Sweden as a research country

Research plays an important role as an engine for growth in both the global and the Swedish economy. Medical research shall contribute to better health, increased quality of life and decreased societal cost. Research is also important for creating a health and medical care system where learning and development play an important part, and where the knowledge and initiative of personnel is best utilised.

Although Sweden is a small country from a population viewpoint, our position as a medical research nation is nevertheless regarded as strong in an international perspective. There are several factors contributing to the success, such as:

  • level of education
  • research tradition
  • international collaboration
  • population registers
  • biobanks
  • collaboration between academia and industry
  • percentage of research-trained healthcare personnel

Patient-proximate research

Research is often divided up into basic research and applied research, but within the area of medical science this distinction can be difficult to draw. Instead, the concept of medical research is often used, which includes both basic research and applied research. The concept of translational research is sometimes used, which means that research findings from experimental research is transferred to clinical use for the purpose of creating patient benefit, or that observations or problems in healthcare give rise to new research ideas, which are investigated using experimental research. The purpose of translational research is thus to transfer knowledge from healthcare to the laboratory, and back again to patients. As the starting point has been problems identified in an everyday clinical setting, the transfer of findings from translational research into healthcare is often rapid.

As a result, clinical research is carried out in close association with health and medical care, and the concept of patient-proximate research is therefore used in various contexts. Having patients and healthy subjects willing to be involved in studies is a prerequisite for clinical research. Many clinical researchers are medical practitioners, but an increasing number are nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and biomedical personnel. These researchers form the link between the laboratory and the patient, and are a guarantee that new knowledge will soon be disseminated to healthcare and that important problems within healthcare are brought back to research.

Scientific studies in Sweden

Clinical studies is a generic term for scientific studies carried out on human subjects in order to study biomedical and health-related questions, often in a clinical environment; that is to say within healthcare. Within the framework for the clinical studies concept, subjects such as medicines, therapy methods and medical technology are developed to improve and develop health and medical care.

In Sweden, clinical research is carried out by academia, health and medical care and also by industry. On many research issues, functioning collaboration across regional, county, municipal and research principal borders, and also across universities, public agencies, research funding bodies, life science industry and patient organisations is a prerequisite for good results, for example in order to gather together a sufficiently large patient cohort in our country, which is small from a population viewpoint. Because it has a good collaborative climate, Sweden is an attractive country in which to carry out clinical research.