In October last year, SciLifeLab finalized a report to the International Advisory Board (IAB), and a virtual IAB visit took place on October 19-22, 2021. The IAB has now finished their strategic evaluation, and has compiled a report with recommendations aiming to further strengthen SciLifeLab as a leading national research infrastructure.
“It is of course very pleasing to read the overall enthusiasm from the IAB on the progress and fulfillment of their expectations since the last visit. In addition, the IAB calls for an increased level of ambition for SciLifeLab in taking the lead in the continued development of Swedish Life Science, which is very inspiring for the future work”, says Ylva Engström, chair of the SciLifeLab Board.
“We are very happy about the feedback from the IAB, which is very insightful, as before, and many of the suggestions are actionable. We have previously tried to work according to the advice provided whenever possible, so this review is always influential regarding the future strategy and actions of SciLifeLab. Of the current suggestions, it will be interesting to discuss with the board and the SciLifeLab stakeholders regarding e.g. the IAB suggestion to promote excellence across the board in research, data and infrastructure. For the new program of data-driven life science, the suggestions are valuable at the early stage of this KAW-supported program”, says the SciLifeLab Director Olli Kallioniemi.
“The IAB really gave valuable feedback and recommendations regarding our infrastructure. Various aspects, such as a nationally distributed governance, increasing quality measures of research produced, increased connection to European infrastructures (ESFRIs) and more closely integrating SciLifeLab infrastructure with SciLifeLab research, and in particular our Fellows, were addressed”, says SciLifeLab Infrastructure Director, Annika Jenmalm Jensen.
The SciLifeLab board pointed out two aspects in the report: i) SFO support in the future is not known, but it is expected to continue, ii) the statement on the relatively poor citation statistics for Sweden is a reflection of the VR report from 2019 that was discussed during the visit. However, more recent statistics suggest improvement, and statistics for life science are much better than for most other fields.
The report contains numerous pieces of advice but as a conclusion, the IAB highlighted five major topics for consideration.
1) Complete the integration into a truly national research infrastructure with a strong Hub and distributed Nodes with complementary strengths.
2) Provide a mechanism for independent quality management for the research that is served by SciLifeLab infrastructure, promoting excellence across the board.
3) Leverage the integrated capabilities that have proven their value in the pandemic response to support large-scale visionary research.
4) Integrate the different fellows into a Swedish young investigator program with international recruitment based on excellence and competitive mid-career support.
5) Leverage Campus Solna to train the next generation of interdisciplinary leaders needed to move Swedish life science to the forefront internationally.
Over the coming 2-3 months, SciLifeLab will now contemplate how these suggestions could be implemented and decide which ones should be pursued with the highest priority. SciLifeLab management will provide a report in response to the IAB recommendations that will be discussed with the board and then sent back to the IAB.
We warmly welcome any input and suggestions that our research community might have.
Follow the link below to submit your suggestions.