MultiHelix Builds Alliances for Life Sciences
The triple helix, comprising enterprise, academia and public sector, is still the norm when stakeholders join forces in cluster activities. However, according to Ursula Hultkvist Bengtsson, CEO and Founder of MultiHelix AB, there’s a need to address today’s societal challenges in a yet wider scope. Therefore, MultiHelix also invites patients’ organisations, clinics, funding systems, civil communities, NGOs and consumer organisations as members.
”To come up with sustainable solutions to the complex issues faced by society we need to probe both deeper and wider. MultiHelix is a consultancy company working in the intersection of life science, ICT and food tech. As an organisation, we’re neutral and independent and value all our members equally high. Everyone that’s joined us really wants to make a difference,” she says, proudly.
Think Tank with 50 Members
MultiHelix’s mission is to create value for people's health and well-being by utilising knowledge for sustainable growth and welfare. Started in the fall of 2016, the young organisation has so far developed two branches: the MultiHelix Think Tank (MTT) and the Twin's International MultiHelix (TIM). Science Skills, an already existing organisation, is since 2016 also managed by MultiHelix.
”MTT stands for a cross sectorial collaboration opposite to a world of silos and slim organisations who are becoming more and more focused on single questions, losing track of the helicopter perspective,” Ursula Hultkvist Bengtsson comments.
In contrast, the 50 members of the organisation’s think tank share a common vision, based on the will to strengthen life science and related sectors, regionally as well as nationally and internationally.
”We work as critical friends to sharpen and improve the ideas of the think tank’s members, each of which has a proven qualified track record in their area of expertise. Together we form new ideas and projects which will be shared among relevant stakeholders and the community at large.”
MTT forms theme groups around ideas that the members want to investigate further, and so far one of these ideas has been launched as a project. It’s called Health for Preschool and is located at a preschool in Örkelljunga municipality in the county of Skåne. Apart from providing physical activities and healthy meals, the preschool also focuses on facilitating good development independent of each child's capacity.
”It, for instance, facilitates for children with disabilities or who have recently arrived to Sweden as immigrants. The preschool also incorporates new technology, such as Internet of Things, in the daily activities. All with the aim of establishing a healthy lifestyle at a very early age,” says Ursula Hultkvist Bengtsson.
Strong International Ties
MultiHelix does not confine itself to collaboration between Swedish actors, but, again with the helicopter perspective in mind, reaches out to other regions through their international secretariat called the Twin's International MultiHelix or TIM for short. It’s a joint initiative between the four life science clusters of LifeTechValley Limburg in Belgium; Sherbrooke Innopole in Canada; Life Science Hub Wales in the UK and Medicon Village in Lund.
”We also have a cluster in Slovenia about to join TIM. It’s a country that currently has a very strong drive for developing their life science sector.”
The clusters are all part of an application for an EU project for faster cluster growth and international development. TIM has also received an unexpectedly lot of help from the embassies.
”To be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect from an embassy, but for us they’ve been real door-openers. That goes for both the respective embassies in Stockholm as well as for the Swedish embassies abroad,” says Ursula Hultkvist Bengtsson with a smile.
A trade delegation to Sherbrooke Innopole in Canada is planned for October and will focus on active and healthy ageing, while a delegation from Wales wants to visit Skåne and learn from the Health for preschool project in Örkelljunga.
”Life Science Hub Wales, in turn, has found an interesting best-practice solution for communication between academia and clinics that speeds up the implementation of new technology in the healthcare sector. A process that in Sweden takes 17 years(!) on average, which is far too slow if you ask me.”
Secures High Competence
On the home front, MultiHelix is also engaged in securing the region’s high competence level in the fields of life science and connected sectors, now and for the future.
”It’s something we do together with the Swedish Ministry for Higher Education and Research, Arbetsförmedlingen, labour unions and companies within the competence platform called Science Skills,” says Ursula Hultkvist Bengtsson, who concludes by remarking that MultiHelix wants to find the inspirers and enthusiasts out there. So, if you’re active in any of their fields you’re always welcome to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read more at www.multihelix.se.