Innovation and life sciences 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 UiO:Life Science board admitted six new teams to the innovation programme SPARK Norway 31 January.

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The project leaders from left to right: Andreas Austeng, Aleksandra Dukic, Marianne Hiorth, Mari Mohn Paulsen, Kåre-Olav Stensløkken and Christer Tønnesen.

The new teams alphabetically by the project leader’s last name:

  • Fabuli – Faster and Better Ultrasound Imaging
    Project leader: Professor Andreas Austeng, Department of Informatics, UiO
    Team members: Researcher Ole Marius Hoel Rindal and Elin Melby, Inven2
  • Novel Treatment for Patients with Glioblastoma
    Project leader: Postdoc Aleksandra Dukic, Institute of Clinical Medicine, UiO and Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital
    Team members: Professor Kjetil Taskén, Associate Professor Rafi Ahmad and Inven2
  • Development of a new product to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth
    Project leader: Professor Marianne Hiorth, Department of Pharmacy, UiO
    Team members: PhD student Julie Frigård, Professor Gro Smistad, Professor Janicke Liaaen Jensen and Professor Hilde Kanli Galtung
  • MyFood – a decision support system to prevent and treat disease-related malnutrition
    Project leader: PhD student Mari Mohn Paulsen, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, UiO
    Team members: Professor Lene Frost Andersen, Dagfinn Bergsager and Gard O. S. Thomassen
  • Inhibition of aortic valve calcification
    Project leader: Professor Kåre-Olav Stensløkken, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, UiO
    Team members: Professor emeritus Jarle Vaage and Dr. Arsenii Zabernyk
  • A medical device for obesity treatment
    Project leader: Christer Tønnesen, Department of Health Management and Health Economics (HELED), The Institute of Health and Society, UiO and Oslo University Hospital
    Team members: Njål Høstmælingen, Professor Michael Bretthauer, Associate Professor Magnus Løberg, Professor II Lars Aabakken, Marianne Lyngra and Yuichi Mori

Three of the projects were on stage at the main event of the Oslo Life Science Conference 2020. Watch their talks.

Mentors and milestone plans next

UiO:Life Science received 19 applications in the third open call for SPARK Norway fall 2019

Each of the admitted projects is now assigned a mentor, advisors and project coordinator who is responsible for following up individual projects. The projects start with setting up milestone plans that respond to the challenges identified by the evaluation committee. The projects receive partial payments related to the milestones, a maximum of NOK 500,000 per year for 2 years.

Facts SPARK Norway

  • 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 through annual calls
  • 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
  • established in the fall 2017 and funded and managed by UiO:Life Science
  • based on the prestigious Stanford SPARK programme
  • supported by UiO's top management, Inven2 and OUS. Representatives from 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), Centre for Digital Life Norway, Aleap, ShareLab and The Norwegian Medicines Agency are members of the SPARK Norway management team
  • the initiative to establish the SPARK programme in Norway originally came from Oslo Cancer Cluster and the Norwegian Inflammation Network. The other two European SPARK programmes – SPARK Berlin and SPARK Finland – were closely involved when UiO:Life Science established the programme at UiO.
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The applications were evaluated by a committee based on the criteria in the call

  • Unmet medical need/need in the market
  • Novelty/uniqueness of the new solution
  • Strength of Proof-of-Principles
  • Market potential and fit
  • IP strategy
  • Strength and motivation of the team
  • Fit with SPARK Norway 
By Norunn K. Torheim
Published Feb. 2, 2020 11:59 AM - Last modified Feb. 27, 2020 7:00 PM