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The Lund University Diabetes Research Centre represents the latest link in a chain of concerted efforts among diabetes researchers at Lund University. In 1997 a team of diabetes researchers (Leif Groop PI, Åke Lernmark, Cecilia Holm, Eva Degerman and Patrik Rorsman from Lund University, together with Sven Enerbäck from Göteborg University and Peter Arner from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm) were given the status of "Centre of Excellence" in diabetes research from the Wallenberg and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. This large-scale research project (Heterogeneity of diabetes) lasted until 2003 and durting these years several seminal contributions in different areas of diabetes research were made.

The Centre of Excellence was in 2003 succeeded by the faculty-sponsored Diabetes Programme (DPLU) initiative, which had a somewhat different approach by acting as an open network facilitating research activities and collaborations rather than performing them. The DPLU continues its mission to this date, now in parallel with the LUDC.

In 2005 diabetes research at Lund University was awarded a substantial grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, but due to Patrik Rorsman´s move to Oxford University, this grant was retracted.

However, in June 2006 the success story of diabetes research at Lund University entered a different phase when the awarded a ten-year Linnaeus grant supporting the activities of the LUDC.