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STUNS Life science is part of the foundation STUNS (Stiftelsen för samverkan mellan universiteten i Uppsala, näringsliv och samhälle) in Uppsala working to promote and enable public and private collaborations in order to create knowledge-based and sustainable growth – within the area of life sciences and health.

The region of Uppsala (Sweden) is the intermediate region with the highest overall position – sixth place – just ahead of one of the urban regions. The presence of a large university and life science sector helps to explain why Uppsala has the highest proportion of people with tertiary education and the highest level of R&D investment per capita of the intermediate regions. The region also benefits from the proximity of the capital region of Stockholm and Arlanda Airport, which contributes to Uppsala’s high net migration rate.

The quote above comes from the report State of the Nordic region 2020 by the Nordic Council of Ministers highlighting Uppsalas’ excellent growth opportunity.

In addition to what’s mentioned in the quote, I would like to add that Uppsala benefits from TWO strong and internationally acclaimed universities; The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Uppsala University – both with world-leading research and educational programs within life sciences and health.

In total, more than 50 000 students inhabit Uppsala and the faculties with a primary focus on educations traditional for life sciences are particularly strong. These make up a foundation for future employees in any of the 100+ life science companies in the city. However, strong the traditional faculties are, it is in the cross-disciplinary mix we will find future solutions for precision medicine or advances in the digital transformation of the sector.

The universities are also growing grounds for bringing academic findings into start-up companies. Thus, a strong innovation system is necessary, bridging the gaps for growing companies. With innovation offices and holding companies at the universities, one of the world’s most successful incubators, great support from the public sector as for user environments for evidence generation as well as funding, combined with resourceful service providers and experienced investors and board member competencies, the ecosystem fosters for global competitiveness.

The life science sector in Uppsala is particularly strong with 17 percent of the total Swedish employees in the private sector as well as in regards to the revenue stream, while only having 2 percent of the total Swedish population. The mix of small, medium, and large companies also creates a well-balanced ecosystem, and the investments by the big companies like Cytiva, Thermo Fisher, Fresenius Kabi, and Galderma show that the future looks bright and that the sector will continue to strengthen the growth of the region.

However, it is not just the life science companies that invest. Real estate developer Klövern has initiated one of Swedens’ most ambitious infrastructure projects expanding on the former Pharmacia area in Fyrislund, bringing Uppsala Business Park (UBP) from a place with 2500 workspaces to 15 000 in the coming 15 years – with businesses focusing on life-changing solutions.

In addition, Invest Stockholm emphasized in a recent report, the high level of people with tertiary education in the region stating that in the age of 25 to 64 as much as 1,8 percent in Stockholm and 3,8 (!) percent in Uppsala are doctoral graduates.

While all these numbers are great and show a high density of skills supply and potential locally, it is in combination with the surrounding environment of the capital region, with the proximity to Stockholm and Arlanda airport among others, as well as Sweden being globally competitive in life sciences and innovative power, that completes the picture.


However strong the parts, it is the ecosystem and the efficiency of exchange within it that makes the difference.

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