This content was published in the period between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019 she was Minister for Higher Education and Research.

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019 she was Minister for Higher Education and Research.

Speech at Nordic Life Science Days 2015

Published

Stockholm Waterfront, September 9, 2015.

Check against delivery

Thank you for inviting me to this meeting. It is a great pleasure to participate in the forming of closer ties between Nordic academy and industry.

As a Minister for Higher Education and Research, one of my goals is to enable excellent research and innovation in the public sector in collaboration with the business sector.

I think it is crucial that our welfare is strong for our competitiveness and for our ability to tackle our grand challenges. For this, the government is convinced that in order to stay competitive Sweden must compete with knowledge, research and innovation, not low wages.
It is through the high quality of Nordic higher education and research, in this case life science, that we manage to satisfy the high-tech industry with qualified staff and knowledge - and attract investments in factories and in research and development from the industry.

The Nordic countries are an attractive area to conduct research in, both for individuals and for businesses. But to stay strong we need to attract talented young researchers to a career in science.

I believe that creating attractive research environments as well as providing good working conditions in terms of planned careers will strengthen our position in the world.

Therefore, the system for researchers' careers may need to be revised. In Sweden we are currently looking into this.
Another thing that is necessary for our success is gender equality. If not all our talents are given the possibility to develop, we lose valuable competence. Therefore, the government wants to promote gender equality in science in general, and at universities and colleges in particular.

The Nordic countries have a long tradition of medical research of world class, successful large and small pharmaceutical companies, and a well-developed and well organized health care. Partnerships between academia, industry and health care have been very fruitful. They have led to significant innovations in the form of medicines and better treatments. The open collaboration and access to health care resources have been key factors for this success.

The Nordic countries have certain strengths which we could to a larger extent make use of and benefit from, not the least our life science companies. In the Nordic region we have collected medical information in registers for many years. They are gold mines for research. But our populations are small and the cohort sizes may not always be large enough. So to step up and compete we may need to increase the Nordic collaboration even more.

Expensive research infrastructure is another area where the Nordic countries already are working together. We would like to invite you to the large research infrastructure initiatives that we build now, ESS and MaxIV and SciLifeLab, which are open for collaboration.

As for life science in Sweden, I want to tell you what initiatives we work with. The Government has appointed an Innovation Council which is chaired by the Prime Minister and which among a handful of areas has special focus on Life Science and digitalization.

I have, as the Minister for Higher Education and Research, the overall responsibility for the area of Life Science in the government. We have appointed a coordinator for the life science, Anders Lönnberg. His work involves giving the government suggestions for changes and improvements within the Swedish Life Science eco-system including the business sector, the academic sector and the health care sector.

The next year, the Swedish government will present a research bill with a long term perspective - as a step in strengthening research by providing long-term conditions.

There are also a few relatively new Swedish programs that focus on clinical research that are relevant to the life science industry:

  • National coordination of clinical trials, placed at the Research Council. It aims to facilitate and increase collaboration between industry, university and health care.
  •  A committee of the Swedish Research Council that distributes 100-150 million Swedish crowns per year in clinical treatment research.

I would like to see more collaboration between academic research and industry. It is important that publicly funded research is useful for society in many ways. This can be by providing highly educated people through higher education, by new scientific breakthroughs - but also through direct cooperation between scientists and companies.

In times when the pharmaceutical industry is transforming, it is important that the academic sector is available as a source for knowledge transfer to industry and as a place where industry can find world leading research in areas of interest for their research and development.

Life science is an area that has high priority for the Swedish government. There are many reasons;

  • The demands from the health sector are growing – especially since a larger proportion of the population are the elderly
  • The life science industry has gone through a tough change and is more and more dependent on collaborations with academic science and health care providers
  • The technical development has made it possible for different disciplines to work together in a new way

Sweden and the Nordic countries have a long tradition of research and innovation in the life science area. Now I hope that we together can take it forward into the future.

Thank you very much!

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019 she was Minister for Higher Education and Research.

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019 she was Minister for Higher Education and Research.