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The silent facilitators: How consulting businesses drive Uppsala’s life science scene

It is no secret that the life science industry has been hugely successful in Uppsala. Behind the success are the often-overlooked service providers. They form the backbone of this thriving sector, offering crucial support and expertise. We have identified and chosen to highlight four areas where consulting businesses are invaluable in this field.

Consultants are vessels of transport for know ledge as they have the advantage of working on projects at many different companies. They are also exposed to not only several working environments, but sometimes even several industries, where other perspectives and solutions are in working practice. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the consultants we interviewed described a hesitance from their customers to bring in consultants with a background in other sectors. We believe that applying knowledge from other companies and industries could accelerate and make the life science industry in Uppsala even more successful.

I think we are sometimes a bit too obsessed with putting life science experience as a prerequisite for recruitments. Instead, I would like to challenge companies to look more at the competences needed for the role, as life science isn’t always as unique as we might like to think. For example, I have seen several great cases of people transitioning from other heavily regulated industries such as the nuclear power- or defence industry.

Sandra Bydell Sveder, Mpaya Sci & Tech

Consultant companies are your partner through thick and thin. Operations can be truly diverse and can range from research in a lab to company founding, to various stages of clinical trials, to production design and commissioning, to daily production and supply chain operations. In each step of the way, specific skills can be of paramount importance. However, later when going into another stage, these same skills can be deemed superfluous, which is why consulting companies are so important. We believe that the strength of our ecosystem lies in the large number of active companies and projects distributed at these different stages – allowing for specialized consultants and professionals to have a steady stream of projects to work on in their respective niche.

Consultants are enablers in early- stage companies when funds often are limited and not all positions can be hired. Many choose to hire consultants in part- time positions, especially in support functions such as IT, law and HR, eventually scaling up the contracted tenure as time progresses. By hiring consultants, companies can minimize their financial risk and adapt efficiently to the ever-changing demands of a young company. Using consultants at an early stage can also be a great way of getting access to valuable insight and senior competences, which is normally unobtainable for small companies to hire full time.

Concluding remarks. Uppsala has, and will continue to, develop life science companies that are in the forefront in their respective fields. However, in contrast to other prominent university cities, Uppsala stands out as we also have developed a world class supporting system that is able to assist entrepreneurs evolve from mere ideas to international conglomerates. We are truly unique in this aspect, and we should relish this opportunity.

Uppsala’s established consulting sector has been crucial for us as a fast-growing company. Especially with regard to the difficulty of finding the right competences quickly when we needed them.

Milena Potucek, Olink

Oskar Wiggins

Elliot Westerlind