Nordic Innovation Centre Supports New ScanBalt Project
Communication in ScanBalt BioRegion
The individual European bioregions are too small to be globally competitive, so actors in the Nordic countries, Balticum, Poland, Northern part of Germany and North western Russia have created the first meta-bioregion, ScanBalt BioRegion. The ScanBalt BioRegion has 11 countries and 85 million people, more than 60 universities and 870 life science/biotech companies. The non profit member association ScanBalt – initiated 2001 with support from Nordic Innovation Centre – promotes the development of ScanBalt BioRegion as a globally competitive metaregion. ScanBalt encompasses regional and national life science networks between companies, universities, hospitals, tech transfer organisations and public authorities.
Currently 13 regional or national networks are members of ScanBalt: BioCon Valley, BioMobil, BioInn, BioForum Oulu, Biomedico Forum, BioTEAM South, BioTop Berlin, BioTurku, Estonian Biotechnology Association, MedCoast Scandinavia, Medicon Valley Academy, Norgenta, Öresund Science Region.. In addition more than 35 individual companies, universities, hospitals, tech transfer organisations, science parks, regional development agencies are members. Approximately 500 companies are through the regional/national networks members of ScanBalt.
Since 2003 ScanBalt has initiated and/or facilitated 5 thematic projects inside agro biotech, marine biotechnology, stem cell research, intellectual property management and clinical research. Nordic Innovation Centre or NordForsk have granted pilot project funding to the projects, which then have been able to attract co-funding from for example EU FP 6 or are in the pipeline to do so. ScanBalt acts as an umbrella and incubator for the projects coordinated by regional actors throughout ScanBalt BioRegion.
ScanBalt has also initiated and facilitated multi-partner metaregional infra structure projects: ScanBalt Campus, a cross sectoral umbrella or platform for education, research and tech transfer co-financed by EU Interreg lllB; ScanBalt CompetenceRegion, one of the most extensive competency mapping projects to take place in Northern Europe creating identity to ScanBalt BioRegion co-financed by EU FP 6; Boosting Baltic FP 6 which improves the competitiviness of ScanBalt BioRegion in EU framework programmes co-financed by EU FP6.
ScanBalt, and the formation of ScanBalt BioRegion, is regarded as a novel inovative model case on how to organize life sciences at the European level, and furthermore, the most succesful (see for example Nature Biotechnology, vol 23, no 6, June 2005). ScanBalt also attracts strong interest from the Asian countries, the US and New Zealand. ScanBalt assists to strengthen ScanBalt BioRegion in the EU and globally. On a larger scale many regard the ScanBalt BioRegion and ScanBalt as a model of how to organise the entire Baltic Sea Region. ScanBalt takes part in this work through the Baltic Sea 2010-Initiative.
In order to develop the interactions between the stakeholders – and between the stakeholders and ScanBalt – increased emphasis on the ability to communicate in a precise, transparent, quick, relevant and reliable way both externally and internally is necessary. The complexity of ScanBalt BioRegion makes communication a critical issue for the continued success.
Externally there is a need to strengthen ScanBalt as a one-stop-entry to ScanBalt BioRegion, especially emphasising results from various projects and increase the transparancy of ScanBalt BioRegion and its competencies in order to attract foreign investors together with human and industrial resources.
Internally is a need to work systematically on how to organize very large flows of information’s so the actors in ScanBalt BioRegion optimize coordination, exploit synergies to the maximum of benefits and uncover new ideas in the process, while further developing ScanBalt as a successful highly decentralized and bottom up based member association.
Peter Frank, General Secretary, ScanBalt,
Göteborg University, www.gu.se
Novo Nordisk, www.novonordisk.com
MedCoast Scandinavia, www.medcoast.org
Estonian Biotechnology Association, www.biotech.ee
BioCon Valley, www.bcv.org
This project was made possible by support
from the Nordic Innovation Centre.