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LUDC top-ranked in national evaluation

Lund University Diabetes Centre (LUDC) was ranked as one of Sweden's three best research environments in the medical sciences in the Final Evaluation of the Linnaeus funding program.
- It was really gratifying to read the report. We are very proud to see how the long-term efforts have paid off and positioned LUDC among the highest-ranked Centers of Excellence in Sweden, both with regards to research performance and societal relevance, says Professor Maria Gomez, coordinator of LUDC.

Close up picture from a detail in a lab
Photo: Kennet Ruona

In the Final Evaluation of the Linnaeus program carried out by, the Swedish Research Council and Formas (Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning), Lund University Diabetes Centre (LUDC) was identified as one of the three best research environments in the  medical sciences together with centres from Karolinska Institutet and Umeå University. The environments were evaluated in two areas, research performance and societal relevance. The main conclusion from the evaluation was that the 10-year  Linnaeus Grant has resulted in successful research environments that have contributed to breakthrough research and are characterized by interdisciplinary research and have enhanced the national and  international competitiveness.

- The Linnaeus Grant has been fundamental  for the establishment of a sustainable research environment. With its focus on excellence, flexibility and, in particular its long-term perspective, the Linnaeus funding has enabled more bold,  “high risk / high gain” research. It has also been instrumental for the recruitment and training of a new generation of very strong researchers and leaders. The Linnaeus programme has definitely strengthened Sweden's position as one of the leading research nations in diabetes, says Maria Gomez.

"Scientific  impact that cannot be overestimated"

The report describes LUDC as a centre with a scientific impact that "cannot be overestimated". No other Linnaeus environment has published as many scientific publications and with an increased impact over time[MG1] . The scientific success of the LUDC has developed and it continues to function as a Centre of Excellence just as intended by the programme. The LUDC is an exemplary collaborative  effort and a best practice example of team science  both nationally and internationally.

- This was particularly fun to read, says Maria Gomez, who believes that the long evaluation process gave the evaluators an opportunity to see where LUDC stands today.

- The Linnaeus Grant ended 2016 and the evaluation went on  until end of January 2020.

Worldwide epidemic

Diabetes has increased to epidemic proportions in societies with a western, sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional habits. According to the Linnaeus report, LUDC has challenged the historical classification of diabetes into autoimmune type 1 diabetes and insulin resistant type 2 diabetes. Research at LUDC has effectively combined various disciplines with analyzes of large and well-characterized patient cohorts and their detailed molecular, genetic and clinical data. A direct outcome of the work is a more refined diabetes classification into groups with different disease progression and severity of complications. The complexity is still far from fully elucidated, but this result  is an internationally praised prerequisite for the development of new diagnosis and treatment strategies, representing an important step towards precision medicine in diabetes.

- The new diabetes classification can help us identify and provide treatment to those who have the highest risk of developing serious complications. It also means that we can now develop and test new drugs and treatments in specific groups of patients, says Maria Gomez.

Increased quality of life for the patient

The evaluators conclude in the report that through the results of the LUDC, the eventual goal of individualized healthcare offering prevention, disease interception, early intervention and outright cure for most or all affected  patients has come closer, and promises  significant impact on the quality of life of diabetes patients, and thereby a significant  reduction of the human suffering. The LUDC findings should eventually also contribute to reducing the economic burden of the diabetes epidemic for society.

Link to the evaluation

Maria Gomez
Professor Maria Gomez, coordinator of LUDC.

Facts/ Centres of Excellence

In 2005, the Swedish Research Council and Formas, the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning, were commissioned by the Government to support the development of Centres of Excellence (CoE), known as Linnaeus centres, at Swedish higher education institutions (HEIs). The Government’s research bill "Research for a better future" (Govt. Bill 2004/05:80) announced the grant, and the remit was to strengthen the ability of Swedish HEIs to prioritise and profile Swedish research to be internationally competitive at the forefront by building strong research environments. The Swedish Research Council announced the grant in two separate calls in 2005 and 2007, and awarded funding to 20 CoE for ten years at each call, with a maximum grant of 10 million SEK per year.

Lund University was among the most successful HEI, receiving a total of 14 environments in the scientific areas of Science, Technology, Medicine and the Humanities.

The evaluation

Link to the evaluation