16 March 2021

In 2005, Sofia Håkansson Buch left Forum Scientum as a new doctor. Today, she has a leading role in stem cell research and development for Danish Novo Nordisk.

Portrait photo of woman.
Photo: Private
She has worked at Novo Nordisk since 2006, so she came there almost immediately after the graduate school/network Forum Scientium at Linköping University. 
“I would never have been where I am today if I had not attended a doctoral program. Novo Nordisk attaches great importance to employees in research having a doctorate and preferably a post-doc”, says Sofia Buch Håkansson.

There she has had various research assignments. In recent years, she has built up the stem cell CMC and manufacturing unit from the start in Denmark and the USA, through her role as vice president of Stem Cell CMC & Manufacturing at Novo Nordisk in Copenhagen.
“In this area of research and development, our focus is on cell therapies.”

What has been the best thing about Forum Scientium for you?

“I got started on things I would not have done otherwise. Forum arranged study trips to companies and universities and I remember that we went for an off-site conference. It broadened the views.”

Doing your dissertation in four years is more of a standard today, but was it a hard pressure on you?
“It has probably been repressed now. But of course it was. Still, it is a very important education for a future scientific career.”

Do you have any good advice for today’s members of Forum Scientium?

“Dare to get in touch with a research group that you want to know more about, dare to ask questions at a seminar, or to speak directly to the lecturer. Use each other's knowledge and seek sparring with each other!”

Fact: Forum Scientium

Forum endeavors to give these doctoral students and postdocs the best possible opportunities in terms of courses, workshops, summer conferences, study visits and a large network.

The aim is that research groups at the intersection between medicine, science and technology, learn about each others’ projects and people, so well that the possibility for collaborations increases.

The organisation is positioned for long-term operations, through support from LiU management, faculties and external sources.

Forum has a student council for the members to influence and plan Forum activities.
In what is called ‘the backpack’, doctoral students receive SEK 10,000 per year, to be used e.g. to attend conferences of their own choosing.

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