Background & objectives

Background & objectives

BACKGROUND

Historical background

Diabetes mellitus – both type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) - is a widespread disease increasing rapidly worldwide. The prevalence increases with around 5 % per year and is close to 10 % for adults. In Denmark we are approaching 300,000 diabetics, thus creating a great challenge – both socioeconomically and medically.

Danish Diabetes Academy (DDA) was established September 1, 2012. DDA is financed by a 5-year grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and co-financed by JDRF (the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), University of Southern Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University and the University Hospitals of Odense, Aarhus and Copenhagen. The Academy is the first of its kind in Denmark and will occupy around 300 researchers during the first 5 years.

See attached application to the Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF) and the grant letter from the NNF:

Research background

An amount of 22 work packages (WPs) characterize collaborative research within the top research areas of Danish diabetology. The principal investigators of these WPs represent the most talented young diabetes researchers in Denmark. The Academy encourages collaboration across the WPs and welcome establishment of new ones.The following five research areas of the Academy comprise the major areas of research challenges and opportunities in Denmark today:

  1. The pathophysiology of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)

  2. The pathophysiology of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D)

  3. Diabetes in pregnancy, treatment and consequences

  4. Prevention and treatment of diabetic complications

  5. Application of diabetes technologies

Research collaborations covering different aspects of the abovementioned five research areas have been established. At present 22 work packages signify the result of these collaborations. For a short description of these work packages (including contact information of the designated principal investigator) see Research Collaborations.

Despite extensive research and recent advances in diabetes research, several aspects of T1D, T2D and diabetes in pregnancy remain poorly understood.

This includes deficits in knowledge with respect to the underlying aetiology and pathogenesis of T1D, T2D and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and lack of sufficient know-how to identify specific risk groups, and hence prevent and treat diabetes-associated complications and health risks at a much earlier stage.

The major challenges are to prevent, treat and possibly cure diabetes, as well as premature cardiovascular disease and late diabetic complications. This can only be met through increased research.

While a high degree of existing expertise together with unique opportunities for register based diabetes research in Denmark play a leading role in this research effort, continued success and progress will depend on increased funding and a more rational use of research funds including better coordination of research across Danish academic and clinical research institutions.

Moreover, it is important to make diabetes research an attractive scientific field for the most talented researchers in Denmark and worldwide.

Objectives

The main objectives of the Danish Diabetes Academy are to enhance the quality of Danish diabetes research by creating a world-class research and education environment and to build up a platform of networking and knowledge sharing between national and international researchers within diabetology.

Another important objective is to provide a career path for young researchers within the field of diabetology and to attract young talented researchers both nationally and internationally. DDA will focus on talent development already at pregraduate level, aim to strengthen the PhD education, introduce an international Post Doc platform and give the best talents the opportunity to obtain a position as professor.

In summary the objectives of the Danish Diabetes Academy are to:

  • Enhance the quality of Danish diabetes research and ensure that it remains at the highest international level

  • Strengthen the talent pool and to build up a career path for young researchers within the field of diabetology

  • Attract outstanding researchers on an international level

  • Strengthen research training in the field of diabetology

  • Catalyze establishment of a national, dynamic, creative and internationally oriented research environment in diabetology

  • Strengthen networking, knowledge sharing and collaboration within Danish diabetology