The HALOS project brings together major research facilities in Lund and Germany to merge academia, business and industry in life science. Malmö University is one of several learning institutes involved.

HALOS, the Hanseatic League of Science, is the three-year project starting this February with a budget of 40 million SEK.

“Collaborating on this project gives us the opportunity to strengthen our position within life science in the local region,” says Marité Cárdenas, professor of biomedical science at Malmö University.

The EU initiative is a continuation of an earlier collaboration between European Spallation Source research facility (ESS) and MAX IV Laboratory, called Cross Border Science and Society. HALOS is specifically focussed on life science.

The main aim of the project is to build expertise on the use of different technologies at four research facilities: ESS and MAX IV in Lund, as well as DESY and European XFEL, which are based in Hamburg. Eight higher education institutions in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Norway are involved in the project, which will be led by Lund University. Medicon Valley Alliance (MVA), Skåne Region Council, the Capital Region of Denmark and the City of Hamburg are other important stakeholders.

HALOS is comprised of 40 smaller projects, three of which have been assigned to Malmö University. These will allow Biofilm Research Center for Biointerfaces, the University’s material and life science research centre, to expand its already prominent network. New collaborations could accelerate research in diagnostics, treatment methods and pharmaceuticals, as well as the development of medical implants and sensors.

In the long term, we hope to be able to detect those at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Marité Cárdenas

“It is important that our researchers join new networks during the course of these projects. The focus of HALOS is to create greater mobility in the region and improve prospects for researchers in Sweden to work abroad,” says Cárdenas.

2019 will also see the launch of ComBine, a new corporate research school, at Biofilms - Research Center for Biointerfaces. The school will employ eight doctoral students from the business sector and was recently granted 17 million SEK in funding from The Knowledge Foundation.

“ComBine will start at around the same time as HALOS, which is ideal in terms of maximising the benefits of both,” Cárdenas says.

The University’s role in the Cross Border Science and Society project has previously allowed researchers to improve their analyses of cholesterol.

“We were able to partner with data analysis experts at the universities in Oslo and Aarhus who helped us analyse lipoprotein particles,” Cárdenas explains.

“In the long term, we hope to be able to detect those at risk of cardiovascular disease. I hope HALOS will allow us to continue to analyse how different proteins and enzymes work so we can provide new and vital knowledge for pharmaceutical development.”

Text: Petra Olsson