UBI has overseen the Life Science Engine development project since 2019 – a project aimed at creating the ideal conditions for the region’s life science industry to thrive. The long-term goal of the project is for the life science industry in Västerbotten to have tripled its turnover to SEK 1.5 billion and doubled the number of people it employs to 2,000 people by 2030. The development project is financed by the European Development Fund via the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Region Västerbotten, Umeå Municipality and Umeå University.
“Life science research in Västerbotten has enormous potential to contribute to a more sustainable future for the region, but the industry is not as developed as in other parts of the country. It requires a long-term commitment to build an industry like ours, and it is fantastic that Västerbotten has regional backers who see the potential and are prepared to invest in the life science industry”, says Jennie Ekbeck.
Over the next 18 months focus will be placed on creating physical and digital meeting places of various sizes to help create connections between industry, academia and healthcare. In addition, the project will conduct activities that support businesses life science innovations, as well as identify ways future ideas can be nurtured from the business sector and not just from academia – as is largely the case today.
“Billions of SEK are currently being invested into northern Sweden, and the life science industry’s contribution to this growth can be seen in the number of rewarding jobs being created for both men and women. In fact life science is the only industry that has more women than men working in research and development”, says Jennie Ekbeck.
In order for the life science industry to develop, however, even more companies need to be started. Jennie Ekbeck believes more industry-specific service companies are needed, and that 15,000 square meters of adapted premises needs to be built in order to meet both the organic growth of the industry and support newly started companies.
“Umeå is an incredibly attractive life science region with a dynamic spirit and a pay-it-forward culture. Here we help one another and celebrate each other’s successes. It is important that we maintain this sense of community even as the industry grows, because together we are stronger. And all this is happening right now in Umeå”, says Jennie Ekbeck.