Uppsala University and Akademiska Hus are jointly investing SEK 177 million in expanding the Uppsala Biomedical Center (BMC). The goal is to provide medical and molecular bioscience researchers at the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) with a meeting place of international stature.
SciLifeLab, a collaboration between Uppsala University, Karolinska Institute, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Stockholm University, represents Sweden’s largest investment to date in life sciences research and was created with the aim of being a national resource and a leading player in international research.
SciLifeLab’s Uppsala operations are currently spread over a number of locations at Uppsala University. The new construction project will provide these operations with a more coherent base, in existing areas of BMC and in the new Navet building. A stimulating, creative environment where researchers who previously were based at different addresses can gather is being created in the new five-story “Navet” (“Hub”) building.
The Uppsala node is lead by Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, a professor of comparative genomics at Uppsala University who is also involved in research at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a world-leading American biomedical centre that served as a model for and inspired the infrastructural consolidation of BMC. She points out that bringing researchers closer to one another and to shared technical platforms/methods involves real advantages.
“It’s a matter of drawing together researchers from different departments, faculties and higher education institutions around joint methods,” she explains. “When people with different backgrounds meet in a workaday context, novel opportunities for attacking difficult problems arise.”
The Navet building will feature a “central square” to encourage planned and unplanned meetings among people working within the various research disciplines comprised by SciLifeLab operations. The new building will have a freer architectural form than existing BMC structures. Glass walls capable of being opened up will allow greater insight into activities in the various office spaces. There will also be plenty of room for guest researchers from other higher education institutions in Sweden and abroad.
The project is a strategic investment for Uppsala University, according to Britt Skogseid, Vice-Rector of the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy.
“SciLifeLab already represents an intensive, successful initiative in one of the University’s premier areas of research,” she says. “The new investment will increase the interfaces among researchers, providing additional stimulus to development.”
The project will encompass a total of 11,000 sq m. Construction is expected to begin in May and to be completed in the autumn of 2013.