Hasselblad Science is the natural sciences branch of the Hasselblad Foundation. The foundation’s aim is to support both photography and science. In the scientific domain, we award research funding, donations and stipends, and our ambition is to support larger projects of long-term strategic importance in primarily Western Sweden.

Grants 2020

Female Scientists 2020

Subsequent to the decision in principle of the Board of Directors of the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation (“referred to below as “the Hasselblad Foundation” or “the Foundation”) to make funding available for further research qualification for women researchers in the natural sciences, with a possible extension to closely-related fields of technology and life science, the following general prerequisites, rules and regulations have been adopted.




The intention is, to appropriate SEK 2,000,000 annually to be used as further research funding for two women researchers (SEK 1,000,000 each). For reasons of resources and accounting on the part of the Hasselblad Foundation, the grant will be awarded annually, and on the condition that the necessary funding is available.


Once the grant has been awarded, it is to be considered project funding to be put toward further research qualification and is to be paid into each respective researcher’s research or project account at the university in question, successively, for a period of no more than three years, and with reviews at regular intervals during the course of the grant period.


In order to be eligible for a grant, the individual must be a researcher employed at Chalmers University of Technology or the University of Gothenburg and, after having been awarded her PhD, completed a post-doc period and commenced upon an academic career. No more than six years shall have passed between the date of the PhD and the date of application, maternity leave excluded.


The grant from the Hasselblad Foundation may be used to fund research activities including, for example, infrastructure utilization and periods spent as a guest researcher abroad, but not for purchasing equipment. The Hasselblad Foundation requires reports concerning the use of the funding, and reserves the right, when relevant, to require that the researcher contributes to popular science presentations of her research field.


The decision of the Hasselblad Foundation is contingent upon agreement from the university in question to participate, with no charges and no contributions to overhead costs, as specified in the following detailed rules and regulations.




1. Each year during the period in question, the Hasselblad Foundation will inform the vice chancellors of the two universities that the Foundation has budgeted SEK 2,000,000 to fund two grants of SEK 1,000,000 each to be used as further research funding for two women researchers with PhDs.


2. Each vice chancellor will circulate information concerning the opportunity to apply for these grants at his or her university and the conditions attached to it, stating the date by which an application in Swedish or English, addressed to the Hasselblad Foundation, must have been submitted to the vice chancellor, and the number of copies specified. The Hasselblad Foundation is to receive three copies of each of the three ranked applications (see below).


3. There is no specific application form, but in order to assess the scientific content and the realism concerning implementation of the further research on the basis of which the funding is being applied for, each application must include:

· a general presentation (no longer than two pages) of the applicant’s field of research,

· a general long-term development plan including a plan for the applicant’s own further scientific qualification and future scientific focus, further education, participation in teacher training courses, courses on how to serve as an academic advisor, courses in leadership, etc.

· a working plan/time frame for the intended use of the grant being applied for, including information on planned collaboration, time to be spent in other structures/environments (preferably abroad), expenses, payment tranches, and proposed dates for review

· A Curriculum Vitae including a list of publications

· letter(s) of recommendation describing the applicant’s current situation and future potential for development, seen in light of the possible application for the grant being accepted.


4. Each vice chancellor will have a critical assessment of the applications received carried out, and forward to the Hasselblad Foundation no more than three applications by August 16th 2018. The recommendations of the vice chancellor are to be accompanied by a justification and a proposal concerning dates for review.


5. When the Hasselblad Foundation has received all the applications – no more than nine in total – the members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation who are professionals in fields relating to the natural sciences will examine them and propose a decision to the Board of Directors of the Foundation.


6. The Board of Directors of the Foundation will make its decision, which will be announced by the Foundation, and payment of the grants will begin in accordance to the payment arrangements determined by the Foundation.


7. Each respective vice chancellor will have follow-ups carried out of the recipient’s achievements, and submit a report to the Foundation after every agreed date for review. If continued payment of the grant is recommended, payment will be made. If the recommendation is to cease payment, or if there is any question about continuing, the matter will be referred to the Board of Directors of the Foundation for a decision.

For the 19th time, the Hasselblad Foundation is supporting the International Science Festival.

Each year, the International Science Festival in Gothenburg creates a meeting place for knowledge, inspiration and new perspectives. The Festival attracts about 70 000 per year, which makes it one of Europe’s leading popular science events.

The Festival offers an exciting mix of science and culture. There are three separate programmes: the public programme, the school programme and the specialist programme – Forum for Research Communication.

The support amounts to SEK 300 000.

Grants 2019

Female Scientists 2019

Yvonne Nygård, Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology and Biological engineering at Chalmers and Eridan Rocha Ferreira, researcher working in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Institute of Clinical Sciences, are the two recipients of this year’s grants from the Hasselblad Foundation that support female researchers and expanding their qualifications in the natural sciences. The grant provides SEK 1 million and the opportunity to become established as an independent researcher.


Eridan Rocha Ferreira‘s research concerns reducing mortality and morbidity in connection with birth and the postnatal period. As a researcher, she collaborates with Professor Henrik Hagberg, among others, in the newly established Centre for Perinatal Medicine and Health, or PROMISE (Perinatal Research Obstetric Maternal Infant Studies Empowers).


Photo Lisa Thanner


“I focus on understanding how neonatal brain injury mechanisms develop so I can identify therapy goals. I mainly investigate possible protective effects of small proteins that have a known clinical safety profile,” says Rocha Ferreira.


Promising results

One such small protein, or peptide, is exendin-4. Though originally developed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, the molecule has also been shown to have neuroprotective properties in current clinical trials for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

“We recently published our first positive and promising results, which suggest that exendin-4 has a protective effect in the brain in the case of oxygen deficiency among the newborn. I believe there is great potential, and I see the possibility of translating the results into clinical trials in the future. This could speed up the development of new treatments to prevent brain damage following oxygen deficiency in newborn babies,” says Rocha Ferreira.

The team’s findings on the exendin-4 peptide were published in the journal Brain last year (


Rocha Ferreira will use the SEK 1 million she receives from the Hasselblad Foundation to hire a research assistant.

“This is a crucial next step in establishing myself as an independent researcher with my own research team. With the help of a research assistant, I can create a targeted strategy to better understand how these peptides affect the brain and the mechanisms governing how they exert their protective effect on the brain,” says Rocha Ferreira. She hopes in this way to create the potential for clinical implementation in the future and to reduce neurological disabilities in both fully developed infants with severe oxygen deficiency and premature babies.


Yvonne Nygård conducts research in industrial biotechnology and focuses on the design of efficient cellfactories. She works with microorganisms that can use residues from the forest industry and agriculture to produce biofuels and chemicals. In addition, Yvonne is involved in research on syngas fermentation and microbial electrochemistry, where bacteria produce chemicals based on carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. The aim of the research is to develop sustainable alternatives for a future fossil free society.


Photo Lisa Thanner


Develops yeast strains with increased tolerance to inhibitors

Yvonne uses yeast cells for production of biochemicals from residual biomass. The yeast cells  consume the sugar in the biomass and use it as raw material when producing bioethanol or other biochemicals. These so-called cellfactories can produce many valuable chemicals, which can be used, for example, as raw materials in the production of bioplastics.


Biomass as raw material does not only contain different kinds of sugar, it also contains inhibitors which prevent cells from growing or producing optimally.


“My research is focused on developing yeast strains with increased tolerance to these inhibitors. By understanding how the cells respond to stress, in the form of inhibitors, among other things, you can create strains with higher vitality and production rate,” says Yvonne.


Important to work with research that can be applied in society
Recently, Yvonne’s research group has developed new tolerant yeast strains using the CRISPR / Cas9 technology. She is also working in a project on development of genetic biosensors, that can measure the amount of biochemicals produced in a cell. These biosensors can be used to monitor the production, or as a tool for developing new, better cellfactories.


“For me, it is important to work with research that can be applied in society, in the short or long term. In my case the research can lead to new production processes for the industry. I want my research to answer parts of the bigger questions, for instance how to create energy efficient, climate-neutral solutions to introduce a bio-based economy in society,” says Yvonne Nygård.


Forskning & Framsteg