Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!

Then another year will soon be over. Autumn is often experienced as hectic due to application deadlines, congresses, meetings and new student cohorts. And the semester is relatively short compared to the spring semester. So now that time is almost running out for us, it is good to be able to look forward to a holiday with the opportunity for peace and reflection.

Covid-19 has unfortunately become an increasing challenge this autumn despite a large degree of vaccine coverage in the population. The pandemic is turning research and teaching upside down for most of us. Hygienic measures such as social distancing, face masks and alcohol washing, as well as communication and teaching through digital media, have required a lot from the individual and the organizations, including K2. But it has been great as a leader to see how well you have coped with this upheaval with acceptance and constructive measures. Thank you very much!

Although we have learned a lot of new things in many areas through digital forms of communication, it is understandable that many are starting to get tired of social distancing and a number of hygienic measures. I still think we will emerge stronger from the pandemic, even though there are some things that have been delayed or made more difficult. And it is important to turn the situation into something positive. What can we do more efficiently and better? Will it be easier to find peace to write applications and articles? Can the national and international networks be strengthened since it does not matter where we live?

Despite covid-19, 2021 has been a good year for K2. Employees have published in the best journals and been awarded prizes. Employees been successful in fierce competition for funding from the Research Council of Norway (Camilla Krakstad, Emmet McCormack, Yenan Bryceson), the Norwegian Cancer Society (Camilla Krakstad, Emmet McCormack, Hans Petter Eikesdal, Stian Knappskog), the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Bergithe Oftedal, Simona Chera, Stefan Johansson) to name a few. Eva Gerdts received the award for Research / Innovation Environment of the Year from the Faculty of Medicine and the Research Group of the Year at Helse Vest. Furthermore, King Olav V’s cancer research prize was awarded to Bjørn Tore Gjertsen. Congratulations again to everyone!

It seems that we are reaching our goal of external research funding for 2021. We are very proud of that. K2 coordinates one SFF application (signed) and is a partner in another (Anagha Joshi). We hope that at least one of these will make it! Thanks to Silke and Emmet for being temporarily willing to move up!

For many, Christmas is the highlight of the year where family and friends gather for a holiday full of traditions and a sense of belonging, followed by Christmas in space, which can provide opportunities for other activities at home in Bergen, trips to the mountains or elsewhere. Covid-19 unfortunately places restrictions on this again this year, but then we get the opportunity to form even closer ties within our own family.

What most of us take for granted is not necessarily the case for everyone. Some have lost someone they loved or have no close friends or family gathered this year. Do we manage to think extra hard about these and maybe include them in our own Christmas celebration?

With wishes for a peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2022.

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