AstraZeneca in Gothenburg works proactively with Göteborg & Co to recruit large, international medical congresses to Gothenburg. This unique partnership began a couple of years ago and has already generated good results. "Congresses boost Gothenburg's image as a regional centre for research and help to attract the skills that will continue building excellence," says Matti Ahlqvist, Site Director at AstraZeneca.
At AstraZeneca's research centre in Mölndal, south of Gothenburg, only about 50 per cent of newly recruited researchers come from Sweden. The other half come from abroad, and their skills are in demand in many parts of the world. This is one reason why it is so important that the Gothenburg region remains competitive.
"People don't just come here to work for us, but also because Gothenburg is a place where they want to live. The city's image is therefore important to us, and international congresses are one way to showcase the region and increase the exchange of knowledge," says Matti Ahlqvist.
In 2016, plans were drawn up to enable AstraZeneca and the City of Gothenburg to work together to attract international medical congresses. A close partnership was established, together with Gothenburg Convention Bureau at Göteborg & Co, with the aim of identifying potential congresses.
This is a long-term process. Convincing an international organiser to hold a congress in Gothenburg can take several years. But the partnership has already delivered results, not just by attracting new congresses.
"The way we work together creates added value within our organisations. It motivates colleagues, raises the scientific profile of Gothenburg and the surrounding region, and gives us a unique appeal. It also underlines the reason why AstraZeneca chose this region."
Meetings are vitally important for Gothenburg, and in 2018 the municipal council set Göteborg & Co the task of developing a strategic plan to support city-wide efforts to attract scientific congresses. The aim is to further enhance Gothenburg's reputation as a city for meetings and create better opportunities for local research, entrepreneurship and sustainable growth.
The plan was agreed last autumn and one of the factors for success that was identified is closer collaboration with business and academia. Several of the global companies in the region have therefore been involved in the process of identifying and attracting meetings.
AstraZeneca has made an exceptional contribution to this process. This may be linked to the fact that the company has also developed innovative new ways of working at its research facility, including the widely publicised BioVentureHub. But there are also other advantages to hosting more medical meetings in Gothenburg
"As well as promoting the image of Gothenburg as a high-tech region, bringing people together like this encourages innovation. Our experts get to meet other experts and we have an opportunity to showcase our business in a way that would not be possible otherwise."
Collaboration with Göteborg & Co has been rewarding for everyone involved, says Matti Ahlqvist – for the city, the region and the company.
"There are no downsides at all. There is broad support from Gothenburg to promote the hospitality industry in the region – and for us to contribute to the region's scientific status and our company's role in growth and development. It's a clear win-win for us and the city.
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