Foto: Jannicke Kristoffersen, Inven2
SPARK Norway is an innovation programme for researchers who work on health-related topics in the life sciences and who want to further develop innovative ideas from their own research. Its goal it to get more innovation out of basic research.
SPARK Norway was officially opened in February 2018 at UiO’s annual Oslo Life Science Conference. The year has seen both open and closed meetings for researchers in SPARK Norway and others who wish to learn more about the commercialisation of research.
UiO:Life Science, Inven2 and the Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway also organised a separate evening meeting during the event Arendalsuka in order to disseminate information about the programme. Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, several secretaries of state and the rectorates of the University of Oslo, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) also attended and expressed great enthusiasm and support for the initiative.
Much to be gained as a SPARKee
Researchers at UiO and research groups at Oslo University Hospital (OUS) or Akershus University Hospital (Ahus) that are affiliated to UiO can apply to UiO:Life Science to be admitted to the programme.
There are many advantages to be gained from taking part in the programme. The SPARKees, as they are known, receive mentoring, milestone-based funding, guidance, and training in research commercialisation.
See the overview of the 11 SPARK teams at the end of the article.
The first five teams were chosen from Inven2’s portfolio, so that those administering the programme would be able to gain a better understanding of what type of projects were suited to the SPARK programme. One of these teams was the Idépris winners from 2017, Jonas Skogestad and Magnus Aronsen, who are working on a brand new treatment method for arrhythmia and cardiac arrest.
Inven2 has also written an article about another SPARK team: Henriette Andresen and Lise Román Moltzau, who are developing a new method for treating high blood pressure in patients where existing treatments are not effective.
SPARK Norway will have annual calls for applications. The most recent deadline for applications was 15 November 2018.
Based on a prestigious programme
SPARK Norway is based on Stanford SPARK, which started in 2006. It is a programme that has a strong reputation for taking research from one of the world’s most recognised universities all the way to benefitting patients and society at large.
UiO:Life Science is behind the programme at UiO. They are supported by a management team of representatives from UiO, Inven2, OUS and the clusters Oslo Cancer Cluster, the Life Science Cluster, Nansen Neuroscience Network, Norwegian Inflammation Network and Norway Health Tech, as well as the Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway (LMI) and the Norwegian Medicines Agency.
“It is very important to us to work closely with the clusters and networks. Among other things, it means that we can obtain the best mentors for our participants from a big network,” says Morten Egeberg. He is head of administration at UiO:Life Science and head of SPARK Norway.
The SPARK teams:
- RACeR: Improvement of A Genetic Tool that Enhances Homology Dependent Gene Repair
Project leader: Adam Robertson, OUS
Team members: Caroline Køster, Deo Pandey, Terezia Prikrylova, Rune Forstrøm and Arne Klungland
Watch Robertson´s presentation at the SPARK Norway kick-off 13 February
- Petomics: a commercial Norwegian microbiome service for performance animals and pets
Project leader: Pål Trosvik, UiO
Team member: Eric Jacques de Muinck
- Influenza vaccine that can be rapidly produced to counter an emerging pandemic threat
Project leader: Gunnveig Grødeland, UiO
Team member: Bjarne Bogen
Watch Grødeland´s presentation at the main event of Oslo Life Science 2018
- Targeted pharmacological treatment of ventricular arrhythmias
Project leader: Magnus Aronsen, UiO
Team member: Jonas Skogestad
Watch Skogestad´s presentation at the SPARK Norway kick-off 13 February 2018
- Healthy soils for a healthy life
Project leader: Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi, UiO
Team members: The research group MORPHOPLEX
Watch Shalchian-Tabrizi´s presentation at the SPARK Norway kick-off 13 February 2018
- A novel strategy to tailor the pharmacokinetics of IgA antibodies
Project leader: Simone Mester, Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, UiO
Team members: Inger Sandlie (UiO) and Jan Terje Andersen (OUS)
Watch Mester´s presentation at the SPARK Norway kick-off 13 February 2018
- Tankyrase inhibition in cancer immune therapy
Project leader: Jo Waaler, Faculty of Medicine, UiO
Team member: Stefan Krauss, (UiO and OUS)
- Novel therapy for currently untreatable hypertension
Project leader: Henriette Andresen, Department of Pharmacology and Institute for Experimental Medical Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, UiO
Team members: Lise Román Moltzau (UiO) Finn Olav Levy (UiO) and Alessandro Cataliotti (UiO)
Watch Andresen´s presentation at the SPARK Norway kick-off 13 February 2018
- Restoration of a functional urinary bladder using cutting-edge technology
Project leader: Jean-Luc Boulland, Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research, UiO/OUS
Team members: Mark Züchner (OUS), Henning Andreas Haga (NMBU), Andreas Lervik (NMBU), Vanessa Bettembourg (NMBU), Joel Glover (UiO) and Ole-Jakob Nilsen (OUS)
- Novel therapy for ischemic reperfusion injury
Project leader: Ana Isabel Costa Calejo, Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM), Faculty of Medicine, UiO
Team members: Kjetil Tasken (UiO/OUS), Jo Klaveness (UiO), Ivar Sjaastad (OUS), Magnus Aronsen (UiO/OUS), Mohammed Amarzguioui (Inven2) and Kristin Sandereid (Inven2)
Watch Calejo´s presentation at the SPARK Norway kick-off 13 February 2018
- IVF FitTM: Optimising in vitro fertilisation hormone dosage
Project leader: Ana Lobato-Pascual, Reproductive Medicine Department, OUS
Team members: Péter Fedorcsák (OUS and UiO), Mei Ling Lim (Karoliska Institutet), Vidar Ulset (start-up entrepreneur) and Krister Andersson (UiO)