COLUMN. The project Sahlgrenska Life recently arranged a field trip to Stockholm to learn more about the extensive premises development taking place at Karolinska Institutet and New Karolinska Solna. One of the 20 people from Gothenburg who went to learn something for our future building plans was Akademiliv’s editor Elin Lindström Claessen.
The institute and the university hospital in Solna have their own Per Dubbsgatan – but there, it is called Solnavägen. Just like Per Dubbsgatan, Solnavägen is a strongly trafficked road that serves as a natural boundary between the operations. On either side of Solnavägen, two large buildings are now being built, Biomedicum at Karolinska Institutet (KI) and Bioclinicum at New Karolinska Solna (NKS). Both of the buildings are to be tied together with a footbridge, which, like our footbridge between Sahlgrenska Hospital and Medicinareberget, is becoming an important symbol for the collaboration and consensus between clinical and preclinical research and education. Since we in Gothenburg have had our bridge so long, it is of course easy to banter about KI that is now so proud to be able to be physically tied together with NKS, but it is also the only point where we have a lead.
Right now, construction is frenetic along Solnavägen. The City of Stockholm is creating an entirely new city district, Hagastaden, with homes and businesses, as well as investments in Life Science called Stockholm Life, where KI and NKS is in focus. The impressive building Aula Medica, where our meeting took place that day in one of the conference rooms, was finished in 2013. Right now, they are putting the finishing touches on Biomedicum, a large, ultramodern laboratory building for experimental biomedical research, and now extremely detailed plans are being drawn up for how to best make the move into the building. Roughly the same time, the sister building Bioclinicum will be completed on the hospital campus, and then the planned footbridge will also be built over Solnavägen. Further in the future, there are plans to place Solnavägen underground, and create a boulevard that ties together the hospital and university even more clearly.
We were given a short tour in New Karolinska Solna, which is the project name for the modern university hospital being built next to the existing university hospital. There, care will be provided integrated with research and education. The hospital only has single rooms, with very few exceptions, to provide better possibilities for education and research. The first patients have already been received, and the hospital will be in full operation next year.
At Karolinska Institutet, the campus being one large construction site has become second nature. One of the presentations during our visit was interrupted by the dampened rumble of blasting, which caused some cheery comments from the participants. At Karolinska Institutet, there were also concerns that the blasting and other vibrations from the construction would disturb the animals, but soon after blasting began, the veterinarians noted that the animals quickly became accustomed to the disruptions and returned to their normal behavior. Akademiliv hopes to be able to come back with a more detailed article on how the animal research was affected by the construction at KI in the autumn.
As a communication specialist, I especially noted how clearly the importance of professional communication was emphasized during the visit time and again. It is above all a matter of various kinds of internal communication, as well as ensuring the communication flows between the various parts of the project, supporting those parts when they fall out of sync with each other and increasing participation among the employees. Gunnar Öhlén, Senior Physician at Karolinska in Solna and Huddinge, pointed out, among other things, that the communication of the changes must be managed in a professional manner, with well-prepared communication plans, and that this entails extensive, continuous work over many years.
The acting Vice-Chancellor of KI, Karin Dahlman-Wright, and University Director Rune Fransson shared some of the challenges that the move of various research groups entails for the university. Moving a large operation costs money and entails an interruption to the activities, at least at the beginning. The management being active and involved is a requirement to really achieve the increased collaboration that is strived for. Established working cultures clashing with each other was another challenge that was highlighted. In the new building Biomedicum, researchers from various departments will sit among each other on the various floors, which means that the spirit the researchers previously shared with their department will come into contact with other cultures from other departments. This cultural change will also require a clear leadership, according to Karin and Rune.
In Gothenburg, we are still at the beginning of the major project intended to strengthen and gather the life sciences at Medicinareberget. Even if we have a lot to learn from KI, our project Sahlgrenska Life is governed by which needs our particular research, education and collaboration will have in the future. The prestudy that is under way right now for Sahlgrenska Life and will provide an overall illustration of the needs we have in common with the Västra Götaland Region will be complete in the autumn.
Those who participated in the field trip for Sahlgrenska Life to KI/NKS on June 2, 2017 were:
- Andreas Eklöf, Project Manager for Sahlgrenska Life, Inobi
- Anna Karlsson, Vice Dean of Doctoral Studies, Professor, Sahlgrenska Academy
- Anna Skoog, Building Project Manager, Services unit, University of Gothenburg
- Carin Sjösten Nilsson, Unit Manager, Group Purchasing, Västra Götaland Region
- Catarina Sjöling, Group Purchasing, Västra Götaland Region
- Dan Holmstén, Project Manager, Sahlgrenska University Hospital
- Elin Lindström Claessen, Communications Officer, Sahlgrenska Academy
- Erik Berg, Project Support, Sahlgrenska Life, Inobi
- Eva Karin Andersberg, Project Manager for Translational Clusters, Sahlgrenska Academy
- Gustav Bertilsson Uleberg, Administrative Manager, Faculty of Science
- Göran Hilmersson, Department Head, Faculty of Science
- Lars Ivarsson, Project Manager, Properties, Consultant.
- Lennart Ahlkvist, Premises Supply, Services unit, University of Gothenburg
- Lina Strand Backman, Unit Manager, Innovation Platform, Västra Götaland Region
- Lotta Gummesson, CEO, Sahlgrenska Science Park
- Mia Ericson, Docent, Sahlgrenska Academy
- Mårten Tiselius, Director of Architecture and Strategic Premises Supply, Services unit, University of Gothenburg
- Nadja Frisk, Head of Premises Supply, Services unit, University of Gothenburg
- Per Sunnerhagen, Professor, Faculty of Science
- Peter Alvemur, Deputy CEO, Virtartes
- Pia Pettersson, Analyst, Inobi
- Pontus Isaksson, Property Manager, Akademiska Hus
- Rolf Vänänen, Project Manager, Sahlgrenska University Hospital
Further reading about New Karolinska Solna here: http://www.nyakarolinskasolna.se/
Further reading about Karolinska Institutet’s construction project Biomedicum: https://kiedit.ki.se/en/staff/biomedicum-more-than-a-building
Further reading about he on-going work with the prestudy for Sahlgrenska Life: http://www.akademiliv.se/2017/05/40763/
TEXT AND PHOTO: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN