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Photo: Jan Lipka, Image Bank Sweden.

A region committed to innovation

A region committed to innovation

With increasing global competition for skills, capital and investment, Stockholm is working effectively to maintain its competitiveness. Already a European hub for research and innovation, the region now aims to become the world's most innovation-driven economy by 2025.

The Stockholm region is ranked as the most knowledge-intensive region outside the US and is widely recognized as one of the most innovative regions in the world. However, this is no guarantee of future success. Therefore, the region has set ambitious goals, one of which is to move from its current position of strength to become the world's most innovation-driven economy by 2025.

The position as the most innovation-driven economy is defined by:

  • Being globally attractive to companies and individuals and being one of the world's most advanced markets, with new ideas and trend-setting as key characteristics.
  • Leading the way by taking responsibility for building a long-term sustainable and economically stable society and actively contributing to solving global problems.
  • Being creative, having innovative ideas and creating an open climate where such ideas can flourish.
  • Being open and multicultural - an open stage for different lifestyles and ways of living and thinking.

Long history of entrepreneurship

Stockholm has always promoted innovation and entrepreneurship, and its impressive start-up scene has received much international attention. The region has a leading position in several areas, such as environmental technologies and life sciences, and also has a high level of expertise in nanotechnology, with applications in a variety of research areas - from medicine to sustainable energy.

There are several factors that can explain why Stockholm has reached its leading position. Since the domestic market is relatively small, it has become natural for companies to think globally from the get-go. Other important factors are the country's social stability and access to government support, as well as a high degree of gender equality.

Major investments in R&D

The Swedish government invests heavily in education and more than 3% of Sweden's GDP is spent on research and development (R&D). The business sector contributes around 70% of Swedish research and is financed by private companies such as ABB, Ericsson, Sandvik and the Volvo Group. The remaining 30% of research is publicly funded.

Research at universities also plays a key role in promoting innovation, which contributes to economic growth. Public funding for research generally amounts to around 0.8% of GDP, one of the highest levels in the world.

Government funding for research and postgraduate education takes place in several different ways:

  • Through direct government grants.
  • Through external financiers such as government agencies and research councils.
  • Through municipalities, county councils and public research foundations.

Vinnova plays a very important role in Swedish research. The innovation agency promotes and funds research projects in a wide range of areas, from health and transport to industrial materials and smart cities.

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