The Swedish Life Science Office: “We lost in both coordination and manpower”

Since the turn of the year, the Swedish government’s life science office has operated at a lower capacity. Life Science Sweden has spoken to Pontus Holm, Departmental Secretary at the office, about the ongoing work.

Since Jenni Nordborg left her position as National Coordinator early this year, concerns have been raised about the government’s life science office, as previously reported by Life Science Sweden. In an interview in Dagens Nyheter in late May, the Minister of Education Mats Persson (L) commented on the issue and announced that the life science office would remain and that more investment would be made in life science. However, a new national coordinator has not yet been appointed.

Despite this situation, the office has proceeded with its activities.

“At present, the focus is on ending Sweden’s EU presidency in a good way. We are now preparing for a life science conference to be held on 26-27 June,” says Pontus Holm.

However, the office has been operating at a lower capacity since Jenni Nordborg left her position, and a number of projects have been put on hold, says Pontus Holm.

“We lost in both coordination and manpower, and this happened to coincide with the EU Presidency, which has received the greatest focus. For example, we have not had a chance to start working on an updated life science strategy during this six-month period. Some things have been put on hold and delayed.”

Once the EU presidency is over, the office’s activities will be reviewed.

“The life science strategy is still the foundation for everything we do, and we always try to work towards achieving the strategic goals. We will most likely start working on an updated version of the strategy later this autumn.”

However, according to Pontus Holm, it will become clearer which objectives will be prioritised in the strategy once the work at the office has been established, which is also on the agenda this autumn. The Government Offices and the three ministries included in the office are in the process of developing a plan.

“We will review the approach to our own work, human resources, the future mandate and the tasks of the life science office,” he says and continues:

“The government has sent very clear signals that we’re not going to lower the general level of ambition for life science work in Sweden.”

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