Networks and collaborations at the Centre for Health Crises

Collaborations, nationally and internationally, with partners at other universities and other organisations, are of utmost importance to us. Our networks and collaborations enable us to use, develop and disseminate our skills in our areas of expertise, ensure that our knowledge and skills remain relevant and allow us to bring our knowledge and skills to where they are most needed. We are also the node for a new Health Crises Network for university cooperation in health crises.

An illustration of collaborations in three levels, national, regional and international. The innermost circle says steering group and management, then expert coordinators and lastly the health crises network

Collaboration and networking are a constant aspect of all our activities, both at a specialised level, in one or more areas of expertise, and at a general level where the whole centre collaborates with other partners. We are continuously mapping contexts to identify and analyse forums that may be relevant for us to participate in. Our networks and collaborations are done within the university as well as at a local, national, and international level.

Several people sitting around a conference table looking at the camera
Participants at the meeting 5 December 2023 that laid the foundation to the creation of a health crises network Photo: Åsa Svensson

Health Crises Network

Collaboration with other universities enables us to pool our knowledge and expertise and jointly find effective ways to reach out to the rest of society. Universities have plenty expertise in a wide range of areas, which are essential in the preparation, management, and evaluation of health crises. By bringing these together in a network, we can make better use of our resources, create more effective collaborations, and better utilise our expertise for the benefit of society. 

The background to the network for university collaboration in health crises lies in funding that was earmarked for developing collaboration between universities in the field of health crises in KI’s appropriation directions for the fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

The first step in this work was a mapping conducted in 2023, which identified expertise in several specific subject areas relevant to health crises. The mapping also identified what education programmes and courses that exist in the field at Swedish universities. The conclusion was that there is highly topical research and education in the area, the level of ambition is high and there is a willingness to contribute with evidence, expertise, and teaching. 

In December 2023 a Health Crises Network was established, consisting of people with relevant subject-matter expertise from Swedish universities, and with the Centre for Health Crises as the coordinating node.

The Health Crises Network collaborates on issues related to health crisis preparedness, management, and evaluation. The idea is that the network will be activated when a crisis occurs, but also engage in ongoing cooperation on common issues and share experiences. A major focus is on building capacity for the future and ensuring that the next generation has the skills to continue the work. The network is under construction and exact formats for the work are being developed. 

Collaborations within KI 

Collaboration with colleagues and partners at KI is very important for our Centre. As our work spans many traditional disciplines and requires multifaceted expertise to be effective, it is important that we reach out to departments, centres, and groups within the university. 

Since the establishment of the Centre, we have worked with the Global Disaster Medicine - Health Needs and Responses research group and the National Pandemic Centre. Together with the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health, we regularly organise policy labs for discussion and learning on how to influence policy. At present, we are engaged in a dialogue with The Swedish Radiation Emergency Medicine Centre, to learn more about their work and explore potential collaborations. 

Stockholm Trio

We also value collaboration with partners within Stockholm Trio. An ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration within the university alliance that we participate in is in the field of climate and health. Together with KTH Climate Action Centre and the Bolin Centre for Climate Research at Stockholm University we work to find common areas for research and educational activities, focusing on the intersection of climate and health. At present we have received funding to initiate research collaborations on flooding. 

Representatives from Stockholm Trio are also part of our steering group and colleagues from the other two universities have visited us several times to share their experience and expertise in the field of climate change.

Series of three images, from left: people sitting around the table, man in uniform kneeling to look at a red plate, tents in sunset

National collaborations

Nationally, the centre has an established contact with several organisations and public authorities, including the National Board of Health and Welfare, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services and the Public Health Agency of Sweden. Moreover, within each of our areas of expertise there are also collaborations with other relevant actors. Our aim in collaborating with public authorities and other national actors is that the expertise we and our network partners possess should reach out to support the surrounding society when it comes to preparedness, management, and evaluation of health crises.

Based on our mission to build the next generation of health crisis experts, we place particular value to student engagement and welcome student participation in our activities. We have a Letter of Intent IFMSA Sweden (International Federation of Medical Students' Associations). Moreover, we intend to continue to develop forums and forms of interaction with students and student groups.

Our collaboration with other Swedish higher education institutions is described in detail above, under the heading Network for university cooperation in health crises.

International cooperation and secondment of expertise

Our international network includes collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and other universities and organisations with a specific health crisis focus. These collaborations are crucial for us to remain relevant in our analysis, research, teaching and, not least, to ensure that our expertise reaches where it is needed. 

Furthermore, it also enables us to second experts to ongoing health crises around the world, as well as to support preparedness and evaluation. The secondments are in line with our aim to lend support in ongoing health crises and to initiatives aimed to increase preparedness for future crises. 

To carry out the secondments, we collaborate with organisations that work directly in health crises in various ways. Our work on secondments is evolving and we are always looking at how this can be developed in all our areas of expertise, in the most mutually beneficial way. We are also looking at the possibilities of doing secondments nationally within Sweden. 

At present we collaborate with the following partners in terms of international secondments:

Content reviewer:
Åsa Svensson