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First call for UiO's new innovation programme SPARK Norway

SPARK Norway is a two-year innovation programme to further develop ideas within health-related life sciences for the benefit of patients and society. Researchers from UiO and affiliated research groups at OUS or Ahus can apply UiO:Life Science to be included in the programme.

SPARK Norway is an innovation programme for researchers who work on health-related topics in the life science domain and want to further develop innovative ideas from their own research.

Researchers who are admitted to the SPARK Norway programme will receive mentoring, milestone-based funding, advising and education. The aim of the programme is to get more innovation out of basic research.

Annual calls

SPARK Norway will have annual calls. The first open call for proposals is already open with application deadline 15 December 2017.

In this round, approximately four projects will be included in the programme. Researchers at the University of Oslo (UiO) and researchers in UiO affiliated research groups at Oslo University Hospital (OUS) and Akershus University Hospital (Ahus) can apply.

Well tried out elsewhere – somewhat wider at UiO

SPARK Norway leader, Morten EgebergSPARK Norway is based on the prestigious Stanford SPARK programme, and the other two European sites – SPARK Berlin and SPARK Finland – are closely involved when UiO:Life Science establishes the programme at UiO.

“At Stanford, clinical research is the starting point. At UiO, life science researchers outside the clinical research communities can also apply, as long as they work with something that will contribute to better health for animals or humans,” says leader of SPARK Norway, Morten Egeberg.

Close collaboration with other life science actors

The team who will work with SPARK Norway, is led by UiO:Life Science with Morten Egeberg, administrative leader in charge. Representatives from UiO, Oslo University Hospital, Inven2, and several life science clusters and networks in the Oslo area are members of the management team.

“It is very important for us to work closely with the clusters and networks, among other things; they can provide our participants with the best mentors from a large network.”

Pilot started in October

The management team is already fully operative with a pilot phase to learn more about how to choose and advice SPARK project teams, also called SPARKees. Projects Inven2 picked from their portfolio presented their ideas for a panel in October.

“Based on advice from SPARK Berlin and SPARK Finland, we chose run this pilot to get some experience before our first open call,” says Egeberg.

“Those that are selected from the pilot, will now start a two-year process with regular meetings with mentors and advisors and open seminars. We are currently negotiating milestone plans with them and will finish this before we announce who they are.”, emphasises Egeberg.

Events from spring 2018

In the spring of 2018 there will be both closed meetings for those involved in the SPARK Norway programme, and open events where anyone who wants to increase their knowledge and understanding of the path from idea to application may attend.

Official kick-off 13 February 2018

The official kick-off for SPARK Norway will be part the Oslo Life Science Conference in February. Then a larger audience will get to know the SPARK teams and learn more about SPARK Norway.

Partners SPARK Norway

SPARK Norway is led by UiO:Life Science Representatives from UiO, Inven2, OUS and the clusters Oslo Cancer Cluster, The Life Science Cluster, Nansen Neuroscience Network, Norwegian Inflammation Network and Norway Health Tech as well as the Association of Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway (LMI) are members of the SPARK Norway management team.

First published 2 November 2017

By Norunn K. Torheim
Published Dec. 7, 2017 10:00 AM - Last modified Feb. 7, 2020 4:52 PM