Crisp ideas from the north of Sweden

Umeå is a vibrant university city in northern Sweden with a population of 132,000. The population in Umeå is quite young and the growth is higher than in similar cities. Being a true 15-minute city it is easy to go around and also to reach the airport or train stations for traveling.

Umeå University was founded in 1965 and is today the 6th largest taking around 35,000 students. The university has a strong scientific record within the life science field.

There are some world-class research and infrastructure for researchers in, for example, the Biochemical Imaging Centre Umeå (BICU), Umeå Centre for Electron Microscopy, (UCEM), Umeå Center for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI), PREDICT – biobank, Swedish Metabolomics Centre (SMC).

In 2020 Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. She carried out her groundbreaking research on the CRISPR system at Umeå University while affiliated with The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden, MIMS as group leader and also of UCMR – Umeå Centre for Microbial Research at Umeå university.

Visit Coalition Umeå for Life Science (CU4LS) ( to learn more about life science research in Umeå.

Life Science Ecosystem in Umeå

Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI) is part of the innovation ecosystem surrounding Umeå University and one of six life science incubators in Sweden. Ideas that pass the Innovation Office can be applied to UBI for further business development of their ideas. In Sweden, the researchers own the rights to their ideas, something called ”the teachers’ exemption”. No TTOs:s exist but the universities have Innovation Offices that guide researchers.

  • Umeå University with a strong scientific record.
  • Umeå University Hospital with extensive clinical research.
  • Innovation system with 2 incubators, Uminova Innovation and Umeå Biotech Incubator.
  • Around 20 ongoing startups within Life Science.
  • 6 pharma development companies: Lipum, Lipigon, QureTech Bio, Metacurum, Omnio, Vakona
  • 3 diagnostic companies: Nordic Biomarker, UmanDiagnostics/Quanterix, and Hiloprobe
  • 2 medtech companies: Medicvent and Likvor
  • 2 international companies within laboratory equipment: Cytiva, and Sartorius.
  • 2 pharma production facilities: APL and Diamyd.
  • 1 antibody producer: Agrisera (Olink).

Learn more about Umeå Life Science City in this magazine

Collaborative atmosphere

The success key behind the growth in Life science Umeå is collaboration. Here are some examples of bridges between companies, industry, and academia.

  • The CEO network. Connects the CEOs of the Life science companies in Umeå to joint meetings.
  • The QA network. Meets four times a year. Gather over 20 QA:s from the industry to discuss common challenges and issues.
  • “Umeå Life Science”. Consists of seven Life science companies in Umeå. It was formed to discuss competence supply, mentorship over company boundaries, and joint education.
  • The Industry Council. Intended to promote collaboration and meeting points between the university in Umeå and the Life science industry.
  • CU4LS (The Coalition Umeå for Life Science) An initiative at the University to promote collaboration within the life science research community.
  • Umeå Biotech Incubator. Arrange numerous events for Life Science Umeå, such as a Life science pub, breakfast seminars, a Life science job fair, a fair for service companies, and much more.


  • 1-hour flight from Stockholm to Umeå, operated by three airlines.
  • 6 hours by train from Stockholm to Umeå.
  • 4 hours by boat to Vaasa, Finland.
  • In Umeå, everything is close. A round tour along the Life Science Umeå beltway takes 36 minutes by car and 75 minutes by bike.

The city of Umeå

  • Umeå stands as the largest urban hub in northern Sweden. The Västerbotten county, with an area slightly larger than the Netherlands, boasts a total population of 276,500.
  • The city’s vibrant cultural scene offers a diverse array of festivals and events throughout the year, catering to a wide range of interests, from music and theater to dance, sports, culinary delights, and much more.
  • Umeå’s proximity to nature provides ample opportunities to experience the region’s landscapes. Umeå offers a gateway to nature with lush forests and Northern Lights.
  • Affectionately known as “Björkarnas stad,” the city of birches, Umeå is adorned with over 2,300 birch trees lining its streets.
  • Recognizing the importance of innovation and scientific advancement, Umeå municipality has prioritized life science as one of its three key areas in its growth strategy, fostering a hub for research and development.
  • Interested in leaping Umeå? Find out more on Gateway Umeå.
Photo by: Malin Grönborg, Robert Ekblom/Rally Sweden/Annika Dahlén, Oskar Norberg, Brännbollsyran/Visit Umeå.