[2016-06-08] VINNOVA, Sweden’s Innovation Agency, has decided to continue funding the activities of the UPSC Berzelii Centre for Forest Biotechnology for five more years (2017-2021). The UPSC Berzelii Centre becomes now a new VINNOVA Competence Centre and will be one of five existing Centres of Competence in Sweden that receive this funding.

VINNOVA aims with its Centre of Competence program to create active networks between universities, research institutes, companies and other public research organizations. The focus is set on research areas that are significant for Sweden’s competitive strengths on the national and international level. In a directed call against existing Competence Centres, VINNOVA has decided to grant the most successful Centres a five-year continuation.
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The Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) is hosting the current Berzelii Centre for Forest Biotechnology that is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR) and VINNOVA from 2007 till 2016. Research groups from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Umeå University are collaborating with seven industrial partners on performing and translating excellent basic research to applications within the Swedish forest industry.

The performance of the Centre was recently evaluated together with 19 other Berzelii and VINNEX Centres and was found to be “Exceptional” among these Centres. In this new call the UPSC centre competed with those 19 and other previous VINNOVA centres and was found to be one of five Centres deserving continuing support.

“These are great news for us” says Ove Nilsson, director of the current UPSC Berzelii Centre and the new UPSC Centre for Forest Biotechnology. “The new approval allows us not only to continue and develop our academic/industrial research projects, but also confirms that what we are doing and the way we are doing it is successful”.

VINNOVA motivates the decision for granting the UPSC Centre for Forest Biotechnology by “an excellent application in which the applicants add many innovative developments to an already high-functioning centre”. They especially valued the proposed activities for staff development, the international collaborations, and the industrial graduate school.

The government agency VINNOVA was funded in January 2001 and operates under the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation. It spends every year SEK 2.7 billion in different projects aiming for promoting Sweden to become “a world-leading country in research and innovation”. The new Centre of Competence program was opened in autumn 2015. The program is the follow-up of previous VINNOVA competence programs but requires specially to integrate existing research programs into the new centre.

Vinnova press release: VINNOVA - Kompetenscentrumprogrammet 

For more information, please contact:

Ove Nilsson
phone: +46(0)90 786 8487
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.