HALOS – A unique collaboration in Life Science

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A new EU project in the program area Öresund-Kattegatt-Skagerak (ÖKS) has been approved. The Hanseatic League of Science (HALOS) will build a unique collaboration between Hamburg and South-West Scandinavia, bring together the four unique research facilities MAX IV, ESS, DESY and European XFEL, and create a centre for integrated, world-leading Life Science innovation and research.

HALOS has a budget of 3.6 million EUR and enables further development of the highly successful ÖKS Interreg project ESS & MAX IV: Cross Border Science and Society. HALOS includes stakeholders from academia, regional development actors, research facilities and industry.

The HALOS collaboration, led by the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University, includes:

Lund University, seven other academic research institutes in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Germany, MAX IV and ESS in Sweden, DESY, the European XFEL in Germany, the Medicon Valley Alliance (MVA), industry in MedTech, BioTech and Pharma, Region Skåne, the Capital Region of Denmark and the City of Hamburg.

In order to develop the cooperation with Hamburg and create a globally competitive Life Science centre, HALOS includes a regional development project, where overall mapping, analyses and seminars with key players will result in common key messages and strategies. The focus is on innovation and so-called ‘tech transfer’, researcher mobility and linking business more closely with research facilities.

“The previous ESS & MAX IV: Cross Border Science and Society ÖKS Interreg project were very successful, not least for Life Science research. HALOS has a direct focus on Life Science and excellent potential for synergies in both research and between the MAX IV, ESS, DESY and European XFEL facilities. That is why we can now expand in this area and, together with German colleagues and partners, further develop what we call the ÖKS-Hamburg region into a world-leading Life Science centre”, says Kajsa M. Paulsson, researcher at Lund University and HALOS project manager.

“Combining the complementary facilities DESY, European XFEL, MAX IV and ESS creates synergy effects and a globally unique infrastructure region with incredible opportunities for research in Life Science. The extensive business partnership will also play a key role in advancing skills in the private sector as well as creating networks between the private sector and researchers. Ideas from the corporate world will also be highlighted and incorporated in various forums, in order to create opportunities for working together on important and major societal challenges. We are happy and feel confident that HALOS will make a big difference”, says Professor Erik Renström, Dean at the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University and Chairman of HALOS.

The main part of the project will build expertise on using FEL light, synchrotron light, neutrons and electron applications in Life Science. This research subproject will contain 41 six-month projects according to a model tested, with very good results, in the previous Interreg project ESS & MAX IV: Cross Border Science and Society. In HALOS, the model is developed further to include additional technologies, link more closely with business and specifically focus on the Life Science area.

Facts about HALOS:

HALOS is scheduled to run over three years starting on 1 February 2019 with a budget of 3,568,550 EUR (50% EU funding and 50% co-financing).


  • Lund University, Kajsa M. Paulsson and Erik Renström
  • MAX IV, Marjolein Thunnissen
  • ESS, Esko Oksanen
  • Malmö University, Marité Cardenas
  • Region Skåne, Eskil Mårtensson
  • Universität Hamburg, Arwen Pearson
  • EMBL, Matthias Wilmanns
  • DESY, Oliver Seeck
  • European XFEL, Kristina Lorenzen
  • City of Hamburg, Klaus von Lepel
  • University of Copenhagen, Michael Gajhede
  • Technical University of Denmark, Anders Bjorholm Dahl
  • Aarhus University, Gregers Rom Andersen
  • Capital Region of Denmark, Jakob Øster
  • Medicon Valley Alliance, Petter Hartman

Additional associated organisations: Oslo University, Reidar Lund

HALOS has the following project objectives focusing on Life Science, research facilities and regional development in a cross-regional perspective:

  • Increased number of Life Science researchers in cross border-regional projects in ÖKS-Hamburg, in close cooperation with industry and in projects with high innovation potential based on the technologies of the research facilities ESS, MAX IV, DESY and European XFEL
  • Improved opportunities for cross-border, transnational cooperation and research projects
  • Improved and formalized networks between universities to provide optimum development environments for researchers
  • Agreements between ÖKS-Hamburg organisations in Life Science research and innovation
  • Establishing an integrated research environment by developing common strengths and common strategies for future cross-border cooperation and strengthening links with industry

HALOS expected results:

  • A strong network in the Life Science sector in the ÖKS-Hamburg area, with participants from academia, the business sector and research infrastructures, with increased expertise in using ESS, MAX IV, DESY and European XFEL technologies
  • 36 (+5 from the University of Oslo) cross-border projects using FEL light, synchrotron light, neutrons and/or electrons with high innovation potential and with a clear connection to issues important for business
  • A base and pool of young Life Science researchers with high skills in the technologies at the research facilities
  • 200 Life Science researchers and Life Science representatives in business with improved knowledge and increased interest in FEL light, synchrotron light, neutrons and/or electronics applications in Life Science
  • Three summer schools for participants from all partner organisations
  • Three or four workshops with 120 participants from ÖKS-Hamburg
  • Identification of key messages and strategies for joint actions based on analyses and pilot projects, focusing on innovation, research mobility and business use of research facilities
  • A common strategy for developing ÖKS-Hamburg into a globally competitive research region.