On donations: Karin Forsberg Nilsson
“Donations are important for good research”
As cancer researcher Karin Forsberg Nilsson sees it, donations create a personal relationship between the donor and the researcher. People give to the causes they care most about and so the relationship is dependent on the donor feeling confidence in the researchers and their research.
The Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology (IGP) sometimes receives donations, principally destined for cancer research or genetic research.
“It is very much appreciated and the donations really do contribute to our ability to conduct good research,” says Karin Forsberg Nilsson, Professor of Stem Cell Research.
Research at the department is 60 per cent externally funded, with resources coming from research councils, foundations and funds. Some of these, such as the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish Brain Foundation, rely on donations from private people.
“Donations are extremely important for Swedish research in general. Of course it feels particularly gratifying when private individuals or companies recognise that we do good research at IGP and therefore actively get in touch with us because they want to donate money to our research. Sometimes the donors are former students who feel a desire to give something back to the University, sometimes private individuals who have or have had family members with cancer or other serious diseases. They want their donations to help research make faster progress.
“Often a donor is looking to make an impact on healthcare, but it doesn’t have to be that way. They may also have a genuine interest in supporting basic research in genetics.”
This form of funding differs from others, in Forsberg Nilsson’s opinion.
“Unlike the donations given to the Swedish Cancer Society, which researchers can apply to for support, these donations create a personal relationship between the donor and the researcher. People give to the causes they care most about. The relationship therefore presupposes that the donor feels confidence in us and our research. For this reason, we are keen to foster relationships through personal meetings. We tend to invite donors to regular meetings and agree with them about written reports or any other way they would like to be involved in the project.