In 2014, Bearing carried out a feasibility study for Regionförbundet Uppsala Län in Sweden for the development of Campus Ultuna. Located outside of Uppsala, the campus is in a region which is known as a business and research hub for life sciences.
Ultuna is the location of the headquarters and the main site of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and is also the location for a growing research and innovation environment within the green industry.
During the past 15 years, there has been a major reorganisation of the University of Agricultural sciences, with the intention to focus research on strategically important areas and to create strong innovation environments.
One part of the reorganisation was to merge the various parts of the University into one geographically concentrated campus. Through the reorganisation, more than 70,000 square meters of office space have been vacated and is now available for other organisations and businesses.
Uppsala Through History
Long before Christianity came to Sweden, Uppsala was the religious centre of the then embryonic Swedish state. The Old Uppsala area was an important location for worship of the Viking gods, as many archaeological findings tell us.
Due to its historical importance the first University in the Nordics was founded in Uppsala in 1477. With the University in place the foundation was laid for future growth, and from there the city has developed, initially slowly but nowadays faster and faster, forming together with nearby Stockholm the main growth engine area of Sweden.
The Uppsala University, the Academic Hospital (with roots from 1708) and the specialised University of Agricultural Sciences (founded 1977) have all contributed into making Uppsala a city of knowledge and excellence.
In today’s world, success is built on knowledge and innovation and the main producer of knowledge is Academia. With two Universities, Uppsala has the main components for future growth in place and with support from the municipality and the Regional Development Agency in collaboration with businesses and civil society, the foundations are laid for a prospering economy, where innovation focused companies can start, grow and thrive.
Innovation is not new to Uppsala. Already in 1943 the research focused pharmaceutical company Pharmacia initiated a collaboration with chemists at Uppsala University and in 1951 Pharmacia also moved manufacturing to Uppsala in order to be closer to its University partner. From there on Pharmacia grew to a world leading corporation and although it was sold to new owners in the United States in 1995, the legacy lives on in Uppsala.
Will it be possible to recruit new innovation focused startups and developing companies to Campus Ultuna, just as Pharmacia once moved there from Stockholm? How can Campus Ultuna become a dynamic incubator attracting not only existing companies but also attracting entrepreneurs and facilitate the launch of new companies, building primarily on research from the Agricultural University? These are questions the feasibility study set out to answer.
The Feasibility Study
The approach behind the feasibility study was to undertake a methodological and structured investigation, including mapping of existing businesses, one-on-one stakeholder interviews in the local Ultuna area, and an analysis of similar best practices in the external world.
The goal of this approach was to establish the unique assets and requirements for profiling and developing the Ultuna Campus into an internationally leading research and innovation environment within the green industry.
The study also explains the theoretical framework behind the Innovative Urban Area concept, and how it can be adapted for Campus Ultuna’s plans, as well as setting out the recommendations and the road ahead for Ultuna with short, medium and long term actions.
This feasibility study was therefore structured and undertaken in accordance with four key areas:
The Internal World: Identification and engagement of stakeholders
The External World: benchmarking
Analysis and Recommendations for the future steps
Based on the four areas, the feasibility study was structured as an analysis of the current conditions of Campus Ultuna, looking at the long-term potential, including the R & I environment for green industries. The conclusion and outcomes of our research and analysis will enable a strengthening of the following areas of development of the Campus:
Clear and strong arguments for the continued development of Campus Ultuna
Clarity on the niche areas with the highest potential
A confident strategic fit at national and international level
Optimization of the cooperation between industry, academia, government and civil society
Strategy, tactics and milestones for further R & I-funded programs
In general, a feasibility study in this context is a preparatory study with the following purposes:
To find out if the assets, actors and shared vision exists or can be mobilized, to base a regional development project on
To clarify the vision of the potential project at a high level
To clarify which stakeholders are to be involved in the following phases of the project: initiation, project planning and project implementation
The feasibility should be followed by the development of an integrated project where the unique differentiation (sweet spot) of the Ultuna Campus place brand is emphasised through enhanced awareness of the significant research and innovation at the core.
By including and involving developments throughout all four quadrants of the Quad Helix model, within Government the Academic sector, Civil Society and the Business sector, the campus can establish a strong foundation for development.