Major donation for research on ecology and genetics

26 April 2022

Gllobe in nature

The donation to the Department of Ecology and Genetics will be used for basic research and support young researchers.

The entrepreneur Sverker Lerheden has resolved to donate SEK 100 million to promote basic ecology and genetics research. Through the newly formed Birgitta Sintring Scholarship Fund, scholarships will be awarded to “specially selected, top-performing researchers” associated with Uppsala University’s Department of Ecology and Genetics.

“With this donation, I want to honour my wife Birgitta Sintring and, I hope, help Uppsala University to remain one of the hundred top universities in the world. The seminal figure of the University is Carl Linnaeus, and using the donation to benefit young scientists engaged in basic research within Linnaeus’ own faculty, where sustainability is a key theme, is a natural choice. My wish is for my initiative to induce wealthy associates in the business sector to provide generous support for basic research at Swedish universities,” says Sverker Lerheden.

This is the largest donation received by Uppsala University in modern times.

Long-term investments

The Chair of the new Foundation is Head of Department Anna Rosling. She says that, thanks to the donation, they will have the means to make major, long-term research investments that were not possible before.

“This really is an absolutely amazing donation that’s going to mean a lot to us at the Department of Ecology and Genetics. The fact that it will go to basic research, which is vital to address on a broad front, is very pleasing, since you never know what’s ultimately going to result in the big advances. State grants often have a specific focus, but this involves providing funds for young scientists’ basic research,” Rosling says.

Sverker Lerheden and wife
Sverker Lerheden and his wife Birgitta (in the
middle) on visit to the Department of Ecology and
Genetics. Photo: Thomas Fredengren

Besides investing in outstanding young researchers, she also has ideas about using money from the new foundation for large purchases of instruments for which funding is otherwise hard to come by. She mentions microscopy and development of the large-scale climate unit, which would boost the Department’s competitiveness, as potential investments.

Sverker Lerheden is also donating SEK 100 million to a foundation intended to promote mathematics research at Stockholm University, and equally substantial sums to the Royal Institute of Art and the Royal College of Music respectively. The Vice-Chancellors from the four higher education institutions will be taking part in a reception ceremony at Uppsala Castle on 26 April.

Last modified: 2021-02-14