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Innovation at UiO: Six teams ready for SPARK Norway

Six new teams have been admitted to UiO´s innovation programme SPARK Norway. They will develop their ideas within health-related life sciences for the benefit of patients and society.

The six new SPARK Norway teams, so called SPARKees, were selected after the first open call for SPARK Norway. The competition was extremely tough.


The project leaders of the new SPARK Norway teams: Simone Mester, Jo Waaler, Henriette Andresen, Jean-Luc Boulland, Ana Isabel Costa Calejo and Ana Lobato-Pascual.
SPARK Norway 

- based on the prestigious Stanford SPARK programme

- a two-year innovation programme to further develop ideas within health-related life sciences for the benefit of patients and society

- the aim of the programme is to get more innovation out of basic research.

- researchers from UiO and affiliated research groups at OUS or Ahus can apply UiO:Life Science to be included in the programme.

- researchers who are admitted to the SPARK Norway programme receives mentoring from seasoned experts from academia, hospital, industry and venture capital funds, milestone-based funding, guidance and education.

Read more about SPARK Norway on

A novel strategy to tailor the pharmacokinetics of IgA antibodies          

Tankyrase inhibition in cancer immune therapy                                     

  • Project leader: Jo Waaler, Faculty of Medicine, UiO
  • Team member: Stefan Krauss, (UiO and OUS)

Novel therapy for currently untreatable hypertension

Restoration of a functional urinary bladder using cutting-edge technology

  • Project leader: Jean-Luc Boulland, Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research, UiO/OUS
  • Team members:  Mark Züchner (OUS), Henning Andreas Haga (NMBU), Andreas Lervik (NMBU), Vanessa Bettembourg (NMBU), Joel Glover (UiO) and Ole-Jakob Nilsen (OUS)

Novel therapy for ischemic reperfusion injury                                        

IVF FitTM: Optimising in vitro fertilisation hormone dosage

  • Project leader: Ana Lobato-Pascual, Reproductive Medicine Department, OUS    
  • Team members: Péter Fedorcsák (OUS and UiO), Mei Ling Lim (Karoliska Institutet), Vidar Ulset (startup entrepreneur) and Krister Andersson (UiO)

High quality projects

UiO:Life Science received 40 applications for the first open call. 11 were selected by the SPARK management team to pitch their project in front of a review panel composed of seasoned experts from academia, hospital, industry and venture capital funds.

– Based on feedback from the review panel, all 11 projects met the quality level required to be admitted to SPARK Norway. However as much as we would have liked to admit all projects, we are building up SPARK Norway step by step. We are limited by capacity, and for now we can only manage six more projects, says leader of SPARK Norway, Morten Egeberg, administrative leader in UiO:Life Science

The decision has been approved by the UiO:Life Science board. The plan is to expand to handle additional projects from 2019

Kick off 13 February and more events from this spring

The official kick-off for SPARK Norway 13 February is a part the Oslo Life Science Conference. The SPARK programme will also be presented at the main event of the conference 13 February.

In the spring of 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.

Close collaboration with other life science actors

The group that 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 the Association of Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway (LMI) and the clusters Oslo Cancer Cluster, The Life Science Cluster, Nansen Neuroscience Network, Norwegian Inflammation Network and Norway Health Tech are members of the management group.

Initially the initiative to establish the SPARK programme in Norway came from Oslo Cancer Cluster and Norwegian Inflammation Network. The other two European SPARK sites – SPARK Berlin and SPARK Finland – are closely involved when UiO:Life Science establishes the programme at UiO.

By Norunn K. Torheim
Published Feb. 1, 2018 1:14 PM - Last modified Nov. 20, 2019 7:33 AM