Research infrastructure

The Swedish government has made major investments in the country’s life sciences research infrastructure; the latest research bill setting new record levels. SciLifeLab and Max IV are both national resources. ESS, The European Spallation Source, which is intended to become a resource for European scientists, is under development. These resources are intended for advancing the understanding of human biology and hence leading to new innovations in the fields of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.


Supporting life science research has long been a priority for the Swedish government. State-of the art research infrastructure has already been built and life science research continues to receive large share of the overall state research budget. Swedish companies and researchers also actively participate in EU-funded and other international projects. Professors at medical faculties can be co-appointed to university hospital positions which has proved instrumental in stimulating translational research. In addition, Swedish academia has always shown a willingness to collaborate with industry. And you will find opinion leaders in many research fields. Swedish medical research is leading in a number of areas. The government's pinpointed areas for strategic funding include the areas listed below (complementing the areas highlighted elsewhere on this website):

  • Ageing and health
  • Clinical Therapy Research
  • Diabetes
  • Epidemiology
  • Further expanding the use of and improving the quality registries
  • Infection and antibiotic resistance
  • Neuroscience
  • Oncology and regional cancer centres

Complementary to the funding of strategic areas listed above, the government, through Vinnova, has invested in two long-term strategic innovation programs, SWElife and Medtech4Health. Academia, healthcare providers, research infrastructure including biobanks, incubators, investors and industry are all involved and the aim is to accelerate innovation and collaboration within drug development and medtech. Sweden has several well established testbeds and innovations hubs that are actively engaged in the programs in order to co-create new innovative treatments.


SciLifeLab is a Swedish national research centre for molecular biosciences, with the mission to develop, use and provide advanced technologies for applications in health and environmental research. The centre, with sites at ten universities, hosts several platforms providing high throughput technologies in areas such as genomics, proteomics and bio imaging, including bioinformatics services. National funding makes services and expertise available to researchers in all of Sweden. The centre also welcomes international collaborations.

SciLifeLab comprises more than 1,200 researchers and personnel in a centre hosted by four universities; Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University. The cross-disciplinary research setting together with the multitude of technologies that the centre provides, spurs academic collaborations, as well as effective interaction with healthcare providers, regulatory authorities and industry. One focus area is precision medicine, where SciLifeLab is collaborating directly with clinics. For example, researchers at SciLifeLab have developed a genetic screening panel for inborn metabolic diseases that is now in routine use at the Karolinska University Hospital. Furthermore, tumours from more than 500 patients with colon and lung cancer have been analysed with new technology to assemble gene panels, which have enabled successful interventions with new, targeted cancer drugs.

Go to Scilifelab


SciLifeLab also collaborates with biobank organisations to standardise sample handling for more effective use of the valuable resources they offer, in order to strengthen clinical research and improve Swedish healthcare. Another focus area is whole genome sequencing, where SciLifeLab supports the sequencing of thousands of genomes to stimulate internationally competitive Swedish research in human genomics and biodiversity.

One of SciLifeLab´s ten platforms is devoted to early drug discovery and development. This platform provides academic researchers with industry standard infrastructure, expertise, and strategic support to help progress projects towards a preclinical proof-of-concept.


The two largest research facilities ever built in Sweden – the MAX IV Laboratory and the European Spallation Source ERIC (ESS) - are located in Lund. Together, they will form a key hub in Europe’s joint research infrastructure. Max IV is the most brilliant synchrotron x-ray facility in the world serving all natural science areas including life science. ESS is one of the largest science and technology infrastructure projects currently under construction in the world and is scheduled to open in 2025.

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However, the Swedish research infrastructure offers much more than just the resources listed above. To take just two examples, ultra-high tech clean rooms for advanced nano- and microsystem R&D are widely available in the universities and research institutes focusing on material science. Sweden is also home to one of the few P4 laboratories in Europe enabling studies on pathogens such as Ebola.