The push for sustainable Nordic welfare continues

23.09.2014
The Sustainable Nordic Welfare programme seeks to provide the Nordic governments with innovative solutions and tools for meeting welfare-policy challenges. This year’s event was a continuation of the conference held in 2013 in connection with the launch of the programme.

“We must find effective solutions”

Gunnel Gustafsson

The purpose of the conference was to exchange experience from the programme’s first year, present ongoing projects, offer networking opportunities and provide inspiration on how to create a sustainable Nordic welfare system. It was on this last point that Director Gunnel Gustafsson was asked to share her thoughts with the assembly: What is the future outlook for the Nordic welfare model? 

“The differences between Nordic countries give us a good starting point for close cooperation and strengthening the entire Nordic region. We lack clout individually, but together the Nordic countries comprise a significant region, with 26 million inhabitants. Thus, Nordic cooperation aimed at generating new knowledge is essential, both for meeting future challenges and for paving the way for further development. We must continue to work to find effective solutions,” states the director.

“A gold mine for Nordic countries”

Maria Nilsson

Senior Adviser in NordForsk, Maria Nilsson, was among many who took the stage with ideas for long-term solutions that may help to sustain Nordic welfare in the future as well.

“Sharing data from biobanks and health registries across our national borders represents a potential gold mine for Nordic countries. Each of our countries has built registries containing high-quality data compiled over decades, but these registries have not been adequately utilised in research. A joint Nordic registry would have access to close to 26 million individuals and could be of enormous value to research, help to prevent disease and develop new methods of treatment. If we can overcome the ethical and legal obstacles, we can become a model region at the research forefront in this area,” Ms Nilsson states.

Nordic cooperation on clinical studies

Pierre Lafolie

Participants at the conference also had the opportunity to learn more about various projects under the Sustainable Nordic Welfare programme. One of these is the Nordic Trial Alliance (NTA), headed by Pierre Lafolie, which receives funding from both NordForsk and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The Nordic Trial Alliance is working to make it easier to carry out clinical studies in Nordic countries. Dr Lafolie was enthusiastic in explaining the NTA’s efforts to achieve this. Strengthening the Nordic researcher network and establishing a platform for cooperation are just two of the measures aimed at increasing the number of clinical studies in the region. This will in turn facilitate efforts to determine the effects of new pharmaceuticals and treatments on patients.

New project on welfare professions

Leif Eriksson

Leif Eriksson, Senior Adviser at NordForsk, gave a presentation on a new project on welfare professions in the Nordic countries. He explained that the objective of the project is to create an overview of Nordic welfare-related research and higher education. This will promote the development of publicly funded research programmes and ensure that research findings are made available to and used within all the Nordic countries.

Text: Tor Martin Nilsen

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