Södertälje Science Park (SScP) is a multi-level collaboration between academia, private and public sector to support sustainable manufacturing.
Despite domination of services sectors, manufacturing is important for Södertälje municipality, the Stockholm region and Sweden at large. Stockholm is the second largest manufacturing region in Sweden in terms of employees and counts for about 25% of national exports. In 2012, the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca closed R&D in Södertälje, affecting many well-educated employees. This was a severe struck for a municipality with a high level of unemployment. Collaboration between national, regional and local actors was initiated in 2014 to secure jobs and develop innovation ecosystems, including the establishment of a Södertälje Science Park (SScP).
SScP was inaugurated in 2018, focusing on sustainable production. The aim is to strengthen advanced manufacturing in Sweden, in line with the national Smart industry strategy. The science park is based in new campus facilities of KTH (Royal Institute of Technology). Main partners are Södertälje municipality, KTH and two large companies; AstraZeneca and Scania (heavy trucks). SScP offers a meeting place, makers space, seminars, coordination of application for funding and participates in projects, e.g.
- Frontrunners for Sustainable Innovations, ERDF project to improve collaboration between regional platforms on SME development
- DigiMission – a collaboration between innovation support actors to support industrial transformation in the larger Mälardalen
- Production Angles – to help SME from prototyping to production[
7 employees (FTE) and around 4 temporily employed (e.g. consutants, students and trainees). Total turover around €1.4 millions, including base funding (€0.6 millions) , external services (€0.3 millions) and project funding (€0.5 millions)
Evidence of success
Today, there is a close collaboration between academia, private and public sector on research, innovation and competence for sustainable production. In 2020, the yearly R&I conference Södertälje Science Week attracted 50 regional partners and 5000 participants. Sustainable production is now prioritized in S3 in Stockholm and in 2021 SScP was appointed the national node for Sustainable production by the National Innovation Agency Vinnova.
A challenge has been the varying possibilities for regional co-funding in cross-regional collaborations, The Stockholm region has a low level of funding available for regional development. State funding amounts to about €8 million per year and ERDF funding to about €30 millions for 2014-2020
Potential for learning or transfer
This is a good example of multi-level and cross-sector collaboration as a reaction to a threat of unemployment and loss of strategic competence in life science.
a) Collaboration between different sectors (academia, public sector and business) on advanced manufacturing and sustainable production
b) Collaboration between local city level (Södertälje), regional level (County Administrative Board, Region Stockholm, universities), cross-regional level (Mälardalen), and national level (authorities, government),
This has encouraged investments in world-leading manufacturing plants by two large pharmaceutical company, Astra Zeneca and Pfizer. Södertälje has received national attention and SScP became national node for Sustainable production in 2021.
But collaboration across sectors and levels is hard and takes time. There is a need for a coordinating resource, real commitment from partners and a S3 based on existing business logic.