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Column: Let's build on the positive momentum

Progress needs narratives and heroes, and more than ever, going into the new year feels like an opportunity for a fresh start.

Many predict life science and related industries will emerge as winners from the pandemic, and I would like to say that it is mainly due to novel ways of approaching the challenges and opportunities.

Success often relates to the right timing – or happy accidents. The pandemic proved to be one such happy accident for the life science industry – or an opportunity to confirm a few things we did not expect.

Firstly, even if the research community collaborates and learns from each other under normal circumstances, few would say it is a sharing community – particularly the closer we come to the pioneering or commercial potential. Soon after the immediate blame and denial of part of the pandemic, researchers worldwide mobilised and shared data and know-how for a common purpose.

Secondly, when realising the threat, or potential, it became apparent we can achieve wonders in no time. Development of drugs and vaccines, and the administration and approval processes surrounding it, are not perceived as swift. On the contrary, many would say it might be one of the most cumbersome and complicated – not to say difficult – processes to persevere, finance, and succeed with. With a global threat upon us, it became clear we could stretch the system quite a lot, resulting in not just one, but perhaps several vaccines within less than a year.

Thirdly, the single most important trait is to be creative, build strong teams and even rush development comes down to trust. Trust between people, trust in data, and trust in the system. The vaccines’ story, especially concerning the need for speed, proves that more trust is available than we might have believed, or at least previously experienced.

Furthermore, it became apparent that when society knows its needs and incentivises developers to meet those needs, friction decreases, and the common cause unites us.

Life science’s future success consists of a few elements necessary to take it to the next level: cross-disciplinary data-driven sustainability-centred need-based co-creation. And honestly, I believe that many of our actions during and experiences from 2020 were seeds with the potential to grow into something beautiful that includes many of those elements.

Artikeln är en del av vårt tema om LSS in English.

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