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Uppsala life science - Our Legacy

The story of Uppsala contains so much more than three large viking graves, Gösta Knutsson's cats and "the university". If we dig a little deeper, we find details that reveal how Uppsala became the city it is now, and how the spread of knowledge shaped today´s myriad opportunities for success in life science.

The church laid the foundation for what would become Uppsala University in 1477 - the Nordic region´s first university. Interest waned during the Reformation but was revitalised early in the 17th century when King Gustaf II Adolf needed loyal priests and officials for his European wars.

The reformation led to the emergence of a new academic way of the thinking, focusing on observation and experimentation. New prominent figures emerged - not least in disciplines such as botany, anatomy and medicine.

Uppsala gainded prominence in Europe, and many of its professors were offered positions at other European universities.

They returned from their studies abroad with new experience and authority in their fields.

Uppsala´s strength in medicine also led to the establishment of Uppsala University Hospital, which was inaugurated at its current site in 1867 and quickly became considered Northen Europe´s most modern hospital.

During the 20th century, science expanded into the realm of atoms and molecules. As a result, several prominent scientists made great leaps in understanding and were awarded the Nobel Prize.

Manufacturing industry was developing rapidly at the same time; in the early part of the century, Uppsala was a leading producer of mustard, bicycles and shoes. However, a shift took place in the post-war period and a strong diagnostics and pharmaceuticals industry emerged.

Throughout history, Uppsala has been associated with science, medicine and manufacturing - a combination that has made us a powerful force in life science. We see a continuous cycle of ideas from our universities being commercialised, and small companies growing into large ones. Uppsala is truly a place where tradition and new thinking come together.

Uppsala In Numbers


In the Times Higher Education Young University ranking. SLU was places 58 in the world and number 1 in Sweden.


Uppsala University ranked 89 out of 2,500 universities in the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities. (the ”Shanghai” ranking)


Uppsala University Hospital ranked 51 in Newsweeks´s 2022 ranking of the world´s best hospitals.


In the Times Higher Education Young University ranking. SLU was places 58 in the world and number 1 in Sweden.


Uppsala is home to about 2% of Sweden´s population but accounts for 16% of Swedish life science.


Almost 4% of people aged 25-64 in Uppsala hold a PhD.

Contact me if you want to know more

Björn Arvidsson
Managing director
+46 (0) 70 – 994 36 06