Hartelius and her team are looking into various forms of speech disorder in adults and children. Another large grant was won by professor Jan Borén, who landed SEK 10.5 million from the Swedish Research Council’s Scientific Council for Medicine and Health. He heads a research group looking at blood fats and atherosclerosis. The Swedish Research Council’s C o l l a b o r a t i o n Gr a n t f o r Translational and Multidisciplinary Research was awarded to researcher Professor Jan Borén tops the list of the researchers Marie Lagerqvist, who received a at the University of Gothenburg who won the most grant of SEK 3.9 million for research research funding in the period 2002-2010. into oestrogen’s protective effects on the bones. RESEARCH

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The following is a selection of the larger grants won from other sources:

Maria Falkenberg Gustafsson awarded SEK 15 million by ERC Docent Maria Falkenberg Gustafsson was awarded SEK 15 million by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of its Starting Grant 2010 scheme for researchers at the start of their careers who are looking to establish themselves as independent researchers in Europe. Gustafsson is studying the DNA molecules found in the mitochondria, small units inside cells whose role is to form the molecule ATP that cells need as their source of energy. A number of rare but often very serious diseases are caused by mitochondrial dysfunction.

Docent Lotta Delve

AFA grants for two occupational health projects Docent Lotta Delve and researcher Ralph Nilsson lead two of the projects that will be sharing grants of around SEK 5 million from AFA Insurance. Dellve was awarded around SEK 2.9 million to study how managers in healthcare and elderly care are affected by media pressure, while Nilsson received around SEK 2 million to study the incidence of cancer among seamen.

ERC awards Claes Gustafsson SEK 11 million Professor Claes Gustafsson from the Sahlgrenska

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Academy and Nils-Gรถran Larsson from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne were awarded a joint ERC Advanced Investigator Grant to look into the regulation of the expression of mitochondrial DNA over the next five years. A more in-depth understanding of this process will increase the chances of finding treatments for mitochondrial disorders in the future.

Professor Milos Pekny

SEK 5 million for research into recovery from brain damage AFA Insurance awarded grants totalling SEK 60 million to 11 research projects in a five-year R&D

programme in regenerative medicine. Professor Milos Pekny won SEK 5 million to create new strategies for rehabilitation and recovery from brain injuries

Prestigious grant for bone marrow research Professor emerita Elzbieta Jankowska and researcher Ingela Hammar were awarded SEK 6 million by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate the sensory and motor functions of the bone marrow in a threeyear research project also involving researcher Henrik Jรถrntell from Lund University and professor David Maxwell from the University of Glasgow.


Professor Lars Barregård

women. Barregård received SEK 2 million for his R&D project on cadmium and diabetes, while Larsson was awarded SEK 5 million for his project looking at how exceptionally high emissions impact on the development of antibiotics and the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Five researchers share SEK 11 million from FAS

Docent Joakim Larsson

Grant from Formas for sustainable development Professors Lars Barregård and Gerd Sällsten and docent Joakim Larsson landed grants for research into sustainable development from the Swedish Research Council Formas. Sällsten won SEK 2.3 million for research into long-distance and local air pollution’s effect on the risk of myocardial infarction in Swedish men and

EU countries. The project has been awarded EUR 100,000 per year for four years, making a total of around SEK 3.6 million. Senior Lecturers Marie Berg and Ingela Lundgren have been appointed to the management committee and are conducting research within the project’s focus areas.

Senior lecturer Marie Berg

EU funding for perinatal care research network This project, which has received EU funding for four years, aims to learn more about how care can be improved during pregnancy and childbirth. The project group currently includes 31 researchers in various fields from nine

Five researchers from the Academy shared grants from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS). The largest grant went to professor Annika Rosengren for research into cardiac prevention. She was awarded SEK 3 million for the Gothenburg part of PURE, a global study of the individual and social determinants of health.

Docent Jenny Nyström

SEK 2 million from the Inga-Britt and Arne Lundberg Research Foundation The Inga-Britt and Arne Lundberg Research Foundation awarded a grant of SEK 2 million to docent Jenny Nyström, who is researching rare kidney disorders in a collaborative project combining clinical and laboratory work locally, regionally and together with researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

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Distinctions and prizes The following are just some of the researchers who won recognition in 2010.

the Reeve-Irvine Research Medal by the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California. She was honoured for her research into the spine’s sensory and motor functions.

Sven and EbbaChristina Hagberg Award to Maria Falkenberg Gustafsson Docent Maria Falkenberg Gustafsson was one of the year’s two recipients of the Sven and EbbaChristina Hagberg Award “for her ground-breaking studies of DNA replication in mitochondria. The mitochondrion is the cell’s power plant, and disruption in its function can cause a range of diseases”.

Elzbieta Jankowska wins American research medal Professor emerita Elzbieta Jankowska was awarded

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These imbalances can cause parts of cancer genes to merge to form new genes which, in the long term, could be targets for cancer treatment.

Birgit Thilander honoured by City of Gothenburg

Prize to Kaj Blennow for research into Alzheimer’s The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECPN) awarded its major prize to professor Kaj Blennow in recognition of his research into Alzheimer’s disease and of the high scientific standards he has maintained for decades.

A ceremony in June saw professor emerita Birgit Thilander receiving the City of Gothenburg Order of Merit 2010. She was chosen for her eminent research into orthodontics and for her role in the building up and development of the Institute of Odontology.

Fredrik Persson wins Assar Gabrielsson Award Medical doctor and re s e a rc h e r Fre d r i k Persson received the Assar Gabrielsson Award for his thesis on the genomic imbalances in tumours.

Silver medal to heart researcher Annika Rosengren Every year the European Society of Cardiology Congress, the world’s largest conference for cardiologists, awards medals and hosts lectures to honour eminent scientists and pioneers in different areas. One of these is the Geoffrey Rose Lecture on Population Science, and in 2010 professor Annika Rosengren was chosen to


speak about her research into the changes in cardiovascular disease’s prevalence and prognosis, as well as how these can be explained.

Line Löken wins British prize The Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship is a distinction in biomedicine that is awarded to the most promising new postdoctoral researchers from EU countries. The prize finances a four-year period of study at the University of Oxford, where Line Löken will be part of a research team headed by professor Irene Tracey.

Prestigious accolades for Tomas Albrektsson 2010 brought several international accolades for professor Tomas Albrektsson, including becoming the first Swedish doctor to receive an Honorary Fellowship in Dental Surgery and become a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

K Fernström Prize, which is awarded to young, promising and successful researchers. He received it for his research into how bacteria in the gut affect obesity and diabetes.

Equality Prize to Anna Westerståhl

Fredrik Bäckhed awarded the Eric K Fernström Prize R e s e a r c h e r Fr e d r i k Bäckhed was one of six people to receive the Eric

The Swedish National Union of Students’ Equality Prize for 2010 went to medical doctor and researcher Anna Westerståhl in recognition of her many years of work on gender and LGBT issues, and her endeavours to integrate these into teaching at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Sven Enerbäck wins Swedish Society of Medicine prize The 2010 Swedish Society of Medicine’s Anniversary Prize went to professor Sven Enerbäck for his ground-breaking research into fat metabolism and fat cell differentiation, the results of which have not only improved treatment for obesity but also thrown light on the mechanisms behind other major common disorders such as adult-onset diabetes.

Göran Bondjers appointed honorary professor in Vietnam Professor Göran Bondjers was appointed honorary professor at Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam’s oldest university. The appointment was made in recognition of his many years of work to pave the way for research education at the university.

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Publications that made the headlines New explanation for cardiac arrest “We don’t yet know how common this disorder is – this is something that the future will hold now that we are in a position to make the correct diagnosis,” says professor Anders Oldfors, who headed up the research study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. The article details how a young man suffered a cardiac arrest but survived thanks to the work of the ambulance paramedics. An investigation at Sahlgrenska University Hospital led to the discovery of not only a new disorder but also how a defect in the protein glycogenin can lead to an energy crisis in the muscle cells and cause cardiac arrest.

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Medicine residues may threaten fish reproduction

risk factor for the ability of fish to reproduce.

Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy and Umeå University discovered that traces of many medicines can be found in fish that have been swimming in treated waste water. Published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the study shows that levonorgestrel – which is found in many contraceptive pills, including the morning-after pill – can impact on the environment and constitutes a

“If we know how our medicines affect the environment, we will be in a better position to choose environmentally friendly alternatives, though we must always put the health of patients first,” says Joakim Larsson, one of the researchers behind the study.

Stress in middle age may contribute to dementia “This is the first study to show that stress in middle age can lead to dementia in old age, and confirms similar findings from studies of animals,” says researcher Lena Johansson. Based on data from a study which followed women for 35 years, this is the first research in Sweden to indicate a link between stress

and dementia. The research, published in the scientific journal Brain, is based on a major population study of women from Gothenburg. “This study could result in a better understanding of the risk factors for dementia, but our results need to be confirmed by other studies, and further research is needed in the area.”.

Body´s bacteria affect atherosclerosis New findings suggest that bacteria in the mouth and intestine can affect the development of atherosclerosis. The results, which could lead to new treatment strategies, were published in the distinguished journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS. “We found that the bacteria Pseudomonas luteola and Chlamydia pneumoniae


were present in all atherosclerotic plaques and that several bacteria were found in the plaques and, primarily, the mouth but also the gut, of the same patient. These results would suggest that the bacteria can enter the body from the mouth and may ultimately contribute to inflammation of the plaque,” says researcher Fredrik Bäckhed.

Abnormalities in certain genes play a role in autism The prestigious journal Nature published an article stating that autism can be partially explained by abnormalities in certain genes. Co-authored by professor Christopher Gillberg (a member of the Autism Genome Project international research group), the article reveals that a survey of 1,000 individuals with autism and 1,300 without showed

that copy number variants (CNVs) – sub-microscopic abnormalities in the chromosomes – are heavily over-represented in autistic people. The study also provides evidence that other genes that are important for synapse development and communication between the nerve cells play a role in the origin of autism in some cases.

70-year-olds smarter than they used to be Today´s 70-year-olds do far better in intelligence tests than their predecessors. It has also become more difficult to detect dementia in its early stages, though forgetfulness is still an early symptom, reveals new research based on the H70 study published in the revered American journal Neurology.

“The improvement can partly be explained by better nutrition, better treatment of high blood pressure and other vascular diseases, and not least the greater intellectual requirements of today’s society, where access to advanced technology, television and the Internet has become part of everyday life,” says one of the authors, medical doctor Simona Sacuiu.

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“Our contribution to society and industry

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must increase and become more evident” Olle Larkö, Dean of the Sahlgrenska Academy, believes that one of the faculty’s most important roles is to interact with the outside world so that the knowledge generated can be shared and put to good use. This requires good relations with a variety of partners, both in Sweden and abroad. “I see our collaboration with the likes of Sahlgrenska University Hospital as an absolute necessity for the furthering of research, education and care.” Larkö gives special mention to the fora in place for discussing strategic R&D issues. The cooperation concept includes application and innovation so that the Academy’s research results can be made commercially viable and benefit patients.

Concrete results The Academy is involved in various initiatives to facilitate the application and commercialisation of medical, technical and care-related research results in Gothenburg. Inger Ekman, director of the University of Gothenburg Centre for PersonCentred Care (GPCC) and Vice Dean of the Sahlgrenska Academy, offers a concrete example of the application of research from the GPCC at Sahlgrenska University Hospital with good results: “Our research has led to better care for the individual patient and financial savings for the healthcare system in the form of shorter care periods and faster rehabilitation from longterm diseases.”

Olle Larkö mentions the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) at the University of Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law as a universitywide resource for research, education and collaboration in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship: “The IIE helps our researchers to start up businesses based on research results that may be ripe for commercialisation. Its advisers can give them information about protecting their intellectual property, which can be important. Our researchers also have opportunities to link up with other partners in the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, Region Västra Götaland and industry.”

Dean Olle Larkö

Larkö reports that the Academy recently recruited professor Maria Anvret to strengthen and develop its work in this area. She is used to dealing with these kinds of issues and has the right background for the role.

How can we develop this cooperation in the longer term? “We need to fine-tune and look after our good relations with our partners,” says Larkö. “Many of these relations have been built up over a long period of time and are important to us. From a national perspective, it’s important for universities to work with local government to share their research and avoid doubling up – for example, sharing local patient databases or collaborating on biobanks.” COOPERATION AND INNOVATION

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Our partners Cooperating with the outside world and providing information about our activities are part of the University’s mandate. The Sahlgrenska Academy naturally works closely with Region Västra Götaland and the Swedish Dental Service as well as industry in the region. Cooperation is a natural part of the daily work of research and teaching staff, but there is also a more formalised relationship regulated by a regional agreement between the University of Gothenburg and Region Västra Götaland.

Regional cooperation bodies Besides the over-arching cooperation body Hälso-SAM, there is a cooperation body for each of the Sahlgrenska Academy’s specialist fields:

Hälso-SAM Medi-SAM

Odont-SAM

Vård-SAM

Imaging & Intervention Centre One example of an area where cooperation is essential for a good result that benefits society is Region Västra Götaland’s investment in a new Imaging & Intervention Centre (BoIC) at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. The centre, which will use virtual technology to promote advances in diagnostics, treatment and research, is expected to be ready in 2015, and operational planning work is in full swing. In September the Sahlgrenska Academy and MedTech West held a threeday seminar “Imaging R & D in Western Sweden” which brought together leading representatives of Swedish research 30

COOPERATION AND INNOVATION

and healthcare in the field of imaging and visualisation, as well as researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Borås and the region’s medical technology industry. The seminar was intended as a means of finding new ways of working together and building links that can result in good solutions for the BoIC. The conclusion from the seminar is that a working party should be set up to organise the academic contribution to the development of the centre.

Initiatives that bring together industry, healthcare and research

Gothia Forum for Clinical Research is a meeting place and resource centre for research collaboration in the Västra Götaland region. Medtech West is a centre for research, development and innovation in the field of medical technology. The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) at the School of Business, Economics and Law is the University of Gothenburg’s platform for knowledge-based business development. Sahlgrenska Science Park has been tasked with promoting innovation by giving researchers advice and support when embarking on business start-ups. GöteborgBIO aims to create a solid base for long-term growth in the biomedical field in the region by translating cutting-edge academic research into innovations in industry and applications in healthcare. Gothenburg International Bioscience Business School (GIBBS) is a unique master’s programme in medically-oriented business development. The aim is to train students in innovation and entrepreneurship in preparation for roles as managers and entrepreneurs at biomedical companies.


New research magazine The Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital produced a joint research magazine for the first time in 2010, SAHLGRENSKA. The theme for the magazine was the heart, and the articles provided an insight into what the two organisations together have to offer when it comes to research and high-quality healthcare. The magazine was sent to around 3,000 people in leading positions across Sweden and was also handed out to staff and patients.

during the year. The website presented around 160 news items from our activities, around 80 of which were distributed as press releases to the media in Sweden and abroad. Some news about clinical research was presented in collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s information department. In June, for example, the media were invited to a press seminar in connection with the 5,000th kidney transplant at the hospital. Our information department arranged 250 separate contacts between the media and researchers or other staff at the Academy during the year.

A creative environment for clinical research Under the slogan “A creative environment for clinical research”, the Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital took a joint stand at the Swedish Society of Medicine’s annual meeting, held in Gothenburg in 2010. The idea was to focus on an area where we are strong and so garner attention and attract researchers and other staff. The stand presented examples from ongoing clinical research into multimodal sensory stimulation, a field of neuroscience, and visitors were also able to meet active researchers from other fields.

Media relations and popular science The Sahlgrenska Academy works actively on media relations and was highly successful in communicating research news

The interior of the joint Sahlgrenska Academy/Sahlgrenska University Hospital stand at the Swedish Society of Medicine’s 2010 annual meeting in Gothenburg..

Researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy participated in numerous popular science events. A radio programme on the national station P4 had researchers from the Academy on hand to answer listeners’ medical questions. As part of the International Science Festival in Gothenburg, a Public Health Day was arranged for adults and an “Ask the Doctor” session for children of school age COOPERATION AND INNOVATION

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The Public Health Day spanned everything from the key role of nature and gardens in the rehabilitation of stressrelated illnesses to the latest research findings on how to maintain wellbeing as we grow older. The “Ask the Doctor” panel welcomed almost 120 children with questions about how the human body works. The Academy’s participation in the festival was a joint effort with Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the Nordic School of Public Health (NHV).

Region Västra Götaland and the Sahlgrenska Academy are behind a new simulator centre opened at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in 2010 which enables staff and students to learn and practise new methods effectively, both individually and in groups.

Popular science lectures are much appreciated and well attended events. The Sahlgrenska Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research organised a series of seminars for the general public during the spring, and heart disease was the theme for five different lectures in the Researchers Speak programme during the autumn which attracted a combined audience of 1,800 people.

The faculty’s management attended many meetings and events during the year.These included the huge Expo 2010 international fair in Shanghai in which more than 200 countries and international organisations took part.

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Honorary doctorates in 2010 The Sahlgrenska Academy Board awarded honorary doctorates to professors Richard W Price and John R Riordan in 2010 in tribute to their contributions and research in the Academy’s research fields. They received their doctoral hats at the University’s conferral ceremony in October 2010.

Professor Richard W Price

Professor Richard W Price from the University of California, San Francisco was awarded an honorary doctorate for being a world authority in neurological AIDS research. His definition of the AIDS dementia complex has created international diagnostic criteria, and his research into how HIV attacks the brain and how antiretroviral therapy prevents this is world-leading.

The Sahlgrenska Academy began collaborating with Price’s research group in San Francisco and groups from Australia and Italy in 2000. The collaboration has been successful and has generated both funding and scientific articles. Richard W Price was also a visiting researcher at the Institute of Biomedicine in spring 2009, during which time he was a source of inspiration for infection specialists and virologists at the Academy engaged in HIV-related research.

He also contributed to increased collaboration within the faculty between neurochemists and Alzheimer’s researchers. Professor John R Riordan from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was also awarded an honorary doctorate in 2010. In the words of the Academy Board: “John R Riordan excels in his scientific integrity and scientific standards. His discovery of the CFTR ion channel and exploration of its structure and function have led to fantastic advances in cystic fibrosis research. He has a well-established relationship with the Academy as both visiting researcher and super- Professor John R Riordan visor, and his ambitiousness has influenced and inspired research at the Academy.” Riordan’s research concerns cystic fibrosis, one of the most common hereditary diseases, which has a severe prognosis and demands substantial healthcare resources. Since his discovery, Riordan has been a world-leading researcher in the field and has paved the way for new insights into CFTR. He has collaborated with the University of Gothenburg since the late 1990s and was a visiting researcher at the Academy in 2001. He has also supervised doctoral students from the faculty at his laboratory in Scottsdale, USA.

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Three become one – Sahlgrenska Academy Student Union The Academy previously had three separate student unions: one for health sciences, one for odontology and one for medicine. In summer 2010 they merged to create Sahlgrenska Academy Student Union (SAKS). “One reason for the merger was the abolition of compulsory student union membership in Sweden during the summer, which led to considerable financial uncertainty,” explains Erik Strandmark, chairman of SAKS. “Our experience since the merger is that a combined union is more efficient than having three separate organisations doing the same thing. We also have a clearer identity, leading to greater student influence, and we know more about what students need from us and how we can best help them.”

Has the abolition of compulsory student union membership had any effects? “Definitely. All 5,000 students at the Sahlgrenska Academy were union members until compulsory membership was abolished. Around 60% of them are still members. This is a smaller decrease than we feared, but we still have a lot of work to do to attract more members. We also need a larger number of active representatives who can influence decisionmakers at the Academy and the University to further improve students’ situation.”. SAKS chairman Erik Strandmark and Doctoral Student Council chairwoman Karolina Roughton.

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SAKS participated in a consultation during the year on the new Rules and Regulations for studies at the University of


Gothenburg presented by the Vice-Chancellor at the beginning of the year. “These are designed to assist students and teaching staff, so it felt important for us to be active in their development and ensure better conditions for students.” Strandmark anticipates further tasks in 2011, including quality assurance of the placement period for the study programmes, as students are increasingly having to do their placements right across the Västra Götaland region due to a shortage of places locally, so having to commute to work or live somewhere else during their placement period. “But the most important thing of all in the longer term is to establish the Sahlgrenska Academy Student Union brand at every level and market the benefits that the union offers members.”

Karolina Roughton on doctoral students in 2010 Karolina Roughton chaired the Doctoral Student Council, which comes under SAKS, and also served as Doctoral Ombudsman in 2010, helping doctoral students who run into problems during their studies.

During the year, the council fought to make doctoral students’ teaching duties more evenly and fairly distributed. As things stand, Roughton says, some students feel that they have so much teaching that they cannot cope with their workload, while others have no teaching at all. “Some have also said that they’re not being paid for the work they’re putting into their teaching. We want to see the same rules and opportunities for all doctoral students at the Academy.”

How will you achieve this? “We think there should be a review of how much teaching is being done in areas where doctoral students are active, and where there is an uneven distribution, there needs to be collaboration between departments and institutes, which is not the case today. We also think that all doctoral students at the Academy should be formally employed with teaching as part of their duties. These issues have been raised with the Council for Postgraduate Studies and the Academy Board,” says Roughton, who hopes that these discussions will eventually lead to better terms for doctoral students.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to help these students when problems have arisen, such as a change of supervisor,” she says. “Vice Dean Börje Haraldsson has been a major asset in this work.”

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Institute of Biomedicine

Multidisciplinary collaboration for competitive research The newly formed Sahlgrenska Cancer Centre comes under the Institute of Biomedicine, which is headed by Anders Oldfors. “We’re proud that the centre has become a reality, thanks partly to strategic funding from the government,” he says. “We managed to win this funding through teamwork between the Academy and the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University.”

Head

Anders Oldfors

Deputy Head

Claes Gustafsson

Employees

271 (of whom 8 co-opted)

Revenue

SEK 283.3 million

Doctorates awarded

The Cancer Centre brings most of the cancer research at the Academy together in one place, which will contribute new knowledge in the field. “I believe that researchers’ different skills are important for rewarding collaborations which, in turn, can lead to new advances and, I hope, more research funding,” says Oldfors. The institute also won other large grants during the year, including from the European Research Council (ERC).

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Peer-reviewed articles 283

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“It’s important for us to win funding and prizes despite fierce national and international competition. Another example is

Sven Enerbäck, who was awarded a much sought-after Söderberg Professorship during the year. This raises the institute’s profile and helps attract researchers from other institutions,” says Oldfors, citing transplant researcher Jan Holgersson from Stockholm and genetics researcher Chandrasekhar Kanduri from Uppsala as among the year’s new recruits. The Vice-Chancellor’s RED10 evaluation of research at the University of Gothenburg revealed very high standards of research at the institute. It also showed that some small research groups finding themselves at a competitive disadvantage could benefit from working together more, and points out a need to recruit further competitive researchers to strengthen and complement its successful research environments. Much of the training for doctors and biomedical analysts takes place within the institute, and a generation change is under way among the teaching staff due to retirement. “A great deal is expected of this training, and when valuable resources are lost we have to review our staffing so that our teaching retains its quality,” says Oldfors.


Institute of Clinical Sciences

In the spotlight thanks to Nobel Prize “By far the most important event for us in 2010 was the award of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to IVF pioneer Bob Edwards,” says Ian Milsom, head of the Institute of Clinical Sciences. The institute is still home to some of the researchers on the team behind the very first test-tube baby in the Nordic region in 1978. “The media were therefore very interested in quotes from our researchers, and the institute also received a lot of positive attention for its previous research and for continuing to conduct extensive research into infertility today.” Milsom says that the year also brought a wealth of publications, funding and prestigious prizes for the institute. “It’s always good to see colleagues gaining recognition for their work.” Milsom himself had confirmation of the quality of research at the institute when, as representative for the Sahlgrenska Academy, he was invited by the Swedish government to take part in the Expo 2010 world fair in China.

“China has big problems with an ageing population and wants to know more about how we have handled the situation in Sweden with various age-related ailments.” One of the institute’s goals is to have a broader international perspective, and this ties in well with the Vice-Chancellor’s RED10 evaluation, which highlighted the institute’s strengths and weaknesses. “I think we have to start marketing ourselves right from the medicine programme to bring in younger faces, as well as recruit clinicians looking to get into research and attract foreign researchers with an international outlook. This is the answer to keeping our research at the highest level.”. One challenge for the future is the increase in places in the medicine programme, which means a need for more clinical placements. Milsom says that the institute will struggle to find more places for medical students, as most of this is clinical.

Head

Ian Milsom

Deputy Head

Jan-Erik Damber

Employees

238 (of whom 24 co-opted)

Revenue

SEK 210.3 million

Doctorates awarded “We’re therefore in talks right now at regional level to prepare the health service and find places for more medical students.”

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Peer-reviewed articles 534

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Institute of Health and Care Sciences

Leader in health sciences research and education

Head

Ingela Lundgren

The year began with the opening of the University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centred Care (GPCC) to promote research into care for long-term illnesses, financed with strategic funding from the government and the University.

“As part of the Vice-Chancellor’s RED10 evaluation, we found that our theses were the most downloaded at the Sahlgrenska Academy and that we more than quadrupled the number of published scientific articles,” says Lundgren.

“The aim is to create a national centre of excellence within five years and establish the University of Gothenburg as the leading university in care research in Europe,” says Inger Ekman, director of the GPCC and, until November 2010, head of the Institute of Health and Care Sciences.

Several areas of research at the institute have considerable development potential with rewarding collaborations with both other disciplines at the Academy and other faculties at the University.

Deputy Head

The GPCC is a unique venture in clinical point-of-care research.

Employees

“We’re delighted that this multidisciplinary centre is being managed from the Institute of Health and Care Sciences,” says Ingela Lundgren, current head of the institute.

Karin Ahlberg

140 (of whom 11 co-opted)

Revenue

SEK 134.4 million

Doctorates awarded 9

Peer-reviewed articles 97

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During the year, the institute worked on strengthening the research basis of its study programmes and developed teaching models for theoretical and clinical education to adapt to future healthcare.

Lundgren says that the institute plans to review how aspects of both education and research can be strengthened and made more efficient, which makes staff planning important, not least ahead of the coming generation change. There are also plans to develop and market contract education programmes internationally. “It’s important to manage strategic research funding well and continue work on the institute’s rapid development as a leader in care sciences research and education, both nationally and internationally,” says Lundgren.


Institute of Medicine

Good relations – a recipe for success The Institute of Medicine is the largest of the Academy’s six institutes, and this is reflected in its research funding. Of the SEK 100 million that the Sahlgrenska Academy won from the Swedish Research Council in 2010, SEK 45 million went to the Institute of Medicine. “We drew up guidelines during the year for which collaborative projects we will prioritise in our long-term focus on successful research,” says Hans Carlsten, head of the Institute of Medicine. “To achieve this, I believe in international recruitment to raise standards and bring new perspectives to our research activities. We have therefore launched a visiting researcher programme to raise our international profile, with nine researchers linked to the institute. We are also recruiting successful researchers from Germany and Italy to permanent posts.” 2010 saw the climate of cooperation within the institute continue to bloom and an increase in employees’ enthusiasm. Carlsten puts this down to many factors, including

good internal work on the institute’s research strategies, mutual respect between research groups, and many researchers being successful in terms of high-profile publications and prizes. “The institute’s departments also need to work more closely together,” he says. To increase collaboration within the institute, a series of seminars was launched during the year where different research leaders discussed their research projects. The RED10 evaluation made its mark on the year, with extensive work on self-assessment at the institute. The conclusion was that there are research groups with considerable potential for international success in their fields and that there is a good atmosphere in the institute. “I think that we have strong foundations and have come a long way towards being a leading European medical research body in our focus areas,” says Carlsten.

Head

Hans Carlsten

Deputy Head Henrik Sjövall

Employees

437 (of whom 27 co-opted)

Revenue

SEK 370.6 million

Doctorates awarded 37

Peer-reviewed articles 575

39


Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology

Sharing knowledge for good research results “It was a joy to see the opening of the Gillberg Centre, which will promote continued advances and new knowledge in neuropsychiatry and developmental neurology in areas such as autism, ADHD and anorexia nervosa,” says Agneta Holmäng, head of the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology.

Head

Agneta Holmäng

Deputy Head Jane Carlsson

Employees

309 (of whom 18 co-opted)

Revenue

SEK 308.2 million

Doctorates awarded 30

Peer-reviewed articles 376

40

The institute also worked with Region Västra Götaland and Sahlgrenska University Hospital during the year to establish a regional stroke centre, as the region has the potential to take stroke care to high international standards. “This would mean a boost for stroke care in general and greater sharing of knowledge between basic research, clinical research and specialist care, which are all found within the institute, but also through collaboration with other environments at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Region Västra Götaland and Chalmers University of Technology.”

Together with Sahlgrenska University Hospital, the institute moved another step closer to a psychiatric research and training centre to provide education of the highest quality in the field of psychiatry. The vision for the centre is to lead the way in clinical psychiatric research and education. On the education front, the institute is working hard to start up a four-year audiology programme from autumn 2011. The aim is to offer audiological training of a very high international standard. The institute is also preparing for the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education’s evaluation of its study programmes in the coming year. “Looking ahead, we will be working with the Academy to produce a career plan for young researchers dimensioned in line with our resources,” says Holmäng. “We hope this will stimulate continued growth in external funding. One big problem in the longer term is that erosion of government funding is making us increasingly dependent on external funding, which naturally complicates career planning.”


Institute of Odontology

Developing tomorrow’s dentistry “In 2010 we continued to focus on the new study plan for the dental surgery programme and advanced-level courses,” says Annika Ekestubbe, head of the Institute of Odontology. It is still too early to see concrete results from the changes made to teaching, but a research project has been launched together with the University’s Faculty of Education. “The results of this will improve our teaching, not only on the dental surgery programme but also on the dental hygiene and dental technology programmes.” During the autumn, the institute introduced supplementary training for dentists who qualified in non-EU/EEA countries. A total of 12 dentists are taking part in the programme. The year also saw work on the ViceChancellor’s RED10 evaluation and collaboration with the Swedish Dental Service in the Västra Götaland region. A joint research council was set up at the end of the year to prepare matters for the overarching body for cooperation between the

faculty and the Swedish Dental Service, Odont-SAM. “The research council will give us more time to examine research issues before decisions are taken by Odont-SAM, such as which research areas we should prioritise in the future and how a joint skills development plan should be designed and funded,” says Ekestubbe, who is keen to see more fora for discussing strategic issues. The work on the RED10 evaluation included discussion of the need to develop research strategies for the future. The Swedish Research Council has also noted that some established dental practices have no scientific foundation and is planning a conference on odontological research in 2011. “In 2011 we will concentrate on what we need to develop for the future,” says Ekestubbe. “For example, therapeutic research needs to be reviewed, as shown by the national dentistry guidelines. Another challenge is to ensure renewal in our research. It’s important for us to retain complete research and teaching environments at a time of generational change.”

Head

Annika Ekestubbe

Deputy Head

Agneta Robertson

Employees

115 (of whom 8 co-opted)

Revenue

SEK 165,2 millionr

Doctorates awarded 11

Peer-reviewed articles 87

41


Environment and sustainable development

Committed to sustainable development The Sahlgrenska Academy works actively on environmental issues through an Environmental Council consisting of environmental coordinators from all of the faculty’s institutes. Its environmental management system is certified to ISO 14001 and registered under the EU’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). The Environmental Council works systematically on environmental issues on the basis of the environmental management system and promotes continuous improvements. This is achieved through regular environmental audits, and the results are measured partly through the annual environmental report.

New element in environmental action plan “A draft new action plan for 2011-2015 was drawn up by the Environmental Council during the autumn, and an exciting and important new element has been added to the plan – student involvement,” says Mats Sandberg, professor of biochemistry and environmental coordinator at the Sahlgrenska Academy. He hopes that this initiative will result in students becoming more involved in environmental work and participating actively in student-initiated environmental and sustainability projects.

system and receives regular updates. Staff work actively and enthusiastically with the environmental management system.”

Sustainable development in education Barbro Robertsson, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Health and Care Sciences, has been active both locally and nationally to develop the Academy’s work on sustainable development in its undergraduate programmes. She led a working party on the integration of sustainable development into all study programmes in 2010 and will present the results in a report in 2011. In the autumn term, the introductory lecture on sustainable development offered to all new students by Mats Sandberg for several years now was made more interactive and included more elements where students could take part and shape the content of the lecture.

Green light for the faculty’s environmental work The environmental management system underwent its annual assessment by external and internal environmental auditors from a number of the Academy’s institutes during the year. Mats Sandberg says that the results were largely very positive. Comments included: “The Sahlgrenska Academy has a well-structured environmental management system, and its website provides a good picture of all of this work. Management is familiar with the environmental management 42

Environmental lecture series A series of lectures on the environment and sustainable development are arranged for students and staff each autumn. The theme in 2010 was how the environment affects our health. “Lecturers from the Department of Environmental Medicine and doctoral students from the Environment & Health graduate school provided a much-appreciated and educational programme,” says Sandberg.


Human resources

Continued focus on job satisfaction The Sahlgrenska Academy works continuously on developing managers and other employees on the basis of its operational targets. This includes elements such as staffing, recruitment and succession management.

on favourable terms, it is hoped that some of these students will choose a long-term research career. A teaching assistant programme in medicine is already established, and equivalent programmes were launched during the year in odontology and in health and care sciences.

Focus on employeeship Ten staff training programmes have been carried out since the start in 2007, and 270 people have now completed the training. Evaluations show that participants are satisfied, with 87% finding the training useful and 67% finding it inspiring. The aim is to develop “employeeship” in the faculty – to increase participation and influence, promote acceptance of responsibility and create opportunities for personal and professional development.

A major effort has been made to recruit recent recipients of doctorates as postdoctoral students to create openings for a continued research career. Altogether, the Academy Board earmarked SEK 9 million for strategic initiatives and recruitment in 2010.

“The feedback from managers has also been positive – awareness and acceptance of responsibility in the workplace have improved,” says Christin Wackerberg, Director of Human Resources.

Recruitment The recruitment process for teaching staff has been reviewed and made more efficient during the year with the aim of improving and developing recruitment work. A website with relevant information about all recruitment cases, past and present, has been created to facilitate contact with applicants and streamline internal work. One way of retaining skills and ensuring renewal among the teaching staff is to get students to participate in teaching assistant programmes with the aim of stimulating interest in medical research and teaching. By offering students an opportunity to dedicate a period to research and teaching

Discussions at the faculty’s Management Day.

Leadership on the agenda Several of the Sahlgrenska Academy’s managers underwent the University’s compulsory management training during the year. In addition, the Academy arranged a programme in leadership and employeeship, and a joint Management Day for managers with staff and health & safety responsibilities. During the Management Day, Region Västra Götaland CEO Johan Assarsson spoke about the region’s importance for Gothenburg and Sweden. 43


Future recruitment needs

New recruits in 2010

As the Sahlgrenska Academy faces a wave of retirements and has added new research fields, there will continue to be a major need to recruit teaching staff. A conference on strategic staffing is being planned for spring 2011, where the entire management of the faculty’s units will meet representatives from the Human Resources Department.

The Sahlgrenska Academy advertised 12 positions in medical research externally in 2010. The aim was to attract cuttingedge research in a wide field by recruiting good researchers, both young and more established.

“We will be reporting back on ongoing strategic initiatives and presenting the need for new personnel going forward,” says Christin Wackerberg. “This is the third conference on staffing the Academy has organised since 2007.”

Five research assistants previously funded through the Swedish Research Council were kept on as researchers. A professorship in global health was created, and a research assistant in medical technology was appointed as part of the MedTech West joint venture with Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Borås, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Region Västra Götaland.

EMPLOYEES AT THE SAHLGRENSKA ACADEMY 2008-2010 Number of employees1) Percentage change from previous year Full-time equivalents2) Percentage change from previous year

2010

2009

2008

1617

1579

1477

2,4

6,9

1,1

1337

1299

1251

2,9

3,8

3,4

405

409

382

Full-time equivalents by type1) Teaching staff Other teaching and research staff

506

479

458

Administrative staff

229

211

199

Technical staff

220

227

235

1) Including externally funded co-opted staff not paid by University of Gothenburg

2)Excluding externally funded co-opted staff not paid by University of Gothenburg

44


New professors in 2010 A total of 13 people were appointed as or promoted to professors at the Sahlgrenska Academy in 2010, and nine as adjunct professors.

Five of these are women, and 17 are men. As at October 2010, the faculty had 235 active professors, of whom 47 were adjunct professors and 25% were female..

New professors in 2010

New adjunct professors in 2010

Rune Andersson, professor of global health

Gerd Sällsten, adjunct professor of occupational and environmental hygiene

Martin Bergö, professor of molecular medicine specialising in molecular mechanisms for the development of cancer and premature ageing Peter Bernhardt, professor of radiophysics Mikael Dellborg, professor of cardiology specialising in adults with congenital heart defects Lena Hartelius, professor of speech and language pathology Jan Holgersson, professor of transplantation immunology Mats Isaksson, professor of radiophysics Gudmundur Johannsson, professor of hormonal regulation of metabolism specialising in neuroendocrine regulation Jón Karlsson, professor of orthopaedics specialising in sport traumatology Per Lindahl, professor of medical and physiological chemistry specialising in cardiovascular developmental biology

Lars Gerhardsson, adjunct professor of occupational and environmental medicine specialising in chemical and physical health risks Stefan Lundin, adjunct professor of anaesthesiology and intensive care Eva Millqvist, adjunct professor of clinical allergology Håkan Olausson, adjunct professor of clinical neurophysiology specialising in neuroimaging Lars Rosengren, adjunct professor of neurology specialising in stroke Anna Rudin, adjunct professor of rheumatology and inflammation research Magnus Ruth, adjunct professor of ear, nose and throat disorders Ann-Marie Wennberg, adjunct professor of dermatology and venereology

Hanns-Ulrich Marschall, professor of clinical hepatology Martin Rydmark, professor of medical informatics and computer-assisted education Pentti Tengvall, professor of biomaterial science specialising in surface modifications and surfaces’ interaction with macromolecules

45


Finances

Continuing positive trend in finances The Sahlgrenska Academy continues to make positive progress, reporting an operating surplus of SEK 91 million for 2010. The surplus was due primarily to revenue growing substantially more than budgeted. Changes in accounting policies for the closing of externally funded projects also made a major contribution. The Academy’s six institutes all reported operating surpluses and all have positive retained surpluses in their balance sheets.

Revenue The Sahlgrenska Academy’s revenue has grown healthily in recent years and continued to do so in 2010. Revenue totalled almost SEK 2.1 billion, which is more than budgeted. The faculty’s income statement suggests a decrease in grant revenue from 2009 to 2010, but this is not entirely correct, as some direct funding under the government’s research policy bill was paid out through the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency as “grants” in 2009 for technical reasons. In actual fact, the Academy’s grant revenue increased from 2009 to 2010. Grant revenue is now much higher than a few years ago. The Academy received around SEK 558 million in external funding in 2010, compared with SEK 343 million four years ago. By far the largest source is the Swedish Research Council, while other major contributors include the EU, the Swedish Cancer Society, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, Region Västra Götaland, the Jubilee Cancer Clinic Research Fund and the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation. Contract revenue continued to decrease, falling to SEK 62 million in 2010.

Costs Total costs were higher than budgeted at almost SEK 2 billion, roughly SEK 100 million more than in 2009. Of the SEK 67 million overshoot, payroll costs accounted for the largest share at SEK 42 million.

46


Capital The Academy had total administrative capital of almost SEK 240 million on 31 December 2010. Administrative capital is a measure of the wealth of public sector bodies and corresponds to the concept of equity capital in the private sector. This is a substantial increase since the end of 2009, when administrative capital totalled SEK 149 million. Retained surpluses increased by SEK 91 million due to the year’s surplus.

INCOME STATEMENT 2009 OCH 2010 (SEK MILLION) Revenue

762

694

ALF (medical) and TUA (dental) funding

473

456

Contracts Sales Income from indirect costs and internal grants Grants

The Academy’s balance sheet shows unspent grant and contract funding of SEK 635 million at the end of the year, down SEK 4 million on a year earlier. The reduction is due to a large number of externally funded activities being closed in the 2010 accounts in line with the University’s new guidelines. However, the large inflow of new revenue during the year meant that unspent funds did not decrease to any major extent. The combination of sharply rising revenue and lagged cost growth is one reason for the increase in unspent funds in recent years. The Institute of Medicine has the most unspent grant and contract funding at SEK 223 million.

62

90

148

145

70

83

561

574

6

22

-11

-64

Financial revenue Accrual of ongoing contracts Coverage of depreciation of grant-funded assets

Unspent funds

2010 2009

Direct government funding/advances

Depreciation of grant-funded assets

Total revenue

29

31

-32

-41

2 068

1 990

Costs Staff costs Doctoral students/doctoral grants

-771

-733

-73

-67

Other operating costs

-283

-266

ALF (medical) and TUA (dental) funding

-473

-456

Indirect costs and internal grants

-192

-200

Premises costs

-126

-125

Financial costs

0

0

Depreciation

-45

-49

Total costs

-1 963

-1 896

Transfers Received

20

15

Paid

-34

-27

Total transfers

-14

-12

91

82

Years’s change in capital

47


Produced in 2011 by Sahlgrenska Academy’s Public Relation Office Contact info@sahlgrenska.gu.se Photography Erik Betshammar (p. 22) Sorian Binder/stock.XCHNG (p 28) Magnus Gotander/Bilduppdraget (p. 7, 13, 24-27, 31) Getty Images/Stockbyte Silver (p. 38-43) GöteborgBIO (p. 15) Claudia Maeyer/stock.XCHNG (p. 17) Håkan Moberg/Swedish Match (p. 18) Sveriges Riksbank (p. 48) Sofia Sabel (p. 2, 45) stock.XCHNG (p. 29, 44) Sven Enerbäck (p. 21) Johan Wingborg/GU (p. 23, 26) Sahlgrenska Academy’s Public Relation Office (p. 19, 36) Illustrations Linnea Andersson/Business Branding Marknadskommunikation Print Geson Hylte Tryck AB, Gothenburg

48


Research and Education – the key to future health  

The Sahlgrenska Academy annual report 2010

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