At the General Assembly in June ReproUnion’s management announced that Jens Sønksen had stepped down from his role as Chairman at the end of the first accounting period in ReproUnion 2.0.
In recent years, Jens Sønksen has become increasingly busy. In 2016 he was elected as President of the Danish Association of Urology and in 2017 he was elected Adjunct Secretary General for the European Association of Urology (EAU).
“We would like to thank Jens for his tremendous contribution to ReproUnion, both his scientific contribution to the project and not least for his efforts in the Executive Board’, says Petter Hartman, CEO of Medicon Valley Alliance and member of the ReproUnion Executive Board. ‘Jens’ passion for the collaboration during the past 10 years has been crucial for the success ReproUnion has experienced. Now it will be up to us all, whether young or experienced in the team, to continuously support the strong collaboration spirit, to which Jens has always been committed.”
Jens Sønksen is Professor of Urology at the University of Copenhagen and Head of Urological Research Center, Herlev Hospital, Denmark and has published more than 150 scientific papers and book chapters. After obtaining his medical degree in 1988, he earned a Ph.D. (1995) and Doctor of Medical Science (2003) degrees for his work on infertility of spinal cord injured males. Jens Sønksen’s clinical research includes ejaculatory and erectile dysfunction, and in ReproUnion 1.0 he successfully led a research project related to the male factor in infertile couples and how microsurgery can help men with non-obstructive azoospermia to overcome infertility and have biological children.
Jens Sønksen kindly accepted to share a few perspectives on the ReproUnion collaboration:
Which do you consider to be ReproUnion highlights during the past decade?
ReproUnion has created scientific volume and enabled some of the best fertility experts we have in the Øresund region to work together. The patient mobility agreement between Danish and Swedish regions has been a key milestone, enabling patients to be recruited for research projects from both sides of Øresund. ReproUnion has also helped strengthen the triple helix collaboration between the universities, hospitals and industry in the region. Finally, it has been rewarding to see the network of young researchers within reproduction grow stronger through the ReproYoung association and their impressive conferences. ReproUnion has indeed contributed to the sum being greater than its parts for (in)fertility research as well as for the benefit of patients and fertility awareness overall.
What would you say is a key strength in the cross-border collaboration?
The ReproUnion brand cannot be underestimated. We have developed a strong brand that is increasingly recognized, not only in Denmark and Sweden, but also internationally. This was acknowledged when the EU commission last year chose ReproUnion as a finalist to the RegioStars award as an outstanding interregional project. The brand only grows stronger through the collaboration of key experts and the joint work to continuously help overcome infertility challenges. The patient mobility agreement is a key result of the cross-border collaboration that not only benefits the patients, but also demonstrates to politicians that cross-border collaboration is possible.
What would be your final piece of advice to the ReproUnion team?
Always look for the possibilities and solutions instead of the problem and ask yourself: “how can we make this happen!”.