Umeå Municipality is strategically aiming for external companies to establish in the region. Photo: Fredrik Larsson/Visit Umeå

Life science has become a priority growth target for Umeå Municipality, strategically encouraging life science companies to establish themselves in the region.
“The goal is for an organization with at least 500 employees to set up operations here. We already have the infrastructure needed to make us attractive to larger companies”, says Peter Juneblad, Business Director at Umeå Municipality.

Umeå municipality, located 640 kilometers north of Stockholm, aims to grow to 200,000 inhabitants by 2050. Its Business Development Office has been specifically tasked with expanding the region’s life science industry, with a goal of increasing the number of people employed in the life science sector from 1,200 to 2,000 by 2030.

One of the keys to achieving this growth is to attract more major life science companies to Umeå, such as diabetes vaccine manufacturer Diamyd Medical, which chose to locate its new manufacturing facility in Umeå back in 2020.

The municipality is currently working on a strategy called ‘Umeå Life Science City’, aiming to increase opportunities for more and larger external companies to establish in the city.

“Umeå has enormous potential with an infrastructure that stands out in Sweden. We can offer land, electrical power, and clean water. In addition, Umeå is an excellent logistics and transport hub via road, rail, boat, and air, both north to south and east to west”, says Peter Juneblad, Business Director.

Nobel Prize-winning University a valuable knowledge bank
It’s no coincidence that the municipality is targeting the life science sector. Umeå University is a huge academic asset and has led the way for many years with cutting-edge research in life sciences. Prominent researchers at the city’s university attracted a lot of attention during the pandemic, while Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020.

“The university is a knowledge and competence bank for companies. We have an outstanding research infrastructure with several national research centers. In addition, we have both small and large companies here in Umeå, a dynamic collaborative climate, world-class incubators, and a university hospital with a track record of excellence in clinical research, which is important for many life science companies”, says Peter.

Part of the 2050 vision includes creating an inclusive city that promotes diversity.

“We aim to offer stimulating and relevant career paths, both for students after completing their education and for well-educated partners of researchers who move here. The life science industry in Umeå is also an equal opportunities industry, with many women in senior positions – which harmonizes with our values”.

Looking for both production facilities and research-related companies
Business Sweden, which assists Swedish companies to grow globally and assists global companies to establish themselves in Sweden, will play a key role in the work ahead.

“We have a great dialogue with Business Sweden, both regionally and nationally. They have a wide network of international contacts. Their cutting-edge life science knowledge, combined with their holistic view of Sweden, makes them an excellent resource for us in our work”, says Peter Juneblad and concludes:

“We are looking for both production facilities and research-related companies. The goal is for a facility with 500 new jobs to establish itself right here in Umeå – but companies of all sizes are naturally more than welcome. It is important for the region’s ecosystem that there’s a mix of small and large businesses, and that growth is both organic and stimulated by new businesses moving to the area”.