Malmö University has received a significant donation to develop research on water. The donation comes from the company Sandberg Development AB and will total 100 million Swedish kronor over a ten-year period.

“Water research has a strong connection to sustainable environment and global health. The donation means that we can further develop our chemistry research and makes it possible for us to contribute new knowledge that is needed to meet global challenges,” says Kerstin Tham, Vice-Chancellor of Malmö University.

... we hope that the research can contribute to solving global challenges in health and the environment linked to water.

Professor Johan Engblom

The donation is directed to the Department of Biomedical Science and researchers working at the Biofilms Research Center for Biointerfaces. The investment will pay for both basic research and applied research in physical chemistry.

“In our research, we look at how water interacts with biomolecules, surfaces and nanomaterials. We study the entire spectrum of water activities, from clean water to almost completely dry systems. In applied form, we hope that the research can contribute to solving global challenges in health and the environment linked to water. It could be about more environmentally friendly cleaning and development of medicines,” says Johan Engblom, head of the department.

The researchers are already conducting water research, which thanks to the donation can now be further developed. The research includes development of new environmentally-friendly materials that can quickly break down in water, thus exploring optimised cleaning methods that can reduce emissions and pollution in water research on water and drug development. This could be, for example, about how the amount of water in the skin and mucous membranes affects how drugs are transported through them, as well as the development of protein-based drug preparations.

“This donation gives us a fantastic opportunity to further develop our long-established research with a focus on water. It is an important part of our research environment which can now continue to grow,” says Engblom.

Sandberg Development is the parent company of a family-owned group that has operated in Malmö since the 1950s. There is a long-term collaboration between the group and researchers at Malmö University. Currently, two research projects are being carried out in collaboration with the subsidiaries Camurus, and SWATAB. Water is one of Sandberg Development's focus areas.

“Ensuring access to clean water is one of the great challenges of our time. For over 40 years, we have invested in innovations and circular solutions for more efficient use and purification of water. Several of these investments have led to profitable companies that, in various ways, contribute to reducing both the use of water and a dependence on chemicals,” says Stefan Persson, president and CEO of Sandberg Development.

Text: Anna Dahlbeck & Adrian Grist