What is attracting FDI to Lund, and how is the city making itself more attractive?
For starters, we have a tremendous resource with Lund University which is the largest and highest-ranking university in Sweden, and the most international too. We’ve long had a close collaboration with the university. Since I’ve been in office we’ve strengthened that connection even further. Having a top university draws attention and draws a lot of the international community to the city. We also work very closely in collaboration with the big community of international companies and science facilities. Lund is very much a city of science, knowledge and innovation. Innovations like the Global System for Mobile Communication technology, bluetooth technology, the first computer printer are all innovations from the city of Lund. What we have strengthened in the past couple of years has been the infrastructure, both the fiscal one and the digital one. That’s why we ranked number 1 in fDi Magazine’s connectivity award.
In which sectors are you looking to attract new FDI?
What the cities provide in Sweden is the welfare system: all the schooling and the care of the elderly and everything (which has been partially privatised). So we try to focus on those, which is the backbone of our responsibilities, and while doing that we can be good at attracting companies.
Are there exciting FDI projects on the horizon?
What we are working on very closely now is the MAX IV Laboratory – the best, next-generation synchrotron radiation facility in the world – which was inaugurated two years ago. And now we are building the European Spallation Source, the largest European joint investment in science infrastructure in almost 40 years, which will be finished in about two years. These two science facilities actually provide the best possible place on the planet for material science and the development of new materials, everything from a molecule in medicine to new methods. So that’s very strong focus for us. In two years we will have the best facilities in the world for inventing and researching new materials. Now we have to get ready for that. That’s why we are planning ahead for facilities for housing, international schools and so on, to make the most of that investment.
What is Lund’s main challenge regarding attracting FDI?
The main challenge is to draw international attention and to get focus for what we are doing. The competition is quite hard. There are so many attractive places and cities in Europe. So I would say the hardest part is, even if you are great at what you do, it’s still a competition for attention and it important to reach out to investors. So you also have to market yourself well, on top of being good at what you do.