It aims to understand and manipulate molecular processes to diagnose and cure diseases. Molecular medicine improves diagnosis, discovers effective individualized treatments for cancer and immune disorders, and creates vaccines against lethal infections. Researchers must collaborate across disciplines to work at multiple scales, from atoms to entire organisms and populations. Transformative new technologies require levels of funding and expertise that often cannot be replicated in many places. Single countries like the Nordics cannot excel in all areas, and collaboration across borders is a key to success.
These considerations gave rise to the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine in 2007, which is today an outstanding example of effective and sustainable Nordic collaboration. It is an alliance of complementary excellence centers at the Universities of Helsinki (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland - FIMM), Umeå (Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden - MIMS), Oslo (Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway - NCMM) and Aarhus (Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience - DANDRITE), which all work in partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) with sites in Heidelberg, Hamburg, Grenoble, Rome, Barcelona and Hinxton.
All partners share a common vision of excellence in research, succeed in attracting talented young scientists to the Nordics and foster their careers. Their strong national networks leverage their European connections for the benefit of Nordic science. The Partnership has evolved from scientific exchange and parallel implementation of excellence principles to interconnected core facilities and joint training programmes. The current NORPOD proposal aims to take the Nordic EMBL partnership collaborations to the next level by implementing joint projects across our borders that will tackle major research gaps in molecular medicine, including e.g. COVID-19 risk factors and precision medicine. This will be achieved through a programme for collaborative work through postdoctoral fellowships, including a cross-Nordic community of early career researchers hosted by the four sites of the Partnership. NORPOD will close research gaps, attract unique talents, develop new competences and promote research excellence.