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Unique effort to meet global societal challenges

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The University of Gothenburg will establish six strong research centers based on important and current societal issues. This effort, UGOT Challenges, has SEK 300 million in funding and is based on the idea that strong interdisciplinary research is needed to solve the current global societal challenges.

– With this interdisciplinary effort, the University of Gothenburg is showing that we want to address the major global societal issues. Through UGOT Challenges and several other initiatives now under way, we are accepting our social responsibility as a university through strong research, education and a global commitment, says Pam Fredman, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg.

The centers being established span a broad range of subjects. All have clear interdisciplinary components. Some initiatives are new, others build on earlier research structures that are now intended to expand based on the societal challenge perspective.

Six new centers in UGOT Challenges

After a thorough application and assessment process, the following centers have been recommended for funding in the scope of UGOT Challenges. All build on interdisciplinary cooperation; the names in parentheses are the respective center’s main applicant:

Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research

Joakim Larsson and Fredrik Carlsson
The ambition is to create a strong scientific center through a broad interdisciplinary effort to meet the current threat to global health from antibiotic resistance.

Centre for Collective Action Research

Sverker C Jagers and Sam Dupont
Several global challenges require changes at a collective level. In this effort, conditions for how people act collectively will be studied, including in cooperation with scientific research on climate change and the acidification of the seas.

The Swedish Mariculture Research Centre

Kristina Sundell
Interdisciplinary effort to find new ways to achieve sustainable food production through mariculture of plants and animals.

Centre for Ageing and Health

Ingmar Skoog
How can focused interdisciplinary research on the elderly – from genes to society – contribute to increasing the wellbeing of the elderly?

Centre for Critical Heritage Studies

Kristian Kristiansen and Ola Wetterberg
The world is globalizing and changing, and what does this mean for what we usually call "cultural heritage"? This interdisciplinary center has the ambition to gather and generate knowledge on cultural heritage based on new life patterns, identities and social structures.

Centre for Future Chemical Risk Assessment and Management Strategies

Thomas Backhaus and Jessica Coria
How can research contribute to making better analyses and political governance in relation to complex chemical emissions (“chemical cocktails”) and the consequences that they have for the ecosystem?

– Through this initiative, we are creating conditions so that already strong research can get even stronger and thereby take the next step to contribute to the solution to the societal challenges we are facing globally, says Pam Fredman.

Thorough and comprehensive process

In September 2014, 103 research teams registered their interest in the UGOT Challenges initiative. Then, in a first stage, 78 project applications came in. They were evaluated by 22 experts from nine countries and the Vice-Chancellor’s three international advisors. Twelve projects were selected as especially interesting and were invited to submit more extensive applications. They were assessed by a new group of 31 experts from ten countries. The experts identified six applications as being of special interest as new centers within UGOT Challenges.

Background to UGOT Challenges

Over a six-year period beginning in January 2016, Gothenburg is investing SEK 300 million on interdisciplinary research related to global social challenges.

This follows the University of Gothenburg’s vision to "have quality-driven research in an inspiring environment and that the university will accept its social duty by being a responsible and globally committed university".