“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/
Scaling Up the Value: BioLamina
Uppsala BIO has an important role to connect and contribute to the overall growth of Life Sciences, nationally and internationally, both for academic institutions and companies.
Since the beginning of Testa Center, Uppsala BIOs team has as an external project coordinator role and has developed the application and selection process based on the BIO-X methodology.
Breaking down the numbers 2017-2018
The overall goal of Uppsala BIO is to contribute to Upsala's vision of 70,000 new jobs in 2050. Of these, at least 3500 jobs will be created in the life science sector.>>
Uppsala BIO helps Testa Center off to a flying start
Process based on successful BIO-X methodology.>>
“You can make a holding company profitable, but it takes a bit of luck.”
This autumn, Lars Jonsson, CEO of UU Holding since 1998, retires and hands over a very successful investment business to his successor. “UU Holding is nothing short of a success story,” writes Uppsala BIO’s Erik Forsberg. Lars Jonsson has proven that it is possible to make a holding company profitable.>>
Uppsala’s innovation support system works! Award-winning Kontigo Care is the latest proof.
“With its high costs and huge suffering for those affected as well as their relatives, alcohol abuse is one of our major social problems. Kontigo Care’s work on digital biomarkers is one of the most exciting things I’ve witnessed during my career,” writes Uppsala BIO Buiness Developer Magnus Engevik.>>
Spotlight Uppsala’s unique resource!
Uppsala’s life science industry is healthy and developing well. More than 100 life science companies can be found here and in 2016 they employed about 5000 people and had a combined turnover of approximately SEK 27 billion.>>
“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…”
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.>>
50 years of excellence – it all started with a collaboration between academia and industry!
2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the RAST-method. Learn about the history and see how Uppsala BIO and UU Innovation are addressing future challenges in asthma and allergy diagnostics.>>
Sweden needs new regulations and ways for collaboration to stay ahead in healthcare and the life sciences
Challenges and opportunities for countries wanting to take a leading role in life sciences, with focus on the future role of Sweden, was the topic of a seminar in May 2017. In our blog Johan Gómez de la Torre, Business Development Manager, Stockholm Science City digest the report.>>
Call for proposals: A pull to transform inventions into innovations
How do we pull out the good ideas that may become new innovative products or treatments for the benefit of patients? Calls for project proposals may be the pull that is needed.>>
Uppsala Health Summit 2017: Time for the world to meet on Infectious Disease Threats
10 – 11 October Uppsala Health Summit gathered 200 decision makers and experts from 30 different countries in a discussion about global threats from zoonotic infectious diseases.>>
EMA needs Sweden’s strong scientific environment
Karin Meyer, CEO, Swedish Pharmaceutical Society about what Sweden can offer the EMA and EU.>>
Check out EIT Health and its Uppsala activities
The purpose of EIT Health is to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation for healthy living and active ageing in Europe.>>
Fast-growing companies in Uppsala’s life science cluster
Between 2014 and 2015, the number of employees in this category increased by 11%. If we include 2013 as well, the increase is almost 20%.>>
Financial support and further action!
Our long-term goal is, as always, to contribute to growth by driving actions that complement those of the private and public sectors.>>
Tough competition prior to relocation of EMA after Brexit
Among the arguments stressed in the Swedish application to convince other member states that Sweden and Stockholm is best suited to host the EMA, is the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) in Uppsala.>>