2nd KI Conference on Sustainable Development

The second KI Conference on Sustainable Development took place as a hybrid face-to-face and digital meeting on 17th November 2021.

SDG conference 2021
Ole Petter Ottersen, President of KI, presenting at the 2nd KI Conference on Sustainable Development on 17 November 2021.

The aim of the conference was to provide KI scientists with an opportunity to reflect on how health is linked to climate change and to learn examples of how KI research relates to specific SDGs. The invited speakers were a non-conventional mix of both researchers and experts.

While the programme was inspirational in itself, a new funding initiative to encourage KI researchers to engage in SDG-related questions was also announced. As well as formal lectures, breakout sessions enabled participants to inform, inspire, interact and start innovative collaborations with each other. The programme was concluded with a summary by Nina Rawal and Susanne Gabrielsson that marked the end of an extremely informative and inspiring day. The whole conference and individual films of each presentation can be accessed below.

Part 1. Introduction and keynote speakers

The first session started with the introduction of the conference by facilitator Nina Rawal and main organiser Susanne Gabrielsson.

Then Ole Petter Ottersen, President of KI, talked about KI Strategy 2030 and why universities should engage in the SDGs.

Michaela Vallin, UN Agenda 2030 coordinator at KI, gave an introductory talk on the SDGs and showed how they provide a framework to view health in a broad context.

Stefan Swartling Peterson, Professor of global transformation for health at KI, spoke on how universities should take actions toward the SDGs, by placing humans as a narrative in the center of all goals and work in partnerships for transformations of life supporting systems through research and innovation.

Agneta Richter-Dahlfors, Professor at KI, and Ulrica Edlund, Professor at KTH, together presented the Center for the Advancement of Integrated Medical and Engineering Sciences (AIMES) and discussed a broadening of perspectives of SDGs for health, exemplified by the research performed within the AIMES Center.

The session was ended by flash talks from 4 of the 5 KI SDG grant recipients (2020):

  • Assistant professor Ferdinand X Choong (representing AIMES and Agneta Richter-Dahlfors’ project on biobased materials in wounds dressings),
  • Professor Anna Färnert (the double burden of malaria and lifestyle diseases in Cameroon),
  • Assistant professor Helena Litorp (norms and values as barriers and enablers to global sexual and reproductive health and rights in Sub-Saharan Africa)
  • Professor Anna Mia Ekström (COVID-19-related effects on poverty, food shortages, inequality and health in Uganda).

Part 2. Round-table discussion

Susanne Gabrielsson, Professor Immunology, KI, chaired a round-table discussion on how to apply the existing knowledge and techniques in as broad context as possible, how to reach decision makers with our research results, and how techniques and medications can be simplified to reduce costs for the users.

The discussion started with short presentations from the panel:

MD, PhD Rolf Zetterström: Almost 60 years of Newborn Blood Spot Screening – how to reach more children globally. Dr. Zetterström pointed out the need for infrastructure and personnel to be able to perform even technically simple tests in low-income countries.

PhD Vicente Pelechano Garcia: Towards a simplified molecular detection of antimicrobial resistance. Dr. Garcia discussed how complicated techniques, but simple to use, can be developed for better diagnosis and correct treatment in a low income setting.

Professor Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren: NK cells – from discovery to treatment of human cancer. Prof. Ljunggren gave an overview of the whole process from basic research with the discovery of the Natural Killer cell to clinical application.

Part 3. Technical solutions for health problems

Hanna Karlsson, Docent toxicology, KI and Agneta Richter-Dahlfors, Professor KI, chaired a round-table discussion on how to translate the basic research towards use in society, which started with short presentations from the panel:

Professor Susanne Guidetti: Using new technology platforms to monitor or treat disease. Digital teaching model via mobile phones. Prof Guidetti gave an interesting example on an intervention study using mobile phones in the rehabilitation of stroke patients in Uganda.

Professor Staffan Holmin: Development of new techniques for diagnosis. Professor Holmin gave two examples of the development of novel tools; for endovascular techniques and photon-counting CT and further discussed the need to improve implementation.

Professor Ulrica Edlund: Sustainability in materials and value-chains for health. With materials in health care as one example, Prof. Edlund highlighted that solving one SDG can affect many other goals and furthermore discussed challenges in the transition to more sustainable materials.

Conference Organisers

Both the first and the second KI Conferences on Sustainable Development ware organised by the project team One KI for Sustainable Development that aims to create coherence, so that the entire university is involved in the work of striving to meet the SDGs as described in Agenda 2030.