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Pandemic Laboratory Preparedness (PLP) program

The Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) research community has been actively engaged in national and international COVID-19 research efforts sice early 2020. Access to the wide-ranging expertise within that community, and to previously established SciLifeLab infrastructure, expedited COVID-19 research at the molecular, cellular, patient, population, and environmental levels.

SciLifeLab was quick to respond to the pandemic, and established multiple efforts to accelerate and support research throughout. The first program established to support research efforts was the The SciLifeLab/KAW National COVID-19 Research Program, which was established in April 2020 and co-funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW). When the focus of the global research community started to shift towards pandemic preparedness, SciLifeLab was commissioned to establish a program to support pandemic preparedness in general. This resulted in SciLifeLab’s Pandemic Laboratory Preparedness (PLP) program. This page details information about the PLP program itself, including progress to date and the capabilities (i.e. services, tools, and resources) funded.

Progress to date (previous calls)

In December 2020, the Swedish government comissioned SciLifeLab to build capacity for future pandemics. The assignment broadly involved supporting research related to infectious diseases (e.g. in diagnostics, analysis of infection, immunity, and the development of resistance to therapies in pathogens), and developing competence and technologies related to pandemic research (e.g. in sequencing, genetic analysis, immunology, and big data). The capabilities established through the PLP program are intended to assist and complement those established elsewhere in society (e.g. government authorities, municipalities, and regions) to tackle future pandemics. As such, the PLP program works in close consultation with government agencies, e.g. Swedish Public Health Agency (FoHM).

In February 2021, the PLP program sent out a national open call for letters of intent to develop capabilities that could be used to detect and monitor COVID-19, and/or to help combat future pandemics.

In July 2021, the first eight capabilities were selected for support as part of the first stage of the program (named PLP1) (further information on the selection process is available on SciLifeLab’s website). The capabilities in PLP1 were focused on: biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) capacity, biobanking and clinical sample handling, environmental detection of pathogens, immunomonitoring, serology, and sequencing. Refer to the PLP1 section below to find out more about these capabilities. A funding call was established to extend funding for these projects (REPLP-1) was established in September 2022, allowing funding to be extended until 2025. See the PLP1 capability pages below to see which received REPLP-1 funding.

In December 2021, the PLP program established a funding call for Technology Development Projects (TDPs). The intention with this call was to build closer connections between clinical microbiology laboratories in Sweden. All TDPs aimed to develop capabilities at major clinical microbiology laboratories in Sweden. For more information about the TDP call, please refer to the SciLifeLab website. See the below TDP section for more information about the TDPs resulting from this call. A call to extend funding for the TDP projects (REPLPCM) was established in February 2023, allowing funding to be extended until 2025. Please see the TDP capability pages below to determine which received REPLPCM funding.

A call for new capabilities (PLP2) was launched in spring 2022. The aim was to create nationally significant infrastructure capabilities. Any proposals were expected to integrate real-world testing and proof of concept work. The resultant capabilities were expected to be able begin within a year. More background information on the PLP2 call is available on the SciLifeLab website. Please see the below section on PLP2 to find out more about the capabilities resulting from this call.

In September 2023, the PLP-Test funding call was established to support up to 9 projects to test and improve existing PLP capabilities. The funding was available to those within PLP units and/or agencies related to pandemic preparedness, e.g. FoHM. More information about this call is available on the SciLifeLab website. Please see the below section on PLP-Test to find out more about the capabilities resulting from this call.

In February 2024, a further call for Clinical Technology Development Projects was established in collaboration with the Precision Medicine Capability at SciLifeLab. The call focuses on the creation of clinical technology development projects addressing clinical needs. For more information about this call, see the Scilifelab website. The call is open until 10th April 2024, and more information on the resulting projects will be added in due course.

To view any current funding available from PLP, view our funding page.

Pillars of the PLP program

The PLP program is built on four pillars:

  • National infrastructure
  • Biobanks and diagnostics
  • National research program
  • The Swedish Pathogens Portal

The PLP network

The PLP program has built a national network of laboratory capabilities (the PLP network). These capabilities were funded in different calls (see above for basic information on previous calls), and are listed according to funding call below. Some capabilities received continuation funding in the REPLP-1 and REPLPCM calls. Whilst these calls are not listed below, receipt of continuation funding is indicated on the respective capability pages. All PLP capabilities are also shown on our Pandemic Preparedness Capabilities page.

As indicated above, The Swedish Pathogens Portal (formerly the Swedish COVID-19 Data Portal) is a pillar of the PLP program. Whilst it is not listed below, it received funding from the PLP program during the PLP1 and REPLP1 calls. It works actively to support all capabilities.

PLP1 capabilities

The following capabilites were established in the PLP1 call, some received continuation funding from REPLP-1.


The following capabilities were established during the Technology Development Project (TDP) call. Some projects also received continuation funding from REPLPCM.

Project Principal Investigator (Affilition) Clinical Microbiology Lab
Development of a targeted metagenomic NGS platform for diagnostics and epidemiological surveillance of viral pandemic threats Lisa Pettersson (Umeå University) Umeå University Hospital
Establishing sequencing-based viral diagnostics for future clinical use: towards pandemic and outbreak preparedness in the clinical laboratory Patrik Medstrand (Lund University) Lund University and Region Skåne
Gothenburg initiative for pandemic laboratory preparedness (GILP) Magnus Lindh (Gothenburg University) Sahlgrenska University Hospital
Metagenomic sequencing for pathogen identification and analysis Jenny Welander (Linköping University) Linköping University Hospital
Next generation clinical virology Tobias Allander (Karolinska Institutet) Karolinska University Hospital
Pre-analytics for pandemic preparedness Martin Sundqvist (Örebro University) Örebro University Hospital
Preparedness for tracking resistant and virulent bacterial and fungal pathogens (TRACK-PATH) Christian Giske (Karolinska Institutet) Karolinska Institutet
Rapid typing of emerging variants in a clinical setting Anders Bergqvist (Uppsala University) Uppsala University Hospital

PLP2 capabilities

The following capabilites were funded as part of the PLP2 call.


The following capabilities resulted from the PLP-Test call.

Further reading about the PLP program

Personnel and contact

Scientific lead for the PLP program: Staffan Svärd.

Scientific co-lead for the PLP program: Ulf Ribacke.

Coordinator for the PLP program: Alice Sollazzo.

If you have any questions about the PLP program, please email Alice Sollazzo.