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Excellence in research requires excellent tools

The Minister for Higher Education and Science Sofie Carsten Nielsen's speech at the opening of Preclinical Imaging Facility at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital 5 May 2014 in Aarhus.

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Knowledge provides new opportunities

It is a pleasure to attend the opening of the Preclinical Imaging Facility at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.

I congratulate you warmly with these fine new facilities.

There is a good reason for the general focus on health research and combating illness.

Demographic developments, our lifestyle, new treatment options and rising patient demands are putting the healthcare sector under pressure.

We need new solutions that can contribute to more resource efficiency in the healthcare sector - while also improving health and quality of life.

Preclinical translational research is one of the most concrete examples of bridging basic research and practical application.

Partly because of the improvements in clinical interventions this provides for the hospital sector. Partly because it leads to the development of new pharmaceutical products.

One of the greatest challenges today is to use the knowledge boom happening within molecular biology.

The Preclinical Imaging Facility at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital will be an important tool to providing solutions to this challenge.

The Facility can help bridge the gap between biology and medicine. And thereby contribute to creating better treatments and medicines for the health challenges facing society.

This applies to, for example, better diagnose and treatment of cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
-diseases that are both a tragedy for the individual affected and very costly for society as a whole.

How to create good research

Good research environments breed excellent research.

There are at least two ingredients that contribute to the quality of a research environment.

Firstly; there is a need for talented and engaged researchers, students and employees. And secondly; there is a need for access to the most modern and advanced research infrastructure.

Excellence in research requires excellent tools.

Technological developments in recent decades have pushed development of research infrastructure. And the development continues to expand the boundaries of what is possible.

It continues to provide better microscopes, larger telescopes, faster accelerators and more powerful computers.

Facilities provide opportunities to pose new scientific questions and thus new excellent research. And to raise previously asked questions to which we now have new and clearer answers.

Research infrastructure is significant to the quality of research being carried out.

And excellent facilities can help attract the best students and greatest research talents from around the world.

So access to research infrastructure is also a parameter for international competition.  

Even more private support

The new scanning equipment you are launching today required a total investment of about DKK 35 million.

The funds came from the Velux Foundation, Aarhus University, Central Denmark Region and the public Research Infrastructure pool of funds.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful cooperation that exists in Aarhus between the university, university hospital and the region. And likewise thank the Velux Foundation.

There is a debate at the moment on foundations and research. In my opinion we are very fortunate that not only the public sector but also the private sector and the foundations fund research.

And I can see that there are more foundations represented here today.

I welcome your contribution to Danish research. And I am pleased to see an increase in the funding for public research from private foundations in recent years.

I hope the trend continues!

I would also like to add that the funding from the Research Infrastructure pool also comes with five years membership to the European Advanced Translational Research Infrastructure for medicine – or more simple just EATRIS.

EATRIS will give researchers across Europe access to state-of-the-art biomedical research facilities.

It is vital that our research has an international dimension. We all win by international collaboration. We all win by sharing knowledge – which you are a great example of.

What is the government doing?

Denmark’s health research is of a high international standard. And the government prioritises research, particularly health research.

Last year we launched a growth plan for health and welfare solutions.

The growth plan will strengthen the framework for companies to utilise the international growth potential in the area to benefit growth and job creation in Denmark.

And with the establishment of the Danish Innovation Fund in the start of April this year, a big social partnership was also launched with the theme of Denmark as the preferred country for early clinical testing of new medicines.

Health sciences are in focus. And there is also focus on how to translate scientific breakthroughs to better therapies and more effective medicine.

This is also the objective of the Preclinical Imaging Facility at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.

And excellence in research requires excellent tools.

So once again, congratulations with the new facilities.

Thank you.

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last modified February 07, 2024