She boosts competence, capabilities and capacity
Ulrika Ågren

With new technology trends and digital transformation driving fresh opportunities and new challenges in life science and healthtech, the competition for talent is fierce. Sahlgrenska Science Park is actively helping emerging healthtech companies to connect with the right people with the right skills to support their growth journeys so they can engineer a healthier future for us all.

Publish date: 2022-05-06 Text: 
Jamie Smith

A recent Health Innovation West report emphasised that “the ability to attract, recruit and retain talent and necessary expertise is of utmost importance to attract life science companies and support growth.”

In particular, software & AI engineers, entrepreneurs and quality/regulatory experts are in high demand, yet short supply, to help companies harness increasingly powerful technologies, rethink old ways of doing things and navigate transitions to new regulations, such as the EU’s Medical Device Regulation (MDR)).

Building on its current offering, which is based on helping companies increase their chances of success by facilitating connections with innovators, investors, healthcare professionals and relevant international contacts, Sahlgrenska Science Park has recognised the growing need to connect companies with new competence, capabilities and capacity.

Ulrika Ågren, business advisor at Sahlgrenska Science Park, has been given the task to develop plans to help companies tap into new talent streams and access relevant new skills.

Ulrika explains, “2022 will be an explorative year when we double down on the companies’ needs and start figuring out how we can solve them. However, there is no doubt in my mind that moving forward we will need to work closer together within healthcare, with academia and across industries, to ensure integrated and seamless pathways and a thriving ecosystem that attract, recruit, develop and retain relevant and smart people to this region.”

Sahlgrenska Science Park is leveraging existing skills-focused resources and seeking collaborations with its founding partners, such as Business Region Gothenburg, Chalmers and Gothenburg University and other organisations. Ulrika Ågren continues, “We are already collaborating with Jobbsprånget and Jobylon, and offering knowledge boosting seminars to our Park Community companies to connect people with the latest updates and perspectives on areas such as logistics, human resources and quality/regulatory assurance.”

Another example of building relevant skills and competencies are the open innovation initiatives Sahlgrenska Science Park is leading, such as the Vinnova-financed, Swedish Medical Language Datalab project, which is establishing processes to train AI models on medical text (even patient records) leading to the development of healthcare decision support systems. Moreover, Project Legal Value Chain, financed by MedTech4Health (Vinnova) and Region Västra Götaland (VGR), and including Ulf Petrusson and Christoffer Hermansson from the Gothenburg University, is mapping regulatory requirements for medtech innovation projects. The project is developing checklists and educational material for startups, researchers in academia and healthcare, as well as students. Project Legal Value Chain aims to make it easier for medical device innovators to bring their innovations into the healthcare sector with necessary regulatory and quality knowledge onboard from the start, and for innovation support players to better select and coach the most viable healthtech projects.

Ulrika Ågren concludes, “When it comes to developing healthcare competence and skills in this region, we want to give companies more opportunities, options and insights to embrace and harness new technologies, new ideas and the changing regulatory healthcare landscape. If we can all work together on this, we will all benefit from having more talented, knowledgeable and skilful people coming to, staying in and developing this region.”


Name: Ulrika Ågren

Current role: Business Advisor Regulatory Compliance & IP at Sahlgrenska Science Park

Previous roles: Global IP Director and Global Patent Manager at Mölnlycke Health Care; Physiotherapy student; Innovation Consultant at Pollen; IP Manager at Cellartis.

Interests: Compliant entrepreneurialism. Most sports, especially mountain biking, skiing and kids’ handball.

Motivation: Our future health depends on us fixing our current competence gaps.