“In my opinion, I am not perceived as exciting for what I have already achieved, compared to what I am expected to achieve in the future”. 

A visionary who wants to make a difference

Life Science is entering a new and exciting time, sometimes called the fourth industrial revolution. To meet these opportunities, the STUNS foundation has recruited Björn Arvidsson to fulfill the role of the new Managing director of the foundation’s life science branch. Björn’s most recent engagement has been at the Swiss pharmaceutical and diagnostics giant Roche.

Tell us briefly who Björn Arvidsson is?

The curious visionary who switched research to communication and networking in his quest to make a difference. That is how the short version sounds. Maybe! Describing yourself is always difficult and a little scary. No matter how you portray yourself, it becomes subjective and self-glorifying, or you just clutter your résumé, which is even more uninteresting. In my opinion, I am not perceived as exciting for what I have already achieved, compared to what I am expected to achieve in the future.

What has brought you to STUNS?

The innovation system and its players have always been interesting to me. As a former researcher, I have spent many hours reflecting on how I can create value and get disseminated on my possible discoveries. I do not plan my life in details, instead, I follow my passion and my willingness to understand and learn new things. So, my inquisitiveness has brought me here, I may say this. I’m too curious to miss the opportunity to position myself at the intersection of all smart people in academia, business, and society. The opportunity to learn from experiences is the most amazing thing. Research, innovation, and entrepreneurship are all born out of the same will to challenge the present situation, something that I have tremendous respect for and that is crucial to the change we see as necessary.

Additionally, I am from Uppsala and have lived here my whole life. Therefore, a desire to make a difference in my home region has grown more and more over the years. I would love to help make Uppsala more successful with the skills and driving forces that I possess.

How do you perceive the Swedish life science?

Traditionally, Sweden is a strong life science nation with a strong legacy. The industry was much of the same for a long time, and we were able to refine and harvest from its competences and capabilities to become even more successful. The success has continued due to that many results from the universities’ have been developed into new companies, using the unique “professor’s privilege” combined with a generous financing system and in spite of, or maybe because of, large companies breaking down into smaller units.

Today, insights and focus have increased since the former government in 2014 decided to take advantage of Sweden’s opportunities in life science. They appointed an investigator who, together with his team of experts, laid the foundation for what would become what we now call the life science office. The government has also chosen to make the office permanent as of this summer and give the current coordinator a full-time commitment. Her task is developing and carrying out a national life science strategy.  With that said, I can only see that it is a good time to be part of Uppsala BIO, STUNS, and a prosperous Swedish life science environment. 

What do you want to achieve in your new role?

First and foremost, I am humble since there is already a well-functioning business, that creates a lot of value and plays an important role in the national arena. Then, of course, there is always an expectation for each new Managing Director to contribute with the skills showcased during the recruitment process. Additionally, Uppsala BIO, STUNS is an organization that is expected to create new values – and not just administer.

A huge advantage is that STUNS – which Uppsala BIO is part of – has existed since the mid-1980s, providing an already well-developed environment in which the region’s important players have made long-term commitments to collaborate in order to promote innovation and create growth in the region. With this foundation, combined with the positive national spirit eager to see Swedish life science be internationally acclaimed, I aim to create a lot of value for our stakeholders, together with my colleagues. 

We live in a time where the turnover of knowledge and perceived truths are happening so quickly that no industry or company can create strategies for longer than a year, without risking a challenging situation.

Today, the curious and well-informed will be the prophet. If we can contribute to creating a sustainable development during this time of change by providing forums and networking opportunities, new opportunities for cross-border collaboration and insights through external relations, monitoring, and analysis, we will be extremely relevant for all the actors in the Life sciences environment.

Where is the life science in 10 years?

Predictions tend not to age with dignity. In my investigations, I avoid trying to tell how it will be, but rather I use the signals I see today, as a result of the events leading up to the present, to demonstrate possible developments and outcomes. Most of the things you will do tomorrow are already fixed. We do to 99 percent exactly the same as we did yesterday, and most often we overestimate the change in the short term. On the other hand, we underestimate the change in the long term, especially regarding the impact of technology on our society. Inertia comes from us humans. So, when predicting or analyzing reasonable future developments, one should always ask if we humans will have a big impact on whether or not this development will happen.

We all know how reluctant we are to change when someone other than ourselves decides about it.

On the other hand, I want to emphasize that life science is a strong technological sector where several well-known technologies will increase their quality and resolution exponentially over time, while they will become cheaper and available to more users. Such a development means that the additional value lies in the ability to ask the right questions more than access to technology and data.

I’m too curious to miss the opportunity to position myself at the intersection of all smart people in academia, business, and society.

Uppsala Life 2019

Arena for Life Science 

Creating Conditions for Healthy Growth 

The next big event organized by Uppsala BIO, STUNS is Uppsala Life  2019 Arena for LifeScience – Creating conditions for healthy growth where participants will find a unique opportunity to get a comprehensive overview of the field, build important networks, and discuss regional and global challenges with leading experts from the business sector, the research community, and relevant public bodies. 

The forum takes place on October 15 at Uppsala Castle, and it is the first time that representatives from the entire Uppsala life science sector – from global businesses and start-ups to universities and government offices – can meet to discuss the needs, challenges and opportunities of the local industry.

Read more: http://www.uppsalabio.com

What does Uppsala Life 2019 mean to you?

Life science is super inspiring at the moment with the high pace and turnaround of new technologies, digitalization and inter-sectoral convergence. Thus, bringing stakeholders together to be inspired, to learn and to discuss relevant topics for growth and competitiveness, is not just a nice to do but a need to do.

How can we create conditions for healthy growth?  

It is all about sustainable development, coming from the desired outcome and performed with judicious decisions and that the occasion itself is not a one-stop-shop but a start of a longer dialogue between all involved stakeholders.


Don’t miss the opportunity to listen to when Björn talks about innovations with Peter Sandberg in the Spinnovation podcast from July this year: : http://spinnovation.se/podcast/63-bryggan-mellan-innovation-och-marknadsintroduktion-vid-langa-tidshorisonter-inom-sjuk-och-halsovarden-bjorn-arvidsson-roche/








Sanja Vasileva. Marketing & Communication. “Developing content, building stories and communicating them is what I am passionate about.”

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Björn Arvidsson. M.Sc., Ph.D., Managing director.

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- 2019-06-25

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During 52 hours, staff from the Academic Hospital, AbbVie, Bristol Myers-Squibb and Microsoft worked together to develop and test new ideas and models for early diagnosis and better treatment of cancer. Now the experiences of Sweden's first “Innovation Race” can be summed up.


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Anna Ridderstad Wollberg - 2017-10-16

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Karin Meyer, CEO, Swedish Pharmaceutical Society - 2017-10-02

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- 2019-11-12


A visionary who wants to make a difference

Life Science is entering a new and exciting time, sometimes called the fourth industrial revolution. To meet these opportunities, the STUNS foundation has recruited Björn Arvidsson to fulfill the role of the new Managing director of the foundation's life science branch Uppsala BIO. Björn’s most recent engagement has been at the Swiss pharmaceutical and diagnostics giant Roche.