Innovation hubs such as Flemingsberg Science make it easier to attract the knowledge and competences needed for the development of the sustainable city of the future.
“The ability of hubs to rapidly identify needs and trends is crucial for the development of the Stockholm region. Flemingsberg Science strengthens the local ecosystem and contributes to businesses being able to conduct research, and develop and grow in the region, especially in life sciences,” says Anton Västberg, Development Director, Region Stockholm.
Innovation hubs play a decisive role for the strategic supply of competence, innovative drive and competitiveness in the region, Västberg adds.
“Hubs promote co-operation and development in key areas such as life sciences, technology and sustainable production. By creating attractive ecosystems and improving the business climate, Flemingsbergs Science contributes to realising its life sciences strategy and promoting sustainable urban development in the region.”
Pernilla Boström and Johnny Högberg, Flemingsberg Science, Johan Zachrisson, Fabege, Anton Västberg, Region Stockholm and Peter Dobers, Södertörn University.
During this year’s Science Week, Flemingsberg Science and Barkarby Science co-organised an event entitled: “Innovative arenas drive collaboration for the city of the future”. Representatives of Fabege, Södertörn University and Region Stockholm participated in a discussion on the role of innovation hubs in the development of smart and knowledge-intensive cities.
“In my experience, innovation hubs improve the attractiveness of areas, which in turn drives local engagement and creates added value that attracts new investment,” says Johan Zachrisson, Business Development Director, Fabege.
At the same time, a hub like Flemingsberg Science offers contact routes and networks to other actors with knowledge of the area, Zachrisson says.
“This hub has given me a deeper understanding of the competences and energy that exist in Flemingsberg.”
This understanding plays a key role in helping to increase inclusion in the planning phase of Flemingsberg’s new city centre. Together with Huddinge municipality and Södertörn University, Fabege is running a project to improve the inclusion of those already living and working in the area.
“We’re working to jointly create a platform based on participation of residents and businesses in the area. Although planning of the city centre is at an early stage, it’s important to get on the right track now,” he says.
The way innovation hubs become part of the local communities where they are located is particularly important, says Sophia Sundberg, CEO of innovation hub Barkarby Science.
“Local awareness provides access to a unique network of contacts among businesses and organisations. This has helped us become the enabler of projects and innovations that we are today,” Sundberg says.
Barkarby Science runs a membership network for all those interested in the development of Järfälla, and a testbed that houses practical projects aimed at developing the sustainable city of the future. Projects that have received the most attention include the world’s first regular bus service to use autonomous buses.
“The scheme was already up and running in 2018, which was very early. We still have study visits from other institutions that want to know more and experience it for themselves.”
The broad-based participation at Science Week was just one example of how important collaboration is with Stockholm’s other innovation hubs.
“We work actively with knowledge and competence exchange between ourselves and other hubs. We share experiences from our respective projects, and are able to establish contacts and mutual opportunities,” says Sundberg.
Peter Dobers, Södertörn University, Anton Västberg, Region Stockholm,
Pernilla Boström and Johnny Högberg, Flemingsberg Science.
Each hub offers opportunities for knowledge and competence sharing that exist in a given area, especially in the face of extensive urban development. Peter Dobers, professor of Business Administration specialising in sustainable development and collaboration at Södertörn University, describes hubs as meeting places.
“In addition to all the contacts that the university has with other researchers, institutions and competence centres, hubs such as Flemingsberg Science and Barkarby Science provide additional proximity, especially to local companies,” says Dobers.
When it comes to such extensive urban development as in Flemingsberg, it is important to take into account the interests of local residents and the history of an area, he believes.
“This is why we need to find ways to include the needs and knowledge of local residents. And to do that, competence is needed in everything from aesthetics, philosophy, social science, and social work, to name a few areas.”
Anton Västberg also supports the need for collaboration, including strategic and action plans.
“The implementation of the Stockholm region’s business and growth strategy and smart specialisation demands strategic and action plans, innovation tours and dialogue. Our regional actors and innovation hubs in particular are crucial to the success of such strategies and providing support for R&I systems that promote growth and increased competitiveness in the region,” Västberg says.
Johnny Högberg, CEO of Flemingsberg Science, highlights the importance of innovation hubs that support the development of the region.
“We have an important task to fulfil where we can accelerate development and speed up various processes due in large part to good local knowledge and an active contact network. Thanks to organisations like Flemingsberg Science, an innovation hub can be run on a long-term basis required for the best results,” Högberg says.
“A long-term approach is important and results in viable relationships in which we can work together for sustainable development. I must compliment everyone behind Science Week who really impressed me with a professional event that opened up opportunities for many new meetings,” says Högberg.
Photo: Fredrik Sederholm