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Research school directors: “We hope the results will have an impact”

Published: 30 August 2023

Johanna Sundbaum and Phillip Tretten have recently been appointed directors of Luleå University of Technology's new research school in precision health. The research school will unite doctoral students for interdisciplinary collaboration. The hope is that the research will lead to results that will be of importance for the future society.

Eleven PhD students are being recruited or have already been accepted to what will become Sweden's first research school in precision health. The research school is part of the future area PRECISE – innovative precision health.

The projects cover a wide range, from developing advanced measurement methods to investigating social structures and norms.

“The broad range of subjects is a great asset and a great challenge. The doctoral students will approach the core of precision health in different ways,” says Johanna Sundbaum, doctor of medicine, Senior Lecurer and responsible for the educational subject Medical Science.

Success factors for a research school

Together with Phillip Tretten, she will develop and lead the research school. They come from different research areas and have different backgrounds and experiences when it comes to research schools.

Johanna Sundbaum’s expertise lies in medical research and she has worked with precision medicine. She has also been part of the steering group for PRECISE and is to some extent already familiar with the various projects.

Phillip Tretten is Associate Professor in Human Work Sciences. He has, among other things, conducted research on how people think and how they can be guided into making the right decisions, as well as questions about safety and health at work. He has previous experience of multidisciplinary research schools and success factors.

“We will need to unite the group. Engineers and social scientists, for example, have different views on research methodology. We will try to give our doctoral students a good overall understanding of research and where their part fits into a larger societal perspective,” says Phillip Tretten.


By bringing the doctoral students together, they also hope to create collaboration forums for the supervisors. This concept opens for further collaborations across subject boundaries throughout the university. They are also open to international collaboration and want to approach groups conducting research in precision health in other parts of the world.

Future results and impact

In December, most doctoral students will be on site and the research school will begin. Johanna Sundbaum and Pillip Tretten see the possibility that it will not stop at the first eleven doctoral students. The hope is that there will be more doctoral students in the future, and that the results of the research will be put to good use. The doctoral students will, among other things, take part in courses in innovation to increase the possibilities of making a difference and spreading the results.

“The research should go beyond a doctoral thesis. We hope the results will have an impact in society,” says Johanna Sundbaum.


Johanna Sundbaum

Johanna Sundbaum, Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)920 493836
Organisation: LTUMVO, Health, Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Health, Education and Technology
Phillip Tretten

Phillip Tretten, Associate Professor, Distinguished University Teacher

Phone: +46 (0)920 492855
Organisation: Human Work Sciences, Humans and Technology, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts