Karolinska Institutet Science Park strives for Excellence
The three pure Life Science-sites Medeon Science Park, Sahlgrenska Science Park, and Karolinska Institutet Science Park (KI Science Park) are joining forces, taking a big leap into the future. “Through the use of common resources, joint expertise and by openly sharing ideas we can achieve greater results”, says KI Science Park CEO Märit Johansson.
KI Science Park was established to facilitate the commercialisation of academic innovations originating from Karolinska Institutet. Today, it is an important research and innovation park in the Stockholm-region, working closely not only with Karolinska Institutet but also with Karolinska Institutet Innovation, Karolinska Institutet Development, Stockholm County Council, and the Söderntörn University in Stockholm.
KI Science Park offers comprehensive services for newly created and mature companies in the fields of Life Science, Medical Technology and Service Production.
The goal of KI Science Park is to work with other science parks in Sweden, particularly Medeon and Sahlgrenska, working closely together to become so called excellent science parks. Being classed as Excellent entails so much more than simply providing physical facilities and infrastructure. It also entails working with ecosystems for innovation, where knowledge and expertise contained in existing businesses is seized and applied in new innovations and potentially new businesses.
“A science park is a lot more than just office space”, says Märit Johansson. “It is of utmost importance that we can take advantage of our strengths and the research conducted in our region. At Karolinska Institutet prominent research is conducted in areas such as cancer and neurology. We can take advantage of that knowledge and apply it here at KI Science Park. What we are doing now is investigating and listing our existing strengths, comparing them with what the science parks Medeon and Sahlgrenska respectively have to offer. Together we are stronger as we have a lot to learn from each other”.
KI Science Park’s contribution
And KI Science Park has a lot to contribute to the union. Märit continues by giving an example: “We started a mentoring program for researchers and innovators within the park some years ago. Last year, it was successfully applied in conjunction with the liquidation of the AstraZeneca-site in Södertälje as many of the employees were offered the opportunity to participate. Many of them have now started their own successful businesses. For us at KI Science Park, the mentoring program has resulted in several benefits as well, mainly in the form of new ideas entering our innovation system”.
Further, KI Science Park is currently developing a web-based tool for drug development. Essentially, it will be a compass supporting the development of new drugs, including all the elements needed to strategically decide which tests should be done during drug development.
Global model for collaboration
In terms of innovation and growth, there is a lot going on in Stockholm at the moment, not least as the New Karolinska Hospital emerges. KI Science Park, together with Medeon and Sahlgrenska science parks form a cluster with important ecosystems for SME:s.
“The big pharmaceutical companies can benefit from and learn a lot from the smaller companies. The EU has identified growth especially in the small and medium-sized Life Science companies”, Märit Johansson points out.
Earlier this year, KI Science Park was selected as an interesting example of how knowledge exchange can take place. Interestingly, the European Commission highlighted KI Science Park as a good example of successful collaboration within Life Science, and a global model for future work in the field. This is something worth sharing with the rest of the science parks in Sweden and eventually – in the world.