New winning combination: engineer and physician

28 September, 2018

New researchers and entrepreneurs will need to be doctors in both medicine and technology. Digitalisation places new demands on the Swedish higher education system. Now, the first steps to meet this challenge are being taken in Gothenburg.

Research and product/service developers in digital health/health tech need high levels of knowledge in both medicine and technology. Research programs need to cover both perspectives.

That was the message from Sahlgrenska Academy’s new dean, Agneta Holmäng, when she spoke at the international life science conference, Park Annual, arranged by Sahlgrenska Science Park.

“We need to rapidly develop education that includes digital health and AI. To build both broad and exceptional skills bases. Collaboration with business, industry and the public sector must be prioritised,” said Agneta Holmäng.

The global knowledge society is moving rapidly into the new digital landscape. The relatively, closed Swedish national education system must therefore be opened to attract skills, talent and resources.

“Swedish universities need to strengthen their global profile and become attractive environments for knowledge and development.”

A siloed approach that ring fences disciplines such as engineering, economics, humanities and medicine is no longer viable, according to Agneta Holmäng who cited Stanford as an example. There, the Biomechanical Engineering (BME) program has been created by integrating biology and clinical medicine with engineering and computer science.

In West Sweden, the first step has been taken in the same direction through collaboration between Chalmers, Gothenburg University, Sahlgrenska Academy, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Region stra Götaland.

PhD students from Chalmers and Sahlgrenska Academy are working together in projects focusing on digital health and AI.

Digitalisation and the major transformation of the life science industry was a consistent theme at this year’s Park Annual conference.

Text: Kenny Genborg