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Big difference in health innovation thanks to Bennet professors

Business leader Carl Bennet has, through his company Carl Bennet AB, supported Halmstad University for the past eight years with funds for the Bennet Professorship. Carl Bennet and the Bennet professors recently met during a seminar at Halmstad University, on the theme of what the professorships have meant for the University’s research. During the seminar, Carl Bennet revealed that he wants to continue to collaborate with and support Halmstad University.

“We are very grateful for the cooperation with you and your company. As you have seen today, a lot of good research has come as a result of your support.”

Susanna Öhman, VIce-Chancellor, Halmstad University

En kvinna och tre män i rad

Carl Bennet, main owner of the medical technology company Getinge, has supported Halmstad University for eight years through the Bennet Professorship. Through the professorship, four well-qualified professors have been recruited in Health Innovation, one of the University’s two focus areas. In the picture, Carl Bennet (third from left) and Bennet professors Julie Reed, Per Nilsen and James Barlow. Misha Pavel, Professor at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University in the USA, who was a Bennet professor from 2015–2017, did not attend the seminar.

For eight years, Carl Bennet has contributed eight million SEK to research at Halmstad University.

“The programme with Bennet professors in its current form ended on the last day of December 2022. The results are very good, and we want to tell you about this today,” began Thorsteinn Rögnvaldsson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor with specific responsibility for research and doctoral education at Halmstad University.

The seminar described the journey to the research programme Information-driven care and how it has been developed within the focus area Health Innovation.

“The key word is collaboration,” said Mattias Ohlsson, Professor of Information Technology, specialising in machine learning and data mining and Research Programme Manager.

The importance of collaboration with companies, Region Halland with several regions, and municipalities and other universities was a common denominator in all the presentations given.

Focus on Health Innovation

Three of the four Bennet professors were at the seminar to talk about their research, what has attracted them to work at Halmstad University and their thoughts on the future. James Barlow is Professor of Technology and Innovation Management at Imperial College Business School in the UK and a Visiting Professor at Halmstad University. He was Bennet Professor 2018–2021. Julie Reed is Visiting Professor of Implementation Science and was Bennet Professor in 2022. Per Nilsen, who is Professor of Implementation Science at Halmstad University, was Bennet Professor 2021–2022.

Julie Reed talked, among other things, about bridging the gap between research and everyday life in healthcare – about everything that can happen “in the middle” – so that the research is about the right things and can be used. She concluded by asking the rhetorical question: Why Halmstad University and Region Halland? She replied that health innovation and development are in focus here, which is not the case at other universities.

“There is motivation and ambition to be different and create impact. Then you are not held ”hostage” by keeping everything as is, at the status quo, but development can take place in the middle, between research and practice,” said Julie Reed.

When asked why Halmstad University is interesting in the coming years, Per Nilsen answered, among other things:

“AI implementation in healthcare is increasing, but many challenges remain, and Halmstad University is at the forefront of understanding problems and delivering solutions. The University has many close collaborations, and collaboration is something that research funders are increasingly emphasising. The University has also understood that it needs to focus and prioritise to achieve a national position.”

Region Halland, highlighted in many contexts as a pioneer in information-driven care, works closely with Halmstad University. Magnus Clarin, Head of Research and Education at Region Halland, participated in the seminar.

“Our ambition is to create an organisation that is data-driven and in the end creates better value for the patient,” Magnus Clarin said.

Moving forward together

Carl Bennet himself concluded the seminar. Just before that, Susanna Öhman, Vice-Chancellor at Halmstad University, stated that not all higher education institutions have friends like Carl Bennet.

“We are very grateful for the cooperation with you and your company. As you have seen today, a lot of good research has come as a result of your support,” Susanna Öhman said.

Carl Bennet said that Halmstad University is very special to him. It has been a way into academia for him and has contributed knowledge and respect.

“Of course, we will talk about how we will move forward together,” said Carl Bennet and concluded:

“I hear good things about Halmstad University. The world around us is no better than what we make of it. The University and the Region are strong. But Sweden must keep pushing to be able to compete and develop society. I would like to be involved and contribute to a small part of that”.

Text: Kristina Rörström

Picture: Ida Fridvall

Group photo of men and women

The Bennet Seminar, which summarised the development and results of the professorship over the past eight years, brought together Thorsteinn Rögnvaldsson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Per Nilsen, Professor, Petra Svedberg, Professor, Mattias Ohlsson, Professor, Julie Reed, Professor, Magnus Holmén, Professor, Carl Bennet, business leader (Getinge AB and others), Susanna Öhman, Vice-Chancellor, Jens Nygren, Professor, Magnus Clarin, Head of Research and Education (Region Halland), James Barlow, Professor, and Harald Castler, Chair of the University Governing Board.