Region Stockholm is now stepping up its efforts to become one of the world’s five leading centres for life science by 2025. Martin Tegnér leads the project from his newly setup programme office, which will oversee the initiative to completion.
Tegnér has worked at Karolinska University Hospital since 2016, most recently as a manager of the Region Stockholm Command Center with responsibility for sourcing personal protective equipment during the covid pandemic. The work he did there, together with his colleague Sara Lindholm Larsson, has since been widely praised. He has transferred some of his learnings from that role to his new job.
“It was a very intense period, with a fantastic team, during which we developed the ability to collaborate with everyone moving towards the same goal in a kind of collective movement. Something similar is needed if Region Stockholm is to become one of the world’s five leading life science centres,” says Tegnér.
Key to shared success
The key to success is to get all stakeholders – everyone from researchers to business leaders – to contribute what they’re best at to drive shared success, Tegnér believes.
“Among other things, this requires trust and generosity towards others where no one stands out, and where decisions form collectively without a leader who decides everything.”
The region’s life science strategy sets out the direction and focuses on five development areas, while the programme office’s role will be to ensure the development of concrete action plans.
“This is where the programme office becomes a facilitator and a driving force for success. We become the unifying force and the part of the team that does follow-up,” says Tegnér.
To be successful, we need passionate people who create activities and a critical mass of resources, businesses, operations, and meeting places where people from different professions can meet and identify new forms of collaboration are required.
Flemingsberg’s position in Stockholm’s life science cluster is well-established, in part due to the current research and development being done into cell therapies and advanced drug therapies, he says.
“Research has resulted in the formation of a number of businesses that collaborate with researchers and research groups. There are also important infrastructures that complement each other, for example the Pre-GMP lab and Vecura,” says Tengér.
“Flemingsberg Science has taken on the role of enabling innovation and collaboration by connecting a raft of key actors from across the region’s life science cluster.”
Even if Stockholm competes with significantly larger places and regions, size need not be a disadvantage, he believes.
“We can use the fact that we are relatively small as a strength. We offer proximity that makes it easier to get in touch with the right people in the right positions. And that can accelerate our development.”
In addition, Sweden and Stockholm have an extremely strong track record as an innovative country with driven people, especially in life science.
“We’re home to the people behind inventions such as the radiation knife, the dialysis machine and the pacemaker, and many more who have all contributed to our international position. We offer the right conditions and fantastic infrastructure, like SciLifeLab and ANA Futura,” says Tegnér.
Five focus areas for life science success
Region Stockholm’s life science strategy was presented in 2021 and includes five strategic development areas:
- Access to structured health data and care process data
- Healthcare and social care available to participate in collaborations with research, innovation and industry
- Precision medicine gives patients and residents access to high-resolution diagnostics, and personalised prevention and treatment
- Interdisciplinary collaboration creates solutions to complex challenges
- Life science companies research, develop and grow in the Stockholm region