KI to coordinate new Swedish-Vietnamese collaboration
Karolinska Institutet is the coordinator of a collaborative project between Swedish and Vietnamese universities that was launched in November at ceremonies in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi attended by KI representatives.
The Training and Research Academic Collaboration (TRAC) – Sweden-Vietnam was launched at two ceremonies in Vietnam on 10 and 11-12 November. Mattias Larsson, a researcher from the Department of Public Health Science, and Linus Olson a researcher from the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, who will be coordinating the project from their base in Vietnam, were present at the ceremonies, along with Professor Carl Johan Sundberg, representing the Karolinska Institutet management.
This is the first time that five Swedish universities have established a common infrastructure for research and education with partners in another country. The Swedish participants are KI, Uppsala, Göteborg, Linköping and Umeå universities, which will be teaming up with Hanoi Medical University, the University of Medicine and Pharmacy HCMC and the Research Institute for Child Health at the National Hospital of Paediatrics in Hanoi. The aim of the collaboration is to develop an academic centre for education and research in the interests of global health.
“We hope to be able to develop more joint education programmes at first, second and third-cycle level with both Swedish and Asian students, and encourage more student exchanges,” says project coordinator Dr Larsson.
The Swedish universities have been engaged in a variety of collaborations with Vietnamese institutions over the years, and TRAC builds upon the contacts that have been created in the country. Besides education, the collaboration can help KI researchers tackle health problems that are important for a large portion of the global population. Ninety-four million people live in Vietnam, which means large patient groups.
“Researchers can quickly gain experience of diseases that are common in Vietnam and that are currently rare, but on the increase, in Sweden,” says Dr Larsson. “One example is the rise in antibiotic resistance, which is a very real problem in hospitals. If we can help reduce the spread of infection in low and middle-income countries, we have the potential not only to save many lives but also to prevent their spread to Europe and Sweden.”
TRAC has received a three-year grant of five million kronor from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT); the participating universities are to make an equivalent contribution in the form of working hours.
Text: Karin Söderlund Leifler