Sweden’s national life sciences strategy and COVID-19

Published

Sweden’s national life sciences strategy was launched in late December 2019 to strengthen the long-term competitiveness of Sweden as a life sciences nation.

Life sciences contribute to improving health and quality of life of the population, ensuring economic prosperity, advancing the country as a leading knowledge nation and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Data-driven innovative solutions and scientific advances will have a fundamental impact on developments in prevention, diagnostics, treatment, monitoring, habilitation and rehabilitation, paving the way for personalised care – or precision medicine.

Sweden’s research and innovation is of the highest international standard, and the life sciences industry is one of the nation’s basic industries. However, international competition is intensifying. To harness the potential in the sector, a national life sciences strategy – setting out clear objectives and outlining a strategic and integrated approach –  was seen as essential. Cross-sectoral collaboration between national, regional and local levels was regarded as a particularly important factor for regional responsibility for health care planning and delivery, and for coordinating and facilitating regional development.

Based on input from sector stakeholders, the Government outlined objectives in eight priority areas in which change was considered particularly important:

  1. Structures for collaboration
  2. Unlocking the potential of health data for use in research and innovation
  3. Responsible, secure and ethical policy development
  4. Integration of research and innovation into care delivery
  5. Assistive technologies for increased independence, participation and health
  6. Research and infrastructure
  7. Skills supply, talent attraction and lifelong learning
  8. International attractiveness and competitiveness

The COVID-19 pandemic, which struck shortly after the launch of Sweden’s national life sciences strategy, has demonstrated the importance of life sciences and cross-sectoral collaboration in crisis management and societal resilience. The COVID-19 experience has also provided additional support for the relevance and timeliness of the strategy’s eight priority areas.

The Government is firmly committed to ensuring that Sweden is an attractive investment destination in a global, digital and knowledge-based world by offering an environment that includes world-leading universities, an innovative and high-quality health care system and government agencies mandated to contribute to policy development and systemic innovation. The Life Sciences Office at the Government Offices connects the Government and sector stakeholders; these include the cross-sectoral health and life sciences innovation partnership programme and the health and life sciences partnership group, which advises the Life Sciences Office and the innovation partnership programme.