Chronicle: Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson and Sten Wetterblad on future knowledge environments

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A chronicle by Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, former President at Karolinska Institutet and Sten Wetterblad, regional director of Akademiska Hus Stockholm.

New knowledge environments take us into the future

New buildings are sprouting up everywhere on Karolinska Institutet's Solna Campus  evidence that the university has made a flying start into its third century.

Harriet Wallberg-HenrikssonThe soul of Karolinska Institutet is its people. Without their knowledge and commitment, it would be impossible for the university to accomplish its mission. Because of this, it is of outmost importance to give employees and students alike the very best opportunities to do their work; and to this end they need modern, fully equipped premises.

Buildings are a sign of their time. They reflect a particular time-spirit and say something about the society in which they were built. When the current Solna Campus was laid out in the 1940s, a building was erected for every department in accordance with contemporary education and research practices  with each discipline set apart from the others with few points of contact between them.

These days, the way we work is very different, and we must now cater for cross-disciplinary research and education and collaboration between different actors in the buildings that are now taking shape.

In 2013, work will start on Biomedicum, which is set to be one of the largest laboratories in the world, offering unique opportunities for collaboration between the disciplines that exist on campus. And within a year, Karolinska Institutet will also boast a brand new auditorium.

Sten WetterbladUp and running already is the Science for Life Laboratory - a joint project between Karolinska Institutet, the Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm and Uppsala universities. It also represents Sweden's largest investment in large-scale bioscience research to date. The Stockholm County Council is building a new, modern university hospital nearby.

All that is now under construction is a concrete expression of the vision of this region to strengthening the city's position as one of the world's leading life-science regions.

New buildings inspire confidence in the future and show that we are at the crossroads of old and new, that we embrace progress, and that we are girding our loins for the future.