Our work and activities at the Centre for Health Crises

Our work is interdisciplinary and focuses on preparedness, management, prevention, and evaluation of health crises. It is based on the core tasks of universities: education, research, and collaboration, as well as what we choose to call "the fourth task" - supporting the surrounding society in a health crisis. Our work and activities are guided by our strategic goals and are during the period 2024–2026 structured around ten focal areas.

In the circles it says: learning from covid-19, Research school, health crises in undergraduate education, health crises academy, expert mediation, health care preparedness and

Strategic Goals

Our work and activities at the Centre for Health Crises are guided by our strategic goals, which are based on the core tasks of the university, but with a focus on health crises. 

Circle consisting of four puzzle pieces where it says: catalyse research, stimulate education, gather and build expertise, drive policy
  1. Catalyse research collaborations within the field of health crises and create meeting spaces for interdisciplinary collaboration
  2. Stimulate and participate in the development of new education within different health crises subjects
  3. Gather existing and build new health crises expertise, and supply specific know-how and competence
  4. Drive policy development and in collaboration, set the agenda for increased health crises preparedness
  5. Act as KI’s and its managements sensor for new health threats, and contribute to the coordination of KI’s efforts in a health crisis

Focal Areas

For the period 2024–2026, we have chosen to structure our work around 10 focus area, that relate to our strategic goals. The focal areas set the direction of our work for the three-year period. They require that expertise from several areas come together and collaborate. 

Whilst the focal areas provide a direction for our work, the Centre remains agile and adapts what we do to respond to health crises that occur or threatens to occur. 

What follows is a description of each focal that also highlights of ongoing activities. A more detailed description of the focal areas can be found in our work plan for 2024–2026.

The workplan for the Centre for Health Crises 2024-2026

The universities’ role in health crises and total defence

Advocating for an active role for universities in health crises and total defence, as well as defining what that role Is, has been a central issue for us since the Centre was established. We argue that universities can contribute expertise and experience both before and during a health crisis. As a university, we should value and preserve our role as an active societal actor. We should also work to provide credible and evidence-based knowledge before, during, and after health crises. Within this area, we collaborate within the national Health Crisis Network, which we initiated in 2023 and together we work to pursue the issue further. In light of Sweden's NATO membership, we also work, in collaboration with others, on issues related to the role of universities in total defence.

Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic and other health crises

We follow up on the recommendations made in the final report of the Corona Commission and other reports on the subject. We also organise roundtable discussions and other activities to contribute to the implementation of lessons learned from COVID-19 and other health crises.

Additionally, we have initiated a project that maps and analyses the experiences of healthcare personnel who worked with COVID-19. The project's intention is to gather, understand and learn from the healthcare personnel's experiences. Similarly, we are working to examine how clinical trials during health crises can be developed and improved based on experiences from COVID-19.

Science-based policy

The position that policy and political decisions should be based on research and proven experience runs as a common thread through much of our work. Moreover, driving policy development and setting the agenda for increased health crisis preparedness in collaboration with others, is one of our strategic goals. To pursue this, we organise policy labs together with colleagues at KI and develop training in a decision-making support tool called ‘rapid response brief’ to be used in health crises.

Expert mediation

Gathering existing and building new expertise, as well as making expertise and competence accessible, is one of our strategic goals. We continuously work with expert mediation in all our areas of expertise and within health crises in general. We do it through, among other things, participation in the media, contributions to state investigations, and government commissions to state authorities.

Another important aspect of our expert mediation is our secondments. We second experts both to ongoing health crises and to work on health crisis preparedness. Our secondments to ongoing health crises internationally are done through our partners, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières. It is a way for us to actively contribute our expertise, but it also enables our employees to bring back valuable experiences. During the period 2024–2026, we will explore opportunities to expand our secondments to include mentorship for junior employees and secondments within Sweden.

Health crises as part of undergraduate programmes, National Health Crises Research School, and Health Crises Academy

We maintain that in order to ensure basic competence in the field and build the next generation of health crisis experts, the subject must be introduced early and as part of relevant undergraduate programmes. Stimulating and participating in the development of new educational programs in the field of health crises is one of our strategic goals. 

Investments must also be made to build research in the field, which has been neglected for many years, in order to secure future competence and expertise. We believe that a research school in health crises should be established and given adequate and long-term support.

We work on defining educational needs and stimulating existing and new educational initiatives. We plan to gather relevant initiatives in a Health Crises Academy. Our strategic education coordinator Anneli Eriksson leads our work on this. If you have questions about our work within this focal area, please feel free to contact her.

Preparedness in the health care sector and preparedness infrastructure

At the Centre for Health Crises, we want to raise awareness of issues related to preparedness in healthcare. We believe that preparedness should be based on research and proven experience and should take all four components of surge capacity (staff, systems, stuff, and space) into account. 

The same applies to preparedness infrastructure, for example, when it comes to building laboratory capacity and analytical capability in CBRN (chemical (C), biological (B), radiological (R), or nuclear (N) substances). We promote these issues through knowledge gathering, policy work, and catalysing research projects, in collaboration with partners and networks.

KI's sensor

Since the establishment of the Centre, it has been clearly stated that we should serve as KI's and its management's sensor for health threats crises that can affect both the university itself and the surrounding society. This is also formulated in our fifth strategic goal. When conducting work within this focal area, we collaborate closely with KI's management, offices at Professional Services and other parts of the university. We welcome everyone at KI to contact us, and we are happy to present our work and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Content reviewer:
Åsa Svensson