The First 20 Years of the Foundation

Gunnar Lennerstrand

The Sigvard & Marianne Bernadotte Research Foundation for Children Eye Care was
established in January 1990. The founders were Princess Marianne Bernadotte and the late
Prince Sigvard Bernadotte. Support for the initial idea of this foundation was supplied by the
late artist Sven Inge and by myself. The motto of the foundation is “Vision in the Future”,
recognizing that vision, being low at birth can reach normal levels in adulthood only if proper
visual stimulation is provided during childhood. Retarded visual development will lead to
poor vision throughout life, and early detection of visual dysfunction and early treatment is of
greatest importance in order to restore normal vision.
The by-laws state that the Foundation should promote good visual health in the child
population and support scientific research on vision and eye care of children. A goal of the
Foundation, announced already at the first meeting, is to create an institute for research and
advanced eye care of children at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. In the following a
description will be given of how the Foundation has fulfilled these objectives.
The members of the board in 1990 were: Professor, Nobel Laureate 1967, Ragnar Granit;
Princess Marianne Bernadotte; Professor Gunnar Lennerstrand; Managing director Sven
Wallgren; Professor Curt von Euler;Professor Ove Broberger; Dr Theol Bertil Persson; Artist
Sven Inge Höglund.
The start and the development of funds
The first action to bring funds to the foundation was taken by Princess Marianne Bernadotte
in arranging an auction at Bukowskis, the most important auction house in Stockholm. Over
200 works of art were solicited and registered in a catalogue with pictures, and already on
February 13, 1990, the auction took place. The net result was about 1.2 million SEK for the
foundation, a very good start in funding.
Through active work of the board members, contacts with the press and with the help of
promotion material of various kinds, the foundation quite rapidly became known to the
public. Grant applications to other foundations and institutions were relatively successful and
increased the funds. A large donation of 5 million SEK from the Tomteboda School in 1991
constituted a major advance of funds and made it possible for the foundation to start to
support pediatric ophthalmology in 1992 with grants for research and travel. Donations of
varying amounts have been made to the foundation during the years, the most remarkable
being donations at separate occasions, amounting to 50 million SEK, by the late Birgit and
Gösta Törnlöf .
The list of donations of 50 000 SEK or more is as follows:
1994 Stiftelsen Frimurare Barnhuset i Stockholm
Fondation Harari, Paris;
1995 Essilor, Paris
Sigvard och Marianne Bernadottes Vänförening
1998 Victor J.B. Pastor, Monaco;
1999 Fondation Oussemi, Genève;
2000 Redaktör, med dr h c, Maj Ödman;
2001 Sven-Ivar Marthín, Vilhelmina;
2002 Department of Ophthalmology, Huddinge University Hospital;
2004 Michel Francois-Poncet
Magda & Enrico Bragiotti
Kay & Lyndon L. Olson jr.;
2005 Birgit & Gösta Törnlöf;
2009 Anders Tengbom
In addition to donations, the funds have increased by successful investments in stocks and
other financial instruments, according to a placement strategy worked out in collaboration
with the SE bank, handling the accounts of the foundation. The development of funds is
shown in figure 1. At present the total value of funds is about 65 million SEK.
Figure 1. Development of funds of the Foundation since 1991.
Funding of research
Research projects in pediatric ophthalmology have been funded yearly since 1992.
Applications are solicited for presentation before May 1 and the applications are evaluated by
the Scientific committee and presented to the board for decision at the annual meeting in June.
Support has been given in the form of scholarships for travel and for research, grants to
individual researchers or to the Bernadotte laboratories (see below). The amount of support
supplied since 1992 is approximately 10 million SEK, with a marked increase in 2008 and
2009, as shown in figure 2.
In addition to the fields of pediatric ophthalmology represented in the review chapters in this
book, research has been supported also on retinal development, retinal dystrophies, retinal
neovascularisation, visual evoked potentials, fetal alcohol syndrome, congenital glaucoma,
ocular allergy, genetics of eye diseases, and visual handicap in children. The recipients of the
Development of funds
10 000
20 000
30 000
40 000
50 000
60 000
70 000
80 000
SEK x 1000
research grants and scholarships are scientists from all of the medical schools in Sweden.
Mainly the younger scientists have been supported and of 77 researchers being funded, 57
were in the beginning of their scientific carrier, most of them Ph.D. students. Of these young
scientists 48 have finished their Ph. D. degree and 3 their Master degree, i.e. about 90% of
them have graduated. The financial support given to them by the foundation would seem very
well invested. A broad basis has been laid for future and expanding research in pediatric
ophthalmology. The other funded scientists have been already established researchers.
The distribution between the Swedish medical schools of the scientists being funded is as
follows: Stockholm 44, Gothenburg 16, Uppsala 8, Lund 3, Linköping 2 and Umeå 1. The
distribution reflects the number of scientists active in pediatric ophthalmology at the different
universities, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm having the largest number in the country.
Figure 2. The amount of grants awarded by the Foundation since 1992.
The Prince Sigvard honorary lecture
In 1992 the board decided to institute an honorary lecture in the name of Prince Sigvard to
acknowledge the accomplishments of a prominent researcher in the Nordic countries.
Nominations are done by the board of the Nordic Pediatric Ophthalmology Association and
Amount of grants awarded
1 000
1 200
1 400
1 600
1 800
2 000
SEK x 1000
presented to the board of the foundation for evaluation and decision. The award is presented
at the Nordic Pediatric Ophthalmology meetings and the recipient gives a lecture.
The list of awardees at the different meetings is as follows:
1994 Helsinki – Mette Warburg, Köpenhamn
1996 Copenhagen – Göran Stigmar, Lund
1998 Lugarvatn, Iceland – Hans Fledelius, Köpenhamn
2001 Tromsö – Kerstin Strömland, Göteborg
2003 Uppsala – Heikki Erkillä, Helsingfors
2005 Åbo – Ruth Riise, Hamar
2007 Helsingör – Olav Haugen, Bergen
2009 Bergen – Gerd Holmström, Uppsala
The Princess Marianne price
In 1994 the board of the foundation decided to create a price in the name of Princess
Marianne Bernadotte to be presented to a prominent Swedish clinical researcher still in the
active phase of their carrier. Nominations for the price are supplied by the professors of
ophthalmology in Sweden, for dicision by the board of the foundation. The price sum has
been 50 000 SEK. At the price ceremony the awardee presents a price lecture, and the
ceremony finishes with a musical event.
The list of price awardees is as follows:
1995 Kerstin Strömland, Göteborg
1997 Kristina Tornqvist, Lund
1999 Jan Ygge, Stockholm
2002 Lena Jacobson, Stockholm
2004 Gerd Holmström, Uppsala
2006 Ann Hellström, Göteborg
2008 Peter Jakobsson, Linköping
The Bernadotte Laboratories for Pediatric Ophthalmology
The research in pediatric ophthalmology has been strong at the department of ophthalmology
at Karolinska Institutet, particularly from the 1980-ies and onwards. The foundation has
supported this research and the laboratories at the department from the beginning. When the
laboratories were offered a new location at Huddinge University Hospital, they were officially
announced as the Bernadotte Laboratories of Pediatric Ophthalmology and inaugurated by
Prince Sigvard in March of 2000. The laboratories moved to the St. Erik Eye Hospital in
March of 2002. In the laboratories about 20 researchers at different levels are active in studies
of normal and abnormal development of the visual and oculomotor system, strabismus,
dyslexia, pediatric neuro-ophthalmology, ocular manifestations in pediatric diseases, among
Teaching of pediatric ophthalmology for different categories of students and personnel is a
prominent part of activities at the Bernadotte laboratories. The Laboratories are an important
part of the newly created Bernadotte Institute at Karolinska Institutet for research and
advanced eye care of children. This institute is a virtual one, combining research at the
Bernadotte Laboratories with clinical work at St. Erik Eye Hospital and Astrid Lindgen
Hospital for Pediatrics. Support for the institute from the foundation is directed to the
Bernadotte Laboratories and to the hospitals through contracts between the foundation and the
hospitals. The support includes scholarships and salaries for researchers at the hospitals and
the laboratories, and funds for rent and equipment at the laboratories.
Collaboration with other foundations
The Bernadotte Foundation for Children’s Eyecare, Inc. was started 1993 in New York at the
initiative of Princess Marianne Bernadotte and with support from business men and scientists
with a Swedish background. Funds have been collected through auctions of donated art work
and/or charity banquets. Such events have been held in New York 1994, Chicago 1997, Los
Angeles 1999 and Palm Beach 2001, 2003 and 2005. The Foundation has supported three
visiting researchers to the Bernadotte Laboratories in Stockholm, and researchers and doctors
from developing countries to attend internal conferences of pediatric ophthalmology.
An association called The Friends of Sigvard and Marianne Bernadotte was started in 1997.
The members of the association want to support the Bernadotte foundations of Art and of
Pediatric Ophthalmology. The association arranges cultural activities for the members. The
association donates the assets collected each year to the two foundations.
Publications supported by the Bernadotte Foundation
1. Retinopathy of Prematurity. Reports from the Nordic Countries. Hans Fledelius, Gerd
Holmström, Gunnar Lennerstrand, Eds. Acta Ophthalmologica, Volume 71,
Supplement 210, 1993.
2. Eye Movements in Reading. Jan Ygge and Gunnar Lennerstrand, Eds. Wenner-Gren
International Series, Volume 64, Pergamon Press,Oxford, 1994.
3. Pediatric Ophthalmology; some recent advances. Gunnar Lennerstrand, Ed. Acta
Ophthalmologica Scandinavica, Volume 73, Supplement 214, 1995.
4. Advances in Strabismus Research: Basic and Clinical Aspects. Gunnar Lennerstrand
and Jan Ygge, Eds. Wenner-Gren International Series, Volume 78, Portland Press,
London, 2000.
5. Barnögonsjukdomar. Aktuell svensk forskning. Maj Ödman and Gunnar Lennerstrand,
Eds. Johansson & Skyttmo Förlag, Stockholm, 2000.
The members of the present board of trustees
Professor, Nobel laureate 1981, Torsten Wiesel (honorary chairman)
Princess Dr med h c Marianne Bernadotte
Professor Gunnar Lennerstrand (chairman)
Managing director Sven Wallgren (vice chairman)
Professor Anders Persson (secretary)
Director Gunilla Stenberg Stuckey
Professor Jan Ygge
BM Christina Lagergren
University secretary Ulla-Britt Schützler- Peterson
The present board of trustees. Back row from left: Christina Lagergren, Jan Ygge, Ulla-Britt
Schützler-Peterson, Anders Persson, Gunilla Stenberg Stuckey. Front row from left: Sven
Wallgren, Gunnar Lennerstrand, Marianne Bernadotte, Torsten Wiesel
Prince Sigvard and Princess Marianne Bernadotte
1 0
Organizers of the charity auction at Bukowskis in February 1990. From left: Attorney Kerstin
Sandels, Princess Marianne, mrs Gun Lennerstrand and professor Gunnar Lennerstrand
From the charity auction at Bukowskis in 1990. Pediatric ophthalmology research
among the art pieces was presented by Gunnar Lennerstrand and Jan Ygge
1 1
From the festivities at Waldermarsudde in 1991 when the Foundation received a large
donation from the Tomteboda School, represented by director Gunilla Stenberg Stuckey
Princess Marianne’s Prize presented to professor Lena Jacobson at a
ceremony in the Swedish Medical Association
1 2
Exterior and interior of the Bernadotte Laboratories at St. Erik Eye Hospital
located at Kungsholmen in Stockholm
Vision and eye motility research being performed using a Tobii eye tracker.
Professor Jan Ygge and test subject
1 3
The Bernadotte Laboratories is the country’s most advanced laboratory
for research on children’s eyes and vision
Colleagues and international guest gathered for a lab dinner at
the home of the Ygge family


Ovanstående är ett utdrag ur:

Advances in Pediatric Ophthalmology Research. Gunnar Lennerstrand and Gustaf Öqvist Seimyr, Eds. The Sigvard & Marianne Bernadotte Research Foundation for Children Eye Care. Stockholm, 2010.

Utgiven med anledning av Stiftelsens 20-års jubileum.

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