Nordic Research Funders Urge Joint Action in Personalised Medicine


The Joint Committee of the Nordic Medical Research Councils (NOS-M) has released a report entitled “Personalised Medicine in the Nordic Countries.” The report recaps the well-known advantages for health research in the Nordic countries (see also Nordic Genetics and Precision Medicine Profiled in Nature Journal), but also point out that, “There are currently no specific funding initiatives for basic research in personalised medicine at the Nordic level.”

Based on information gleaned from a workshop and questionnaires sent to health and science administrative units in the various countries, among other sources, the committee makes three recommendations:

  • There is need for a jointly funded initiative on research in personalised medicine. The call could focus on the utilisation of health data from registers and biobanks or other health data resources, including omics data. The use of a common pot is preferred as it will allow participation from researchers from all Nordic countries on similar grounds. 
  • There is a need for joint Nordic efforts and competence networks in, for example, rare diseases and cancer. NOS-M could play a role in funding strategic network activities in such areas. 
  • Utilisation of health and register data at the Nordic level should be remain a high priority on the Nordic cooperation agenda for research funders, data providers, health care and politicians.

The appendices that comprise most of the report contain a great deal of useful information from a workshop held in Stockholm in November 2016 (NOS-M Takes on Personlised Medicine) and a more recent “mapping exercise” to explore the landscape of personalized medicine in the Nordic countries. The latter provides some examples from each of the countries, and also briefly describes efforts in the rest of Europe and major efforts in the rest of the world.