The University

Two Uppsala researchers receive grants to establish strong research environments

9 December 2015

The Swedish Research Council has approved ten researchers as recipients of the Grants for Distinguished Professors 2015, which entails ten years worth of research funding. The purpose of the grants is to provide long-term preconditions for the most prominent researchers at Swedish universities to create strong research environments. Two of the ten grants will go to Uppsala University.

The Grants for Distinguished Professors program is intended to create conditions for the most distinguished researchers to conduct long-term research of great potential. The grant aims to provide the best possible preconditions for establishing or constructing research environments of the highest quality. The researchers that have been approved funding are eligible to receive up to SEK 5 million annually for ten years. This contributes to the viability of long-term studies and provides financial security for pioneering research of great importance to society.

In total, the Swedish Research Council is awarding SEK 480 million to ten researchers. Two of the grants will be made out to researchers at Uppsala University:

  • Christer Betsholtz, Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, receives SEK 47 million for research on ‘Growth and permeability of blood vessels in health and disease’
  • Neil Price, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, receives SEK 50 million for his research on the ‘Viking phenomenon’

Christer Betsholtz conducts research on vascular permeability. Blood and lymph vessels are not simple pipes that transport blood and lymph from one place to another. They let through substances such as water, ions, proteins, cells and drugs, along their entire length. But if they let the wrong substances through, in the wrong quantities, at the wrong time and at the wrong place, problems arise.

‘Through this project, we’re hoping to get a more detailed and integrated picture of how the permeability of blood and lymph vessels is regulated. That knowledge can be used to try to control the permeability and thus enable us to find more effective ways of treating cancer and diseases of the brain, for example,’ Christer Betsholtz says.

Neil Price’s research centres on the early Viking Age. Who were the Vikings, and how did they differ from the ‘regular’ population of the North back then? Why did Scandinavians begin to go on extensive Viking raids right around the second half of the 8th century? What society did they come from and return to, how did their economy work?

‘The answers to these questions are essential to understanding the Sweden of today. But they also help us counteract the oft-problematic ways in which knowledge of the past is perceived and used in contemporary society. Different generations have adapted the Viking myth in different ways in order to fit their agendas,’ Neil Price says.

Read more about the Grants for Distinguished Professors