When Sony Mobile announced its cutbacks in Lund, there was a sense of déjà vu. It is not long since AstraZeneca pulled out of Lund. In 2011, there were 900 people employed there. This time it is the same number again. AstraZeneca became Medicon Village, and the development of this venture has been very rapid. There are already over 525 people working at Medicon Village.
In spring 2013 LU’s cancer researchers will also be moving in. There are expected to be 900 people working at Medicon Village by the end of 2013. This shows a great power of initiative and desire to develop something new. We must not forget Mats Pålsson’s donation of SEK 100 million which made it possible. We note that an equivalent cutback in Södertälje prompted the Government to contribute with a grant of SEK 100 million in conjunction with the research and innovation bill. We have not seen any such state funding here.
We are now facing a similar challenge: safeguarding ICT expertise in business and higher education. The telecommunications industry has been very important to LTH and LTH has been important for the ICT sector in the region. We can point to a long list of companies besides Sony Mobile: Ericsson, ST Ericsson, Teliasonera, Axis, Qlictech, Scalado, etc. etc.
At LTH we would be happy to host some form of centre of excellence for mobile communications that would display our cutting-edge research. In this way, expertise could be further developed in interaction with business. This would enable companies to meet researchers and collaborate in order to be at the forefront in both basic and applied research. Our link with the regional innovation system has already proved successful.
Can we hope for a repeat of Medicon Village – a “Mobile Village”? We are now awaiting a new Mats Pålsson and it would not be a bad idea if the Government were to discover that there is a very active region in the south of the country.
Our academic expertise was demonstrated recently when the Swedish Research Council announced the recipients of its project grants. The various sections of our strategic research area ELIIT were particularly successful. Four departments – Automatic Control, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Electrical and Information Technology – obtained very large grants. Here is a lot of expertise on which we can build and which can be used to “understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition”, to quote the university strategic plan. LTH is willing and able to act as a motor in this process.
ANDERS AXELSSON – DEAN OF LTH