"I have intended to start some form of foundation for a number of years, giving back to society through the capital I have amassed over my life. My idea is that the foundation should primarily focus on cancer research but, if the riddle of cancer is solved in the future, I would like the foundation to be able to contribute to other medical research and also to environmental research. I want the research to which I contribute to be as clinically focused as possible, so it can be applied rapidly. My hope is that the foundation will contribute to a new view of cancer treatment, in which there is equal openness to evaluating both conventional and unconventional treatment methods, as well as a combination of them both."
Bengt Sjöberg is 66 and received a diagnosis of lung cancer at the start of the year; he particularly hopes that the foundation’s money will improve lung cancer care and the treatment opportunities currently available in Sweden.
"The current survival figures for Swedish lung cancer care are depressing, and if I can be part of helping people to enjoy better quality of life and longer lives, it is worth every krona."
The foundation will award an annual Sjöberg Prize to a prominent cancer researcher or cancer research group. The prize will be awarded in close cooperation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the value of the prize will be equivalent to USD 1 million, of which the majority is designated for further research. In addition to the Sjöberg Prize, the foundation hopes to allocate SEK 60-70 million every year; discussions are currently underway with Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm regarding a new cancer centre. Bengt Sjöberg hopes that the foundation's money can start to be put to use in 2016.
"I am a businessman and have spent my life building companies, but this is the most rewarding thing I have done and I would like to see the results as soon as possible."
The first chair of the foundation's board is Bengt Sjöberg. Ingemar Sjöberg, Bengt Sjöberg's brother, has been appointed vice-chair and the secretary is Ola Johannesson. Other board members are Bengt Sjöberg's two children, Michelle Sjöberg and Joachim Sjöberg, as well as Göran K. Hansson and Annika Espander.
The foundation will be registered in Lysekil Municipality.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, founded in 1739, is an independent organization whose overall objective is to promote the sciences and strengthen their influence in society. The Academy takes special responsibility for the natural sciences and mathematics, but endeavours to promote the exchange of ideas between various disciplines.