Category Archives: This week’s editorial

HAPPY SUMMER VACATION!

As of this writing, the university has just reopened after it was closed in emergency on March 12. Welcome back, but remember to keep your distance and practice the rules of infection carefully. The covid-19 disease is under control in Norway, but it can flare up again, and we do not want a new shutdown. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all your constructive efforts during the shutdown. It had major consequences for our everyday activities, especially when it comes to experimental research and teaching. Thanks for the positive attitude and constructive measures. We have also learned a lot, and digital meetings will probably be frequently used in the future.

We have recently submitted a budget proposal for 2021. This year too, we suggest an ambitious budget that takes into account the challenges we see in the coming year in terms of education, research, innovation and dissemination. The economy group are thanked for their solid work on the budget.

We just had a kick-off meeting for the new UGLEs in connection with a new teaching structure at K2. I perceived the new UGLEs as interested and engaged with many relevant questions and comments. I think this will be great. Thanks to everyone for a constructive process.

After an unusually cold spring, we have finally got to taste the heat. We are now preparing for the summer holidays. Spring has for most people been a busy time with applications, OSKE and all the endings at the end of the semester. Hence, it will be good to have a few weeks off to do completely different things. It is important to charge the batteries so that we can start the autumn with new energy and work desire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their great efforts this semester. Have a great summer vacation!

Ready for take-off

The new structure with teaching groups and teaching group leaders – UGLE – was adopted in January and is effectuated as of 1st August. Teaching is an important task for K2. We contribute heavily to teaching in the study programs for particular medicine, but also pharmacy, dentistry, nutrition and other educations. We hope that the new organization will highlight teaching as part of our mission in line with research, and contribute to a better overview of our teaching resources.

Despite a new name, the content is not radically new: this structure is largely a formalization of an informal, existing structure. We have partially “stolen” the UGLE name and structure from IGS, who has worked extensively with the development of its teaching and brought home several awards in pedagogy as a result. Maybe we can give them stronger competition?

The purpose of the organization is to establish a clear contact person for questions and clarifications related to teaching in the department’s disciplines (teaching groups). UGLE, head of a teaching group, has delegated responsibility to distribute teaching among the members of its teaching group and acts as contact person in the work of exam planning. In addition, UGLE is the central link between the teaching group and the semester boards, clinical departments and department management. It is right and important that there is a person who is close to and knows the academic environment that ensures that the teaching tasks are distributed in the best possible way, so that our students benefit accordingly.

The responsibility as a UGLE provides a good opportunity to influence the form and content of the teaching. Equally important is the good cooperation in the teaching groups between everyone who contributes to the teaching, so that together we can work fruitfully to renew, coordinate and improve the teaching.

I would like to extend a warm thanks to our recently departing head of education, Jone Trovik, who put a lot of effort into putting the UGLE structure in place. I am fortunate to be able to take over the baton as head of teaching as we slip into the “charm stage” – it will be exciting when we now words into action together! To get started, all UGLE are invited to a kick-off seminar on Tuesday 16 June.

Furthermore, I would like to mention that the faculty is now announcing the merit scheme for outstanding educators, see separate case in K2Nytt – will K2 have its first “Outstanding educator”?

The Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents is 70 years!

This year, it is 70 years since the children got their own clinic at Haukeland University Hospital, and yesterday this was highlighted at the hospital. The Department of Pediatrics was a liberation gift from Sweden after the war. When the building was inaugurated by Crown Princess Märta on May 31, 1950, it was the first and largest children’s clinic in the country. Bergen has the second largest children’s clinic in Norway. The Department accepts annually around 4,000 patients aged 0 to 18. The original building was demolished two years ago, and by 2023 the Glass Blocks will be finished. Meanwhile, the Pediatrics and Adolescents is located in Marie Joys’ House.

Did you know that the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents has always been closely linked to the University of Bergen, in fact before any of these two institutions were built? Before the University of Bergen was established, it was important with special departments to “sell” the idea of a university. Pioneers like Dr. med. Carl August Looft and Consultant Physician Nils Backer-Grøndahl were driving forces for plans for both a children’s clinic and a medical faculty in Bergen. The gift from Sweden with the establishment of a children’s clinic after the war became an important piece in the final phase of the fight for a university in Bergen that was finally adopted by Stortinget in 1946.

The first leader of the Department of Pediatrics was Professor Alfred Sundal, who was a professorship candidate upon accession and thus already an important professional person for developing the university clinic at Haukeland.

In the 1960s, Norway’s first chromosome laboratory was established at the Department of Pediatrics by Consultant Physician Ole K. Harlem. Professor Dagfinn Aarskog, who in 1970 took over the management of the Department of Pediatrics after Sundal, – much after a research stay at Johns Hopkins University in the United States – got a great interest in genetics and then headed the chromosome laboratory for many years. He saw early the enormous potential in molecular genetics and became a key driver for the establishment of the Department of Medical Genetics and initiator of the establishment of the Center for Clinical Molecular Medicine.

The research laboratory at the Department of Pediatrics was further developed by Aarskog, Professor Lage Aksnes and later the diabetes group to become a powerful research environment with experimental and clinical research with clear clinical utility – modern translational research. An experimental laboratory physically inside a clinical ward was unusual and very innovative.

In addition, under the leadership of professors Robert Bjerknes and Britt Skadberg, powerful research environments in heart and lung research were established as well as the follow-up of extremely premature children. These groups have been very important to the environment in the university part of stage 1 of the new Children and Youth Center in the Glass Blocks.

The Department of Pediatrics have not only incubated premature children – but also pediatricians – to pursue an academic career. In addition to those mentioned, former and current professors Per Erik Waaler, Oddmund Søvik, Gjermund Fluge, Trond Markestad, Gottfried Greve, Kristian Sommerfelt, Ansgar Berg, Thomas Halvorsen, Helge Ræder and the undersigned have been central to research, teaching, and not at least research management at the Department of Clinical Science, the Faculty of Medicine, and the University of Bergen centrally.

What will be the next 70 years of challenges and opportunities? Larger student numbers, more individual, and more digitized teaching are likely to be central and are already underway. In research, large and real-world data sets, bioinformatics, and precision medicine are likely to be very important. User participation is expected to be part of the research, and the demand for relevance and benefit is probably increasing, while basic research will have an increased focus. And women! Of the 18 mentioned above, only one is female. Here, we have a job to do the next years!

As most people know, I am a pediatrician and have had the privilege of receiving my education at the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents, and later experienced a stimulating environment for a university career up to the position of Professor and Head of the Center for Diabetes Research. I would like to thank you personally for this.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents´ leadership and the around 300 staff for being so positive about integrating the university’s core areas of research and teaching, innovation and communication with clinical practice. Access to clinical records and samples, and clinical questions, are crucial for our research. Education of health professionals is our main task. I am proud and delighted with the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents, and believe that together we can make a difference – for our children – when it comes to translational and clinical research, and the education of top health and university staff.

Without the children´s clinic, no university – and without the university, no children’s university clinic.

Happy Birthday!

How has K2 experienced the corona shut down so far?

Department of Clinical Science shut down March 12. Staff and students lost access to their workplace and campus, leaving them to find new solutions to keep the wheels running. The K2 leader group recently made a survey to map how the corona crises has been handled. Here follows an excerpt of the answers and comments.

Thanks to good IT solutions, many have been able to work effectively at home. Researchers have spent time working on applications and writing papers. Meetings have been held using Zoom, Teams or similar platforms. Still, there are many critical voices that the shutdown has been too extensive and rigid, without local adaptions. Helse Bergen staff have been able to work more or less as before applying infection control measures, while UiB employees have not had access to the laboratories. Shutdown of the core facilities is another point that has been criticized. They could have been operated more or less uninhibited with necessary infection control measures. In particular, the shutdown and slaughter of valuable laboratory animals at the animal facility has been met with harsh criticism. PhD students and postdoctoral fellows have been particularly affected, and many ask for extension of their grant period. After seeing that Norway and especially Vestland has controlled the pandemic effectively, the UiB leadership is criticized for the slowness in reopening activities.

Many public defences of doctoral thesis have been held digitally, but the experiences have been divided. In particular, it was pointed out that IT support has been deficient. When it was allowed for 50 people to meet, UiB did not follow up, but adhere to the rule of a maximum of 5 people, why?

The technical staff is the group that has had the least benefit from home office, and has not had enough tasks to fill their time. The administrative staff, on the other hand, have mostly been able to work as usual. Digital solutions and meetings have mostly worked well, but the social community and the collegiate community has been sorely missed.

In summary, experience shows that local adaptations and considerations must be used in the prevention measures. In addition to a quick shut down, one must also be quick to open up when the situation allows. In the event of a new infection peak, we hope for a slightly more forward-leaning and dynamic UiB management that can better coordinate initiatives with Helse-Bergen, which we share work places with.

Thanks to all who responded to the survey.

Eystein and Julie

The covid-19 epidemic has changed our way of working. How is this affecting female versus male researchers?

Early analyses discussed in a recent article in Nature (10.1038/d41586-020-01294-9) suggest that female academics are posting fewer preprints and starting fewer research projects than their male peers.

COVID-19 is changing the way research is done. World-wide lockdowns mean that, overnight, many households worldwide have become an intersection of work, school, and home life. The new mechanisms of accelerated peer review, the increased quantity and speed of available data, and the distribution of funding across sectors are changing the equilibria of the academic world. We therefore need to pay attention to the effects this has on disparities. What happens when a couple is at home? Is it exacerbating gender inequality? In a commentary in Nature (doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-01135-9) very early during the pandemic, Alessandra Minello suggested it is disproportionately affecting the productivity of female academics, because they often do more caregiving than men.

Megan Frederickson, an ecologist at the University of Toronto being COVID-19-quarantined herself, looked at preprint servers to investigate whether women were posting fewer studies than they were before lockdowns began (https://github.com/drfreder/pandemic-pub-bias/blob/master/README.md). Peer review takes time, it is still too soon to see COVID-19’s effects on the numbers of journal articles published by female versus male academics. However, a growing number of academics make their submitted or in-progress manuscripts available on preprint servers, meaning it might be possible to measure the pandemic’s effect on preprint submissions in real time. She looked at arXiv (physical sciences), and bioRxiv (life sciences) to determine the gender of studies posted between March 15 and April 15 in 2019 and in 2020. The number of women who authored preprints at arXiv increased by 2.7% from 2019 to 2020 — but the number of male authors grew by 6.4% over the same period. The numbers for bioRxiv were 24.2% vs. 26%. A similar trend was found in a separate study including nine popular preprint servers (https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/decline-women-scientist-research-publishing-production-coronavirus-pandemic). Thus, women’s publishing rate has fallen relative to men’s amid the pandemic.

In another study by the information scientist Cassidy Sugimoto at Indiana University Bloomington on three registered-report repositories including ClinicalTrial.gov, there was a decrease in the proportion of submissions by female principal investigators from March and April of 2019 to the same months in 2020, when lockdowns started. Hence, women are registering a smaller proportion of new research projects than before the pandemic.

What are the likely causes for this effect? Increased household labor and childcare responsibility are probably the major reasons. Also, women more often take care of ailing relatives. The sudden shift to online teaching might mean more work for women as they in average probably have more teaching commitments than men, while the shutdown of the universities might free more time for men to write papers as they more often have non-research commitments.

What can be done to mitigate this effect? Our scientific environment requires the participation of all members of the population; a crisis requires that we draw from the intellect of the full population. As the effects and the pandemic are likely to linger, we must consider how our evaluation systems and resource allocation mechanisms take into account the inequities in labor distribution for women. We need to create infrastructures to allow for all populations to participate, and to acknowledge systematic differences in their ability to do so.

Enjoy your week-end!

This week’s leader

While both our work and personal lives have had to make major adaptions with COVID-19, it has also resulted in unprecedented innovation. Both directly and indirectly COVID-19 has changed all aspects of our lives, from the way we communicate, interact and socialise to our impact upon the planet. As a result of these changes, technology has had to advance, opening up novel solutions and more importantly perhaps, new opportunities. Ironically, and despite our current focus on social distancing, we have learned to come together to accelerate development e.g. upscaling of a new diagnostic tests at NTNU in one month or new hospitals built in a week in China. With the opening of the new incubator already this autumn, and NFR application deadlines just around the corner – there has never been a better time to jump on the wave of innovation.

Finally, the latest memo from Dean Per Bakke suggests that we are now moving in the right direction towards resuming normal lab activities. In order to reintegrate into our normal working lives it is critical that everyone take the “e-learning-course-protective-measures”. So I guess this 17th of May we have more reason than most years to celebrate. Gratulerer med Dagen!

The corona virus epidemics – a new phase

Up till now, the government has had a strategy to knock down the corona virus. The spread of the infection is now under control, and yesterday the government announced that they are now switching to a control strategy. The goal is still the same as before, that our health service should have the capacity to help everyone who needs it, those with coronary illness and those with other illnesses. This means that businesses and activities must still take infection control measures when they open up.

In recent weeks, K2 has opened something up – from only allowing exceptions for critical functions to exceptions essential for those completing a degree in 2020 or to generate preliminary data for research applications or particularly costly or critical experiments. At the time of writing, we do not know how much of our activity K2 can open in the next few weeks. The government proposes that distance education should continue to be the norm after May 11, and those in need of collective travel to work should still have a home office. Presently, we do not know whether there will be new reliefs for the laboratories. When we have received new guidance from the Faculty, we will announce the new guidelines through the research group leaders.

Of course, there is great eagerness to get back to normal life at K2. I’m very happy about that. But it is important to remember that the ongoing opening up can give the impression that the outbreak of the virus is about to go over. Unfortunately, it is not. As we gradually reduce the restrictions, it requires that we still keep control of the infection. At K2, we must continue with the simple measures that we know is working and have few negative consequences: be careful about hand washing and cough hygiene, keep at least one meter distance, and stay home when you are sick.

Enjoy the (hopefully corona-free) weekend!

 

Dear all!

Now it has been nearly 7 weeks since UiB was closed due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Most of us are still obliged to use home-office. Since Monday 27/4, some more people have been allowed back in the labs. However, it is still an exception that you get access!

Remember that it is the research group leader who has to send a list of who should have access to me (including risk assessment and confirmation of passed infection control course), and then Pål as head of department decides who gets access. And then of course, there are the infection control and hygiene rules when you are at work, so it takes some organization to avoid too many people at the same time in smaller rooms. A big thank you to all those who help make it work in these times!

I would also like to remind PhD fellows who have been delayed in their progress because of home-office during the Corona period to make a written description of the delay and let the supervisor confirm this. The documentation has to be sent to the faculty administration by e-mail:  hrmed@uib.no, mark with Korona in the subject line. This documentation will be entered into the personnel folder of the individual and may form the basis for an extension of the appointment period if necessary.

Finally, I wish you all a nice International Worker’s day and a good weekend!

Mette Vesterhus new leader of teaching at K2

Jone Trovik has been the leader of teaching at K2 since 2015. She took on this important responsibility in connection with the implementation of the new curriculum. Jone has done this in a very satisfactory way. Surely there was no downside to her being an active gynecologist! In addition, she has contributed constructive input to the many issues we are working on at K2. In particular, I want to highlight her good mood and contagious laughter. It’s never boring when Jone is there. Thank you so much, Jone!

Everything has to come to an end, and after 4 ½ as leader of teaching, it was natural with a change. The new leader of teaching is Mette Vesterhus. She is a 50/50 associate professor / consultant physician (gastroenterology) at Haraldsplass Diakonale Sykehus. She has had a research stay at Harvard and has her research interests in diseases of the liver and biliary tract. Vesterhus has been interested in teaching since the days of her studies. She has been a student representative both to the Student Parliament at UiB and to the National Student Organization. Since 2018, she has been the subject manager for the propedeutics teaching for medical students at Haraldsplass.

Welcome Mette as leader of teaching at K2!

Teaching challenges

Dear all K2 employees; THANK YOU for your invaluable efforts in teaching at our department!

Each of you contribute direct or indirect to the teaching provided. As with all other work, the corona epidemic also had a significant impact on how we could conduct educational activities. Under these circumstances, all staff have shown a great deal of flexibility: despite physically closed campus, our students have been nurtured and provided education, but using other modalities and through other channels.

Lectures have been moved from auditoriums to the web, been recorded through Kaltura or sound tracks on PowerPoint files and posted at MittUiB, group sessions or lectures are held via Zoom or Skype. And even though the hospital closed down a great deal of patient care, students who needed practice to obtain a temporary license have completed and been approved the revised minimum service. This provide Norway more people who can function as doctors from summer and onwards (leaving us better equipped for a possible new corona wave).

Thanks also to the hospitals in our region (Haukeland, Haraldsplass, Stavanger, Førde and Haugesund) that have helped students to actually complete their practice. We have been far more fortunate than in Oslo, where hospital closed the doors for students in clinical practice.

The faculty has established a group of super-users in digital teaching, Bergithe Eikeland Oftedal is K2’s representative. She shall not act as IT technician or conduct individual training but can advise on what programs/equipment and what is appropriate to use.

Finally: Thanks and goodbye from me! I have been acting as teaching director for K2 since I was hired as professor in the fall of 2015, ie. I started at the same time as the “new” curriculum for medicine. It has been exciting to follow the implementation (both of the curriculum and my professional academic function), participate in the inner life of the department management and to truly ensure that teaching is as high on the agenda as it deserves! I am not quitting teaching but I am transferring the formal responsibility as leader of teaching  to my successor Mette Vesterhus. Welcome Mette, you will receive proper presentation in a later K2-news.

Happy Easter holidays!

Now that the Easter holidays are here again, we can look forward to even brighter days, warmer sun, and some long-awaited holidays. I hope you can enjoy some well-deserved days off with family, friends, outdoor activities, and rest.

The coronavirus epidemic has halted most of the experimental research and turned upside down teaching and meeting activities. It has been a tough and brutal exercise, but I think we have also learned a lot that we will take with us after the epidemic is over. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your constructive attitude and effort in meeting the enormous challenges we have had since March 12 at 6 pm. I am really proud of the K2.

On April 8, the government will announce possible changes in restrictions on schools and universities. The university now operates with 6 phases where phase 0 is where we are now and phase 5 is regular activity. If there will be any ease of restrictions for the universities, UiB wants this to happen gradually and slowly. We have mapped research and teaching activities that may fit with what the university calls phases 1 and 2, which seem most realistic in the first place. The research groups have been given the challenge of suggesting a limited number of projects. I have reviewed these, and based on central guidelines, selected those that seem most critical to get started and gain acceptance for. An application has been sent to the faculty for exemptions from the current limitations for these projects. Unfortunately, the deadline for this review was extremely short, and I thank the research team leaders and researchers for responding so quickly and constructively.

For many Norwegians, Easter means spending the holidays skiing in the mountains, boating, or travelling abroad. This will be different this year with a ban on travel and spending the night in the cabin in municipalities other than one´s place of residence and advice on reduced activity at sea. Prime Minister Erna Solberg says it is not a terribly great sacrifice to stay home, and although Norwegians are concerned about their own freedom and independence, this is the time to show unity. I really agree with her. Take the short trips instead of the long ones right now. Emergency preparedness in the mountain areas should be used for those who live there. Keep your distance – by exposing ourselves to infection, we can infect others who cannot tolerate it – here we must all take responsibility for our community at large. Also keep in mind those who are alone for various reasons. The holiday itself can be a difficult time for them, and the coronavirus epidemic can add a new kind of loneliness to being alone. Make a phone call, meet on the streets only at a distance, arrange Skype / Zoom / Facetime meetings with chat, contests and more. Only the imagination sets the limits, we have all seen the video clips that go viral at the moment.

Wishing a happy Easter holiday to all of you. Take care of yourself, your loved ones, and also those who are not the closest!

Pål

Time to apply for founding from the Research Council

The Covid-19 pandemic has upturned our daily lives and much of the research, both clinically and experimentally, has stopped. On the other hand, the work situation provides the opportunity to work well with applications.

The application forms from the Research Council are now available and at the same time the deadline for the Research Council has been moved to May 20, giving extra time for application writing. Already, those who intend to apply must contact the economist they have been assigned to plan the budget work. Amra will help with application writing and will give priority to those who have announced that they will apply.

This year, the Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal is open to all research areas; further Research Project for Young Talents (age less than 40 years), 2-7 years after dissertation and Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility.

Good luck

Eystein

About taking care of each other and precautions when lending personnel

Dear employees of K2

We are in an unreal time with an uncertain future. We do not know how severe the coronavirus epidemic will strike in Norway, we do not know how long the epidemic will last. Many people work around the clock to minimize the impact of the epidemic. We have reason to be proud of the enormous efforts the authorities, health workers and many others make. What we can all do, is loyally to follow up on all the advices and orders given by the authorities.

The need for information is of course huge. There are general guidelines that the information channels be relatively few in order to avoid opposing advice and orders. Therefore, the management at K2 has been careful to send out too many mails or newsletters. The disadvantage can be that local conditions might not be addressed in the general information. Please, let us know if there are things you are wondering about, and that we should be informed about.

The University wants most of our information to be collected at uib.no/korona. In addition, we relate to Helse Bergen and FHI’s information pages.

Lending personnel
One subject that will become increasingly relevant is that you may be asked to serve in health care organizations or municipalities. Agreements have now been made with health authorities throughout the Helse Vest and the Bergen Municipality. Please, refer to the Norwegian version of this newsletter for further details.

Take care of each other
The Prime Minister calls for unity and care for each other. It is extremely important to work together now towards a common goal. Furthermore, there are many who can be anxious, feel lonely, and need practical help with childcare, grocery shopping, etc. Here, we can all make an effort!

I am impressed by the positive, constructive, and innovative attitude I have experienced from the staff last week. Professional meetings are already held with presentations for up to 33 participants (!) via Skype or Zoom, teaching is done via Skype or Zoom, and practical training is replaced by You Tube videos, TBL material online, and alternative material from eg. Harvard Medical School. I’m very proud of what you have achieved so far! We learn something new every day, much of what I think will be used even after the coronavirus epidemic is over.

There seem to be a few days without rain coming up. Enjoy the good weather – not at the cabin of course, but perhaps on a hike over Vidden or Fløyen where it should not be a problem to keep 2 meters distance to other people.

Make the best of your weekend!

The corona virus epidemic: K2 closes, but does not stop

Dear all employees at the Department of Clinical Science

We are experiencing a dramatic time with no parallel in Norway at peace. But we have to deal with this. We have over 350 employees with large resources in many different ways. Now it is important to use these in a good and constructive way. This is going to cost; it is changing daily life for all of us. But I already notice that you are taking this in a positive way. Thank you so much! Although most of us do not need to worry about the infection itself, it can mean a long illness and even death for old people and those with serious chronic illnesses. And if the hospitals are unable to maintain the basic staffing, it will hit everyone anyway. Henceforth, we must faithfully follow all the advice and orders of the authorities to prevent and prevent the spread of infection. Here are some clarifications and practicalities for K2:

K2 is physically closed
As you are informed by email from Pro-Rector Margareth Hagen and Dean Per Bakke, the entire university is physically closed from yesterday at 18. All activities on campus will be stopped as soon as possible and at the latest during the weekend. With few exceptions, no one should come to work. All activity must now be done digitally. For those premises that have the Helse Bergen IDs card as an access cards, these will function as before. It is possible that doors operated by UiB’s ID cards will be closed to those who cannot access by exception. This is unclear at the time of writing.

What about equipment and special laboratory experiments?
There are certain exceptions when it comes to people who need to inspect or repair instruments as well as special laboratory tests. I have delegated to the research group leaders, that today they will decide which people and what trials will be involved in stopping the trials over the weekend, which persons and trials must continue to be of special importance in terms of scientific and financial importance , and what equipment and people are needed to inspect and if necessary repairing important instruments in the labs, as well as making a list of these issues.

How is Management reached?
The Management has from now on home office, but Julie Stavnes, Eystein Husebye and I will physically be able to get into the buildings in emergency situations. Use mail or phone to reach us.

What are the Management´s phone numbers?
Pål R. Njølstad 481 41 578
Julie Stavnes 995 91 846
Eystein Husebye 994 04 788
Silk Apple 410 80 067
Jone Trovik 924 25 171
Emmet McCormack 482 03 610

What about economy and staff functions?
These should be taken care of as far as possible through a home office.

How do we do it with signatures from the Head of Department?
Signature documents must be sent to me or Eystein in electronic format. If something is urgent, make sure we are available via sms.

Teaching
As communicated before, this must be done digitally, and here you have to be creative. It is referred to previous mails from the Faculty and K2.

How can I set up Skype or video conferencing from home?
For help setting up Skype or video conferencing from home, see https://it.uib.no/Skrivebord.uib.no

Who is the contact person for equipment?
This is Eystein Husebye

It will be a different weekend and time ahead of us. Take good care of each other.

Pål

The corona virus epidemic

This is to refer to the information sent out from the University Director and the Faculty of Medicine February 28 on handling the coronavirus at UiB (https://www.uib.no/en/corona).

Since we work in a health institution, we must also follow the guidelines of Helse Bergen, which in turn follows the advice of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. We therefore ask all employees who have been in areas with a persistent spread of coronavirus to stay home from work for 14 days after returning home. The purpose is to reduce the risk of infection to patients and employees in the health and care service. The health and care service is particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of infection that can affect vulnerable patient groups. This council has retroactive effect for travelers returning home after February 17.

Travelers who develop respiratory symptoms during the first 14 days after returning home should isolate themselves at home and contact their GP on the phone. If you do not get in touch with your GP, call an emergency room on telephone 116117.

Symptoms of corona virus infection are fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or other respiratory symptoms.

Sustainable sites include mainland China, Iran, South Korea, Italy (all regions of Italy north of Rome – Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Tuscany), Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

The University management wants to be constantly updated on which employees we have at all times. Employees may have stayed in risk areas even in their spare time, but it is still important that this information is shared.

We hence ask you to register your own travel activities in the following form whether you have stayed, are staying or will be staying in areas with the spread of the coronavirus in the form that you find here: https://skjemaker.app.uib.no/view. php? id = 8138964

We do not yet know the extent of the epidemic and whether it will be a pandemic. If there are many who have to stay home without being particularly ill, I urge you to be inventive in meeting the most important university assignments. Mail is probably handled 24/7 for most of you anyway, but it is also possible to hold lectures or group lessons via Skype or similar platforms so that students get the education they need. Lectures and meetings that were scheduled in or outside Bergen can be conducted with video or telephone conferences if planned. As mentioned, it´s just to be innovative 

Have a nice (corona free) weekend!

Pål Rasmus Njølstad

From Sjusjøen about RETTE

We have already written quite a lot about RETTE here, but since there are still many projects with lacking information in the system, I will write a bit more here.

The RETTE system was established by the UoB in order to comply with GDPR and ensure that we follow existing legislation. UoB shall have an overview and control of all research projects and student projects that process personal data. Medical/Health research projects need approval from REK. Some projects have consulting duty with data protection officer, and NSD can assist in considering assessing privacy. After assessment or approval, information from NSD and REK is transferred to the RETTE.

RETTE automatically transfers projects approved by REK. Several of you have probably received an email stating that you have one or several projects in RETTE. When you log in the system (https://rette.app.uib.no/) you can fill inn additional information about the project and answer certain questions before you confirm the project. This is the responsibility of the project leader. I can recommend looking at “Start the project wizard” and “Documentation” on the website where you will get some answers as to what needs to be registered.

We will also have a faculty lunch with RETTE as topic in the near future.

Greetings from sunny and snowy Sjusjøen

Silke

What to do when your grant application is rejected

After a windy and rainy winter, deadlines for the 2020 applications are approaching. Related to this, James Mitchell Crow just wrote an interesting commentary (Nature 578, 477-479) on what do to when your grant is rejected. Because for most applicants, rejection is the rule and not the exception. Rejection can be a rollercoaster experience with anger, disappointment, despair, and grief. Give yourself time to digest the response, and only then get back to the application when you have a clear mind to do it constructively.

At the National Institutes of Health in the US, the 2017 aggregate success rate for research grants was 20.5%. The success rate is similar in Novo Nordisk Fonden. At Wellcome in the UK, around 50% of applications 2017-18 made it through the preliminary stage. Of those, around 20% were funded. In the initial H2020 programme, the success rate was only 14%, and at the Research Council of Norway, it is unfortunately even lower; around 5-10% in the open calls. Hence, a good idea is no guarantee of grant success, and very good applications are rejected due to lack of funding.

So, what to do?

Most importantly, never give up. For each time you write a grant application, it improves a little and suddenly you are over the threshold and/or a new reviewer likes the application.

Can you get key manuscripts for the idea submitted? Can you collect and present preliminary data and/or run a pilot study? These points may be important to satisfy reviewers regarding the key evaluation criterion feasibility.

To establish new collaborations can improve your science by other people scrutinizing your research. Also, that can improve your network and track as a PI.

If you discuss the grant rejection with your colleagues, mentors and others, you might get emotional support in the short term, and constructive feedback to help reapply for the grant at the next round.

When you have feedback from the reviewers, it is vital to address the concerns of these. Still, it is unlikely that the same reviewers will evaluate your application once more, so work through all aspects of the application for the next round.

Most often, your application was not read by an expert in your field. Therefore, it may be helpful to share the revision to scientists who are not experts in your field. Can your spouse understand your abstract and main outline? If not, you should try to rewrite. A message can never be too simple. And think of your application as a story you want to tell and make that journey exciting so the reviewers want to read more.

Good luck preparing your grant applications for 2020. But before that, enjoy the winter holidays!

Pål

Education Awards and Teaching Day

Does your research group /UoB-unit know an excellent teacher or an excellent teaching environment? If so: you may nominate them for the Faculty’s educational awards! The nomination may be promoted by an environment (research group, academic environment, institute but not by an individual).

There are no specific price categories, but one main prize of NOK       150 000 is awarded, and up to two more prices of 50 000 each!

What may be the basis for nomination?
• Quality-enhancing measures in education
• Excellent teaching
• Digitalization of education
• Internationalization
• Testing of new teaching and assessment forms
• High quality in practical teaching
• Student active learning
• Innovation in education

The nomination must contain a description of the measure in question, show what results have been achieved and mention the transfer value and further plans for the measure. The institute and program committee may deliver the nomination via Ephorte, student organizations and other entities send it via e-mail to eirik.dalheim@uib.no. Deadline for nominations: 24th of February!

Moving on to the Teaching Day 01.04. (no it’s not April Fool …)
We will show You How to create your educational portifolio (will be required for future academic positions), practical use of MCQ in Mitt UiB and Martin Biermann will talk about how to use e-learning platforms to promote learning. After lunch, we sum up the OSCE (objective structured clinical exam) –experiences , and we may all take part in groups creating new OSCE  tasks that may be included in the exam database. Please register here.

Consul Søren Falch and Ophthalmologist Sigurd Falch’s Foundation

This year, the Faculty of Medicine will also nominate Falch’s Lecture and Falch’s Junior Prize for Younger Researchers.

The Falch Lecture 2021

The award is up to NOK 30,000 to cover fees, and travel and accommodation expenses. Cost estimates are attached to the application. Multiple awards may apply.

Guidelines for Falch’s Lecture:

  1. The proposer is the Board of Directors, which can invite generally recognized researchers at a Nobel Prize level or very high international level to hold a guest lecture and / or seminar at the Faculty of Medicine.
  2. The Board may invite employees to submit proposals and document their research efforts. The criteria may be publishing in prestigious scientific journals, international awards, leadership positions in important and active international scientific associations, and conferences.
  3. The Falch Lecturer should have collaborated with or otherwise contributed to the research activities at the Faculty of Medicine. However, this is not a requirement to propose a candidate.
  4. The Falch Lecturer is awarded a diploma marking the event.

Proposals are sent to okonomi@med.uib.no by 14/2 2020 and are being considered by the board of Consul Søren Falch and Ophthalmologist Sigurd Falch’s Medical Science Fund.

Junior Prize for Young Scientists

The candidate must be under 40 years of age at the time of the application. There is (unfortunately) no reduction for maternity leave or other leave.

The bylaws of the Fund state that:

  • The purpose is to promote medical scientific work
  • The work must be of great scientific or social importance
  • The work can be from all branches of medical science
  • The work must be completed

The Board has set the Prize at NOK 50,000 for operating expenses to the researcher.

Proposals for candidates for the Prize may be presented by Department Heads and Professors at the Faculty of Medicine, and should include:

  • The candidate’s curriculum vitae
  • The candidate’s publication list
  • Documented results of the work
  • A scientific description of the proposal (maximum two pages)
  • A descriptive presentation of the candidate’s work in the language of the general public (press release)

Based on the Fund’s bylaws, the Prize is awarded according to these criteria:

  1. In-depth, original works with methodical complexity.
  2. Research findings that have led to applied results in the form of new or improved diagnostics, therapy, or knowledge.

Proposals are sent to okonomi@med.uib.no by 14/2 2020 and are handled by the Board of Consul Søren Falch and the Ophthalmologist Sigurd Falch’s Medical Science Fund.

This is an excellent opportunity to invite a high-profile collaborator to a seminar or meeting, and to get some of their best researchers to shine.

Have a great weekend!

Pål R. Njølstad

Build your teaching resume

The Faculty of Medicine has a dedicated strategy to contribute to the best possible learning conditions for the students. Competence building of teaching staff is done through courses, seminars and prepared guidelines under the auspices of the Unit for Learning.

Teaching experience is now given greater importance when evaluating candidates for permanent scientific positions. What was previously called “basic pedagogical competence” has now been renamed “basic educational competence”; the content of which is summarized in national guidelines. At UiB, educational basic competence is normally achieved by completing a program for university pedagogics equivalent to 20 credits, but it is also possible to apply for an equivalent qualification on by the folder alternative.

This option may be relevant for many because education skills are now required before being employed as professor. For associate professorships, you still have 2 years to gain such expertise, but having this in place at the time of application is a strength. It can be problematic for people in, for example in a full hospital position to dedicate time for extensive educational courses. For these then the folder alternative might be a good option. The folder should contain a self-declaration of educational skills and overviews of completed teaching, teaching planning, courses – on the whole, everything that you have done related to teaching can be registered. Unit for learning organizes workshop on educational folder building, University pedagogics for medicine and health sciences, Introductory course for PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows (PHDPED900), Introduction to medical and health sciences didactics (MEDDID601) and the seminar series Pedagogical supplement which all count in folder. It is therefore important that both UiB and HUS staff involved in teaching take care to register and build their folder. I strongly believe this will also improve teaching for the students!

Have a great weekend when that time comes.

Eystein

The Postgraduate School of Clinical Medical Research

This is an arena for PhD students from Department of Clinical Medicine (K1) and Department of Clinical Science (K2) to socialize and present their own research to fellow students. The research school organizes courses that may be included as part of the training component of the PhD-program, and as seminar series where current research from the faculty is presented by excellent speakers.

Every year in January, PhD candidates from K1, K2, and Haukeland University Hospital are invited to present their work to fellow researchers and the general audience. Posters are at display in the lobby of Sentralblokka, and oral presentations are given, usually in the Birkhaug Room. A genius thing is that the posters and oral presentations should be those that have already been presented last year at national or international meetings and conferences. Hence, it is not necessary to make new presentations, which scientifically is “recycling” and “sustainable” 🙂

This week, 44 posters and 23 oral talks were presented, which engaged lots of researchers and others leading to scientific and social interactions and networking. Prizes of NOK 10 000, 5 000, and 3 000 were awarded to the three best poster and the three best oral presentations. Dean for Research Marit Bakke presented the winners. The poster awardees were Christina Clausen (1st), Pernille Svalastoga (2nd), and Ninnie Oehme (3rd). The oral presentation awardees were Trine Ludvigsen (1st), Ida Viken Stalund (2nd), and Sepideh Mostafavi (3rd). The prize to a post doc was given to Heidi Espedal and the popular vote prize to Martha Eimstad Haugstøyl. Congratulations to the winners and their environments! And thanks to all other presenters and those organizing the event; especially to the scientific committee Harald Wiker, Renate Grüner, Øyvind Torkildsen, and Gottfried Greve, as well as the leader for the Postgraduate School of Clinical Medical Research, Stian Knappskog.

Enjoy the week-end!

Happy prize winners Postgraduate School of Clinical Medical Research 2019

(Norwegian) Ukens leder

Først og fremst ønsker jeg dere alle et godt nytt år. Jeg håper at planleggingen for det kommende året er godt i gang.

Det medisinske fakultet vil også i år utpeke Årets publikasjon, årets ph.d.-arbeid og pris for fremragende forskningsformidling. Fra 2019 vil prisen for årets forskningsgruppe bli erstattet med en pris for årets forsknings-/innovasjonsmiljø.

Om de enkelte prisene

Begrunnelse Årets publikasjon
Gi en begrunnelse som inneholder argumentasjon for kvalitet (bl.a. impact factor), originalitet og nyskapning. Der det er relevant bør nominasjon også redegjøre for konsekvenser for videre kunnskapsinnhenting, klinisk anvendelse eller innovasjon. Nominasjon til årets publikasjon bør avspeile instituttets egen forskning og originalartikkelen som nomineres skal sendes fakultetet som eget vedlegg (pdf-fil av trykket artikkel).

Begrunnelse Årets ph.d.-arbeid
Gi en kort begrunnelse som blant annet inneholder argumentasjon for kvalitet, originalitet og nyskaping. Der det er relevant bør nominasjon også redegjøre for mulige konsekvenser for videre kunnskapsinnhenting, klinisk anvendelse eller innovasjon. I tillegg skal kandidatens eget bidrag og selvstendighet beskrives. Bedømmelseskomiteens innstilling må legges ved og komiteen vil ta hensyn til denne i sin vurdering. Den nominerte avhandlingen kan sendes som som pdf.

Begrunnelse Årets forsknings-/innovasjonsmiljø
Gi en begrunnelse som blant annet inneholder argumentasjon med utgangspunkt i forskningsproduksjon og/eller innovasjonsaktivitet (For eksempel: fremme av innovasjonskultur, kontakt med næringsliv, innsendelse av/tilslag på søknader om innovasjonsprosjekter, oppnådde lisenser, selskapsetablering, fremragende tjenesteinnovasjon), vitenskapelig kvalitet eller evne til nyskaping. Også arbeidsmiljø, rekruttering, kjønnsbalanse og evne til å utvikle yngre forskere vil bli vektlagt og må presenteres i begrunnelsen. Miljøet som nomineres bør ha tett samarbeid og ikke ha karakter av å være et løst knyttet nettverk. I tillegg bør bidrag til nasjonalt og internasjonalt forskningssamarbeid eller innovasjonsaktivitet, nettverksbygging og bidrag til utdanning av studenter og ph.d.-kandidater kommenteres. 

Begrunnelse Formidlingsprisen
Gi en kort begrunnelse som blant annet inneholder argumentasjon for hvordan en forsker eller en forskningsgruppe har evnet å formidle nyere forskning på en fremragende måte til et bredt publikum. Forskningsformidlingen skal være av høy kvalitet med hensyn til faglig innhold, utforming og utførelse. Den bør engasjere, vekke nysgjerrighet, gi inspirasjon og ny kunnskap. Formidlingen skal svare på samfunnets behov for informasjon og kunnskap om forskning og høyere utdanning.

Frist

Bruk linken å nominere kandidatene dine:

https://skjemaker.app.uib.no/view.php?id=7848679

Frist for innsending av grunngitte forslag settes til 07.02.2020.

Happy New Year!

Christmas and the holiday season at the end of the year are over. It has been a busy time – everything must be fixed and arranged for a few, intense days. However, for most people it has been a precious holiday with time together with the ones we love, as well as an opportunity for contemplation and reflection. It provides motivation and strength to embark on a new year with new opportunities.

It is natural to begin a new year with strategic thinking. In February, the management will conduct a strategy seminar for research group leaders, platform leaders and UGLEs (if the institute council adopts the new scheme). The main theme this year will be communication. Later in the spring we will have a dedicated day focusing on teaching and in the Autumn,  there will be a seminar with HMS work on the agenda. Last year’s K2 seminar (K2 Retreat) at Solstrand for everyone was a success, but the budget situation means that we cannot repeat that for this year. However, we hope to be able to repeat the K2 seminar for everyone at Solstrand in 2021.

Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!

Another year will soon be over. Autumn is often perceived as hectic due to application deadlines, congresses, meetings, and new student courses. And the semester is relatively short compared to the spring semester. Hence, as the year is nearing it’s end, it is good to be able to look forward to a holiday with the opportunity for peace and reflection.

For K2, 2019 has been a very good year. Our faculty members and scientists have published in the best journals and been awarded a number of prestigious awards, including the Faculty of Medicine’s awards, the Research Group of the Year to the Mohn Cancer Research Laboratory by Per Eystein Lønning, the Falch’s Senior Award to Birgitta Åsjø, the Falch’s Junior Award to Bergithe Oftedal, and the Helse Vest research award to Endocrine Medicine with Eystein Husebye. Congratulations to all these environments!

We do not yet know the result of this year’s awards from the Research Council of Norway, but nevertheless solid research funding was achieved in 2019. Although the fiscal year has not yet been concluded, it appears we will well reach our goal of 101 mNOK in consumed external funding this year 🙂

Very good news last week was that Jenny Mjösberg from the Karolinska Institute was awarded the TMS Starting Grant from the Trond Mohn Foundation. Congratulations and welcome to K2! On the teaching side, K2 was responsible for this year’s OSCE, and it went very well. A big thank you to everyone involved.

But there are many others who also contribute to K2 being a good place to work. We have a superb administration that I know maximizes the potential for better research, teaching, innovation, and communication. And we’re so lucky to have a splendid technical staff: Without you, K2 stops!

For many, Christmas and the holiday season is the highlight of the year where family and friends gather for a holiday filled with traditions and a sense of belonging, followed by some days off that can provide opportunities for other activities at home in Bergen, trips to the mountains or abroad. Then comes a fun and exciting time with the New Year’s Eve, the New Year’s concert and the traditional Ski Jumping Week – before another year arises.

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 gathering this year. I have been to the United States for four Christmas holidays and have always been invited home to someone during the holidays. I am embarrassed when I realize that I myself have not been good to include others in my own holiday celebration. Here we have something to learn – being better at including others who are alone or lonely during the holidays. Is there room for someone else at the inn?

With wishes for a peaceful Christmas and holiday season and all the best for 2020.

 

This week’s editorial

Congratulations to Jenny Mjösberg on getting a Starting Grant from the Trond Mohn foundation! Congratulations also to those who received funding from Helse Vest!

Since we have many projects dealing with patient material and personal information, we want to say some words about RETTE:

What is RETTE and why another system? UiB has established the RETTE system in order to comply with GDPR and ensure that we follow existing legislation. REK has made it clear that even though they approve a project it does not mean that all aspects of GDPR are covered. RETTE is thus a supplement and a tool for internal control.

What is positive is that RETTE automatically transfers projects approved by REK. Several of you have probably received an email stating that you have one or several projects in RETTE. When you log in the system (https://rette.app.uib.no/) you can fill inn additional information about the project and answer certain questions before you confirm the project. This is the project leaders’ responsibility. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Finally we would like to remind you about the archive and open access to scientific articles in Cristin.

Silke and Amra

Tighter economy in 2020

In recent years, K2 has had a relatively good economy. This has given us the opportunity to various strategic initiatives, e.g. in bioinformatics, public health studies, nutrition and genomics. The budget for 2020 that the University of Bergen will give to the Faculty of Medicine means a tighter economy for K2. An increase of 8 million NOK is provided as profit growth and a 3% increase as compensation for the price and wage increase. The downside is that UiB deducts 1% in a so-called strategy cut. These funds will be used by UiB to build up a fund that they wish to use for strategic initiatives. 0.5% is also deducted in a efficiency cut. But what really affects the economy is that the rent for our spaces increases by 5.1%. Furthermore, the Faculty loses 7 recruitment positions.

The Faculty is unable to cover all these cuts, so the departments must take some of these, including K2. The employees had a solid increase in salaries in 2019, but UiB’s compensation for the price and wage increases only covers approx. 1/3 of this. K2 must in 2020 therefore financially be more cautious. We have decided that K2 will in 2020 not repeat the K2 Retreat for everyone, but rather focus on a Strategy Seminar for the research group leaders, platform leaders and education leaders as well as an HMS Day for all employees as before. We must also freeze some positions. K2 aims to be in budget balance to have a healthy economy and not be in arrears. It gives us a momentum even if the economy gets tighter.

K2 is the faculty’s largest department and one of the largest at UiB. We perform research, teaching, innovation and communication at the very top of the university sector in Norway. We have reason to be proud of ourselves and what we do!

Have a great weekend!

Genetically modified organisms (GMO)

K2 has appointed Professor Audun Nerland as GMO responsible at the institute. Background and work instructions are as follows:

In spring 2013, K2 was notified of an inspection by the Directorate of Health (HOD) regarding work in the laboratories with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The K2 management hence asked Professor Audun Nerland for help because he had worked on such matters at the former Gades institute and the Institute of Marine Research. The inspection resulted in both K2 and the Faculty being instructed to give training to their staff working on GMO.

Because of this, Nerland organized an internal course for staff at both the Faculty and Haukeland University Hospital. He later took the initiative to create and teach at a new university course (HUMGEN302) for students and fellows on regulations for working with GMOs.

The Gene Technology Act instructs us:
– that the laboratories are approved according to the risk level of GMO work
– that a notification / application is submitted about the work, which includes a risk assessment (project application); For work in risk classes 3 and 4, there must also be an impact assessment of what can happen if the relevant GMO is accidentally released into the environment
– that protocols for the work are written properly
– that the staff involved in the work receive thorough training
– that waste management and transport of GMOs are carried out in accordance with the regulations
– that there is a contingency plan in case the GMO unintentionally releases into the environment

It is important to have good procedures for GMO work in the laboratories in the event of an accident. We must expect new inspections from the Directorate of Health. Furthermore, there are frequent questions from both staff at K2 and other institutes about how applications should be designed and work routines / safety when it comes to working with GMOs, and there is a need or representation in various committees and resource groups. Therefore, I have found it necessary to have someone who is formally GMO responsible at K2.

The GMO responsible at K2 shall:
1. Advise those who are going to write applications / reports on working with GMOs (project applications).
2. Coordinate applications for approval of laboratories for work with GMOs.
3. Make sure we have an up-to-date database of applications / approvals for laboratories and projects.
4. Conduct inspections to ensure that the laboratories are organized in accordance with the regulations and that work is carried out satisfactorily.
5. Provide training as required by law, eg. through an e-learning course
6. Together with the HMS Manager, make sure that the “Guidelines for working with GMOs” is updated.
7. Establish a local GMO risk assessment committee.
8. Prepare an overall contingency plan in case of accidental release of GMOs.
9. Be in contact regarding GMO issues with the Faculty / UiB / Directorate of Health / Ministries.
10. Create a website for information and help with applications etc.

Thank you to Audun for his good work so far and for taking on this important task.

Have a great weekend!

World Diabetes Day November 14

I am writing this editorial on the World Diabetes Day. This is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight. It is marked every year on 14 November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who was one of the discoverers of insulin in 1922.

World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225.

The World Diabetes Day campaign aims to be the platform to promote by International Diabetes Federation advocacy efforts throughout the year, and to be the global driver to promote the importance of taking coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue.

The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the UN Resolution on diabetes. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness. It signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.

Every year, World Diabetes Day has a specific theme which runs over one or multiple years. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2018-19 is Family and Diabetes.

Several initiatives are also happening in Norway. One is to put emphasis on diabetes research. The Diabetes Association has a long tradition of distributing research funding to a wide range of diabetes research through the Diabetes Association Research Fund. The Diabetes Association’s Research Award was for the first time awarded in 2017, and aims to stimulate more Norwegian diabetes research. The award committee consists of recognized Nordic researchers.

Simon Dankel and I were invited as previous prize winners (Simon won the Research Award for Young Researchers in 2018, I the senior Research Award in 2017) at the award ceremony at the University of Oslo’s Aula and following dinner at Hotel Bristol. Professor Kåre Birkeland at the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital received the Diabetes Association’s Research Award, for his efforts to improve the treatment of type 2 diabetes and to understand the underlying mechanisms of the disease. Postdoctoral candidate Christine Sommer, who won the Research Award for Younger Researchers, has excelled in Norway and internationally for her research on gestational diabetes.

A very special honor was awarded to Professor Emeritus Kristian Folkvord Hanssen at the University of Oslo receiving the King’s Fortjenestemedalje for his long efforts to better treatment of diabetes. Of extra relevance to us here in Bergen is that his grandfather was Olav Hanssen, a former famous physician and researcher at Haukeland University Hospital. Congratulations to the three winners!!!

Enjoy the week end!

 

How can you increase innovation in your lab? How can you combine being a scientist and a health innovator?

These are some of the topics that will be discussed at the innovation intro course for professors to be held in Trondheim at the end of this month. The School of Health Innovation is a collaborate initiative between UIO, NTNU and Karolinska Institute aiming to provide life science researchers and clinicians with tools and insight into how innovation can be put to work for the benefit of patients, the healthcare system and our society. The course was initiated in 2017 delivering courses to life science PhDs, post-docs and clinicians from Nordic universities. There is no course fee, and lunch/dinner is covered by the School of Health Innovation. Participants cover expenses for accommodation and travel. There are only 20 slots available for this course, so please sign up! If you are interested please register by 15 November, by sending your CV to Bjarte Reve, project manager for School of Health Innovation (HIS) bjarte.reve@medisin.uio.no

Program – School of Health innovation for professors(pdf)
Learning outcomes
After completion of the course the participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the opportunities of health innovation and entrepreneurship for utilization of research
  • Increase innovation and productivity in your lab/research group
  • Utilize incentives in order to increase innovation in your lab/department
  • Apply scientific background and knowledge of health innovation to address challenges and develop services and products within a clinical setting and a biopharma/medtech setting
  • Use various business tools for ideation and feasibility studies; to develop, prototype and test solutions to user needs
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how the Tech Transfer Office and other innovation support actors can support the commercialization process
  • Apply the basics in financing a startup company from private and governmental funding bodies
  • Assess their skills in health innovation and reflect on the exploitation of their own research
  • Combine being a scientist and a health innovator/entrepreneur

When & where
Dates: 28-29 November 2019.
Venue:Det Kongelige Norske Vitenskapers Selskap, Elvegata 17,Trondheim
Hotel for participants: Quality Hotel Augustin

A little more about the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology 2019

This year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology was awarded to William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza for the discovery of how cells sense oxygen and adapt their metabolism to different oxygen levels. Their findings are of great clinical relevance and explain, among other things, how erythrocyte formation is regulated and the mechanism for the development of various cancers as also discussed in the K2-editorial in Week 42.

I think it is interesting that all the three award winners are clinicians and have approached the problem of oxygen sensing from different angles. The paediatrician Semenza and the nephrologist Ratcliffe studied erythropoietin regulation, while oncologist Kaelin’s approach was to understand a rare tumour syndrome characterized by stress hormone-producing tumours in the adrenal medulla (phaeochromocytoma), angioblastomas in the central nervous system, and multifocal renal cancer (von Hippel Lindau’s syndrome (VHL)). He found that the VHL protein forms a complex with hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF1a) that leads to degradation of HIF1a. Lack of VHL generates a hypoxic signal eventually leading to angiogenesis and tumour formation.

What can we learn from them? Perhaps one message is that it is difficult to predict where the next major medical breakthrough will come from, and that too much ear marking of research resources in specific directions (read research programs) is less fruitful than letting scientists choose their own problems to study. As one research leader put it: “We don’t care what you do; we want you to be one of the leaders in your field”. Another tenet is the power of translational research in which studies of rare monogenic diseases can lead to breakthroughs in the understanding of basic physiological mechanisms that, in turn, open up to the development of new exciting therapies.

Let this year’s Nobel Prize be an inspiration for good translational research

Eystein