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“The programme will benefit the development in the Stockholm Region”

Birgitta Janerot Sjöberg is Professor of Medical Technology at KI, the Department of Clinical Science, and member of the MedTechLabs Board. She is also one of the forces behind the joint KTH-KI PhD programme in Medical Technology and chairs the Programme Board.
Jeroen Goos

What does it imply that the joint programme is renewed?

It’s really great that those in charge of the doctoral studies at both KI and KTH have chosen to support the existence of the programme. The programme is utterly important to minimise any negative sideffects from Stockholm having “One-faculty universities”, but also to make use of already successful initiatives deriving from the cooperation. The renewal will hopefully mean a boost for both supervisors, alumni, current and former doctoral students, as well as for the discipline as such. Medical Technology is developing fast, and the programme is spread across all the Schools and Institutions at KTH. We believe that an increased collaboration between the disciplines and universities also will favor the attractivity and the development of medical technology in the Stockholm region. That the students get to take with them two different university research cultures is something quite big. The following up of the Alumni is exciting!

What have been the drivers behind the programme and its’ renewal?

There is a strong tradition of collaboration within medical technology in the region. In the 1960s, KI was the first Swedish university to establish a Professor´s chair and Institution in Medical technology – a technological and natural science discipline to solve medical challenges. Early on there was a collaboration established with KTH where professors from KI taught biomedical engineers before medical technology became a separate programme at KTH. KI is still in charge of certain courses at the KTH programme.

When the “twin Professor chairs” within the discipline was established at KI and KTH in 2010, both of us newly appointed professors wanted to enhance and formalise the research collaboration, in order to contribute to the renewal of the discipline and the attractiveness of the region. Together we pursued the idea of a joint degree PhD programme and got support from the then existing School for Technology and Health at KTH and also CLINTEC at KI. Supported by enthusiastic colleagues , this eventually made it possible to start this programme, that leads to a medical doctoral exam from KI and a doctoral exam in biomedical engineering from KTH.

The evaluations were good, but administrative considerations, in combination with a diminished inflow of applications, lead to a pausing of the programme for a review after five years. However, the programme was sought after by both supervisors and students, and both KI and the hospitals saw an increasing demand for medical-technical competence. Now, with simplified and more coordinated administrative processes, the programme is once again ready to accept students.

Birgitta Janerot Sjöberg have been chairperson of the board since the formation and start of the programme, leading the work of two teachers from each university, appointed by the presidents, administrators and student representatives from each academy. Read more about the programme here.

(This interview text earlier had errors due to wrong translations).