Sön 14 aug / År 40 / Nr 3 2022

Making Future in Life Science with AFRY – wrapped in the colour Green

AFRY, formerly ÅF, is a Swedish engineering and design company with operations in energy, industry and infrastructure. The company was formed in 2019 after merging with Finnish Pöyry, and is headquartered in Solna, Sweden.

Jette Bjerrum, Head of Business Unit Øresund, covering AFRY Life Science in Denmark and south Sweden

This is an interview with Jette Bjerrum, Head of Business Unit Øresund, covering AFRY Life Science in Denmark and the Southern part of Sweden. The topic is how AFRY builds entire societies.

How do you go about it – building entire societies?

“AFRY has a clear mission to contribute to the green transition towards a more sustainable society. We regard Future Cities as one the focus points of our green ambitions and critical in order to succeed with such a mission. This is also where we see that we can contribute on a larger scale with AFRY’s deeply rooted multidisciplinary expertise. Cities are important because this is where the young people work and live, where there is access to the stakeholders of the knowledge ecosystems, talents, education hubs and where our customers are present as well.

In order to better understand how AFRY can contribute to the design and evolvement of such city structures, we carried out a survey among young people in seven European countries. Examples of such actions supports AFRY’s mission to make sure that we incorporate the wishes, concerns and needs of the generation to come and their contribution of making future.”

How does it incorp life science in particular?

“The world’s population is growing every year with an increasing need for safe, affordable and effective healthcare solutions. This is also why AFRY is committed and contributes to the UN's sustainable development goal (SDG) 3 to ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for everyone at all ages.

If we believe that cities are the drivers of change, we commit ourselves to actively interconnect with the pharma life science, innovation and education ecosystems, which again promotes the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and early detection of severe diseases such diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, brain disorders etc.

We saw how the pandemic affected urban living, and we also saw the need to react quickly and collectively to ensure the health and safety of the population. We have to make sure that the cities and the stakeholders can uphold quality of life for its citizens, and this will impact how we design build and maintain our future healthcare hubs as well.

For AFRY, there is a natural connection between urban city design, ecosystem structures and having a local presence within the life science space. This is where we can combine our many areas of expertise while making sure that we are close to the customers and the people that we work with.”

What are you working on right now in the Medicon Valley-region?

“Our Life Science presence in the Medicon Valley-region consists of three local offices in Malmø, Herlev outside Copenhagen and Kalundborg where we have been present for almost 20 years. Our 100 colleagues are represented across the three hubs with specialised engineers, highly skilled technicians, digital/software/AI specialists, QA RA specialists etc.

Our day-to-day work out of the region is part of AFRY’s journey to form the future life of people. We and our colleagues work with hospital design, smart equipment solutions and setting up new production lines. Our work helps our customers with quicker time to market solutions and helps them reduce waste from the production units in smart and safe ways.

The area of digitalisation is very important to AFRY and indeed also high on the agenda in our Medicon Valley-hubs. For example, we work with Real Digital Twins (RDT), where we set up digital simulation model of production lines, before they are released. RDT has an added value to it by also minimising negative impact on the environment, reducing waste from the overall cycle set-up and enabling quicker time to market for our customers.

From an organisational point of view, the Medicon Valley-region and its stakeholder set-up helps promoting and securing access to talents who also work and travel cross-border. For us, this is especially important, and we appreciate the work that Medicon Valley has done to secure a framework to ensure easy commute between Denmark and Sweden.

There is no doubt that the region plays an important part in the Scandinavian Life Science narrative, and I also strongly believe that we should do more to profile the hubs in Medicon Valley Area, Uppsala and Stockholm. Not as overlapping clusters, but instead focus on how to combine local research and commercial activities with the attraction of foreign investments, talents and technologies. We should do this to increase the commercialisation of the new solutions, reduce the time to market and make the best use of the resources at hand.”