Meets future health and environmental challenges with interdisciplinary life sciences
Man-made pollutants, the peculiar immune system of codfish, embryonic development and new technology to handle both disease and pollutants. This will be studied in five new convergence environments at the University of Oslo.
The five convergence environments
- Combining natural and social sciences to understand and manage global anthropogenic toxicants (AnthroTOX)
- Epigenetics and bioethics of human embryonic development
- Programmable Cell-like Compartments
- Comparative immunology of fish and humans (COMPARE)
- Organ on a chip and nano-device (CHIP)
Background for funding
To finance convergence environments with doctoral and postdoctoral positions is the most powerful instrument UiO:Life Science has to support interdisciplinary collaboration that will contribute to new insights and increased value creation in the field of life sciences.
Life sciences increase our understanding of the nature of life, and of ageing and disease.
UiO:Life Science is an interdisciplinary strategic area that will strengthen quality and interaction in research; recruit, educate and develop talents; and promote innovation in the life sciences related to environment and health.
A research and education building that is planned for completion in 2023, is an important part of the initiative.
UiO:Life Science will finance at least five convergence environments – interdisciplinary research groups that will solve grand challenges related to health and environment.
Evaluated by international expert panel
The five convergence environments will receive altogether 17 doctoral and postdoctoral positions as well as expenditures – a total value of approximately NOK 70 million over four years.
This is clear after an international expert panel has assessed the 22 applications and the board of UiO:Life Science has made the final decisions.
"The international expert panel was very impressed with the high quality of the applications and has done a thorough evaluation job," says Director of UiO:Life Science Finn-Eirik Johansen.
"We are sure that those who receive funding will deliver high-quality research that is of major importance to society".
Pleased with the diversity
In the application process, emphasis has been placed on convergence environments to come up with new projects that require interdisciplinary collaboration. It should not be business as usual.
Researchers from four faculties at UiO are represented in the five convergence environments. In addition, the link to Oslo University Hospital is very strong.
The health and environmental challenges that the convergence environments will resolve will be studied with methods from biology, medicine, physics, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, ethics, social anthropology and sociology.
Johansen is very pleased with this diversity.
"By connecting different subjects, we get a more holistic approach to the challenges to be solved. It is an important premise for the university's commitment to life sciences, because this is where UiO as a broad university explores its full potential, he says.
The Director is looking forward to following the convergence environments. He is also curious about whether any of the applicants who did not get support, choose to collaborate and apply for funding elsewhere.
More funding opportunities
There will be several new application rounds for funding of convergence environments. The next is scheduled with an application deadline towards the end of 2018 with the convergence environments starting in 2019. In addition, UiO:Life Science will have other sorts of support to strengthen education and innovation in life sciences at UiO.
Those who receive support for convergence environments later, will have the possibility to move into the planned life science building at UiO and ensure high quality research and innovation there.
The five convergence environments
In addition to these five convergence environments, one or two additional convergence environments might get funding after negotiating with the applicant's departments for co-financing.
- Update the 4th of May: Now these two convergence environments are ready.
- Overview of the seven convergence environments
All applicants will receive feedback from the expert panel's assessment as soon as it is ready.
Combining natural and social sciences to understand and manage global anthropogenic toxicants (AnthroTOX)
The vision of the convergence environment is to understand how environmental and social processes and their relationships dictate flows and impacts of anthropogenic toxicants from electronic waste. This will be studied within and across societies and ecosystems. Results from Tanzania will be compared to data from the Arctic. Read more.
Comparative immunology of fish and humans (COMPARE)
The overarching goal of the convergence environment is to find out how the peculiar immune system of the codfishes function in detail and what its implications are for human immune disease. The results will affect future aquaculture, human medicine as well as providing a social sciences case for our awareness of the future possibilities of gene modifications of fish and humans. Read more.
Epigenetics and bioethics of human embryonic development
The convergence environment wants to understand the epigenetic reprogramming of early embryo development and its significance for human reproduction both scientifically and ethically. An overarching theme will be the understanding of epigenetic information in the passing of life from one generation of humans to the next. Read more.
Programmable Cell-like Compartments
The convergence environment will develop cell-like compartments which can in the future be assembled and programmed to track and deactivate hazards such as pathogenic microorganisms, migrating cancerous cells, plastics micro-particles, or heavy metal sediments. Read more.
Organ on a chip and nano-devices (CHIP)
The convergence environment will develop an “Organ on a chip” interface. This will provide a powerful new platform for understanding and testing of physiological functions and therapeutic interventions. Read more.