“Life science is important on a personal level”

From the High Coast to the Government Offices. Jeanette Edblad is a native of Ångermanland, and since September last year, she has been Head and Coordinator of the Government’s Life Science Office.

At the turn of 2023, former Life Science Coordinator Jenni Nordborg left the Life Science Office at the Ministry of Climate and Industry for a position at Lif ‒ The Research-based Pharmaceutical Industry. For eight months, the position at the Government Offices was vacant, and there were doubts about the office’s future. However, at the end of June, it was announced that Jeanette Edblad, then Head of the Unit for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Ministry of Climate and Industry, would take over.

Jeanette Edblad has now been working at the life science office since September last year.

“There is plenty to get to grips with and a lot of knowledge to absorb. Thankfully, many people are interested in sharing their knowledge and want to collaborate with me and us at the office. It is an incredible privilege to have such a positive reception,” she says.

Jeanette Edblad is originally from Örnsköldsvik and has studied political science. She has worked at the Government Offices of Sweden since 2002, and held several leading roles over the years. Her work has included regional development policy, EU and international affairs, entrepreneurship and innovation, among other things.

The Life Science Office consists of administrators from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Climate and Industry and is located in the centre of the Government Offices.

“Life science policy encompasses so many areas. We are working to coordinate it internally, but at the same time, we keep an eye on the bigger picture. Our second task is to be a natural point of contact for external stakeholders and external contacts who have an interest in life science.”

One of Jeanette Edblad’s first duties at the office is to update the life science strategy together with other employees. The work began last December with a hearing at which ministers Ebba Busch (KD), Jakob Forssmed (KD) and Mats Persson (L) invited representatives from the sector.

“We asked the stakeholders to share their views on which areas are the most important and how they see the current objectives of the strategy.”

The national strategy for life science currently has eight priority areas, including the utilisation of health and care data for research and innovation, research and infrastructure, and collaboration structures.

“Collaboration is the most important thing for life science today! It always boils down to the fact that if we are to be a leading life science nation, we must work together,” says Jeanette Edblad.

During the hearing, held before Christmas, one of the topics discussed was data accessibility.

“Even though no entirely new issues were raised, it was interesting to see that we have a fairly broad consensus and that there is much to be addressed, partly for the sake of Sweden’s competitiveness and partly for the sake of healthcare and patients.”

The issues discussed during the meeting and all other input from different types of meetings, as well as input to the upcoming research and innovation bill, will be carried forward by the office when the national life science strategy is to be updated.

Life science is such a critical area for “Sweden AB” and the world

Jeanette Edblad recognises the strengths, as well as the challenges in Swedish life science.

“Our research is crucial and significant, but we must persist; we can’t rest on our laurels. We are also quite competent at collaborating, but we need to be better at cross-sectoral work, for example, taking advantage of an outstanding tech industry, which is a key part of future development, and our healthcare system is excellent.”

A typical day at the office involves anything from meetings with stakeholders in the sector to the relevant ministries and authorities.

“The machinery of the Government Offices ensures that we are kept busy, as issues large and small are constantly being discussed. We have the advantage of an ongoing discussion in the office between three ministries on matters relating to the area, and we can sometimes be relatively quick with our response. We try to contribute to realising the national strategy, which aims to make Sweden a leading life science nation.”

Which part of your job is the most fun?

“Life science is such a critical area for “Sweden AB” and the world, and it is important on a personal level. Human health and well-being are a big part of what life science is about. It is an area that moves and energises every day, even on the toughest days.”

Jeanette Edblad

Age: 52.

Family: Two daughters.

Latest book read: Hotet från Ryssland by Oskar Jonsson.

In her spare time: At the summer house on the High Coast, playing music or socialising with family and friends.

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