There is a strong link between innovation, entrepreneurship and academic research in Stockholm – all in the spirit of Alfred Nobel. The Nobel Prize exerts a strong influence on Sweden.
High international expectations are placed on the scientific institutions and Swedish school-children are exposed at an early age to the implications of both research and the prize. Businesses benefit from an open, inquisitive, and research-oriented climate. Popular engagement also plays a role and the Nobel Prize is discussed at both the kitchen table and in workplaces. Fans even arrange Nobel luncheons, dinners and parties.
“Nobel enhances the reputation of Swedish research”
Professor Torbjörn Fagerström, Royal Swedish Academy of Science
Professor Torbjörn Fagerström is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He participates every year in the selection process for the Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry.
“The fact that the Nobel Prize is awarded in Stockholm is of great importance to the reputation and position of Swedish research. Nobel is one of Sweden’s strongest brands.
Both Karolinska Institutet and the Royal Academy of Sciences live up to the extremely high expectations of the research community regarding selection of Nobel Laureates. Seldom is there a lack of broad-based support for the scientists who receive the prize.
“The selection process engages a large number of people in the top tier of Swedish research, involving many international contacts. The researchers on the committees must stay up to date on what’s happening in the world. Many world-leading researchers congregate in Stockholm in December each year, and often honor Stockholm University and other institutions of higher learning with their presence.”
“The Nobel spirit is visible in the superb innovation climate in Stockholm”
Saeid Esmaeilzadeh, CEO Serendipity Innovations AB
Saeid Esmaeilzadeh is CEO of the Stockholm company Serendipity Innovations AB. The company has launched and run several companies, most of which are R&D-intensive in the fields of IT, telecommunications, life sciences and advanced materials.
The company’s primary formula for success is to reduce the gap between research and enterprise – more specifically, between researcher and entrepreneur. Precisely in the spirit of Alfred Nobel. Saeid describes the innovation climate in Stockholm as superb.
“The city has the critical mass we need to meet education and knowledge requirements and the machinery to generate new approaches. In part it is because of the business climate and the high standard of our universities, many of which rank among the world’s best, and also because of soft values, such as the ease of moving here with the family and feeling welcome in Swedish society.
“From an international perspective, we see that Stockholm excels at attracting the right talent, even though there’s always room for improvement. We’re just continuing the long tradition of building successful high-tech companies based on scientific research.”
Another example of the successful transformation of ideas from academia into entrepreneurship and enterprise is Karolinska Institutet’s innovation system. Their portfolio currently contains over one hundred patents, strongly contributing to the advancement of research in the life science field. Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.
“One day you could be the one who receives the prize"
Gunilla Lundgren author working in Rinkeby School, Stockholm
Swedish schoolchildren are aware of the fact that the Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm. Gunilla Lundgren is an author who has been working with a Nobel Prize project in the Rinkeby suburb since 1988. The aim of the project is to study and write about the Nobel Laureate in Literature. The author then visits the Rinkeby library and meets the children in conjunction with the award ceremony in December.
“One day perhaps one of you will receive the Nobel Prize.” That is how author Gunilla Lundgren introduces a project each year that she conducts along with artists, school librarians and teachers at Rinkeby School in Stockholm.
“Children from all over the world live in Rinkeby; they say that more than 100 languages are spoken there, so the children truly live in an international neighborhood. That’s why an international Literature Prize is a great inspiration for those of us who work or live in Rinkeby,” says Gunilla.
This is the 25nd consecutive year for the project. More than twenty of the Literature Laureates have visited Rinkeby library in connection with the award ceremony, where they met the children, teachers and other residents of the suburb and even experience a Swedish Lucia procession.
Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian writer who won the prize in 2010 wrote about his experiences in Stockholm in an article published in the Spanish newspaper El País. He explains that his visit to the students in Rinkeby and their commitment warmed his heart most during the Nobel festivities.
Many schools create projects based on the Nobel theme, some arranges their own Nobel dinners in the school lunch room. The Nobel museum in Stockholm offer teachers training in what this year’s Nobel Laureates have done, as well as the important discoveries that culminated in a prize.
Find out more about the Rinkeby school in The Nobel Prize: Facts and stories
“Nobel is a glamorous and educational reason to party”
Annette Schilling, dentist and a Nobel fan
The strong local involvement in all things Nobel can clearly be seen on Nobel Day, 10 December, when people hold Nobel luncheons, dinners and parties based on the theme. One of them is Annette Schilling, a 34-year-old dentist who arranges a Nobel party every year.
Purists have even acquired the lavish Nobel dinner service, the same one used at the official party, and prepare the sophisticated menu composed by the most renowned chefs in Sweden.
“We usually invite about 20 people, both children and adults. Each person is assigned a Nobel Laureate to study and present a lecture explaining why he or she received the prize. It’s fun, glamorous and educational. We learn new things, share knowledge with the children. It's our way of showing that we honor science and knowledge,”
For more information:
Ann-Charlotte Jönsson, PR Manager, Stockholm Business Region
Stockholm Business Region, with its subsidiaries Stockholm Business Region Development and Stockholm Visitors Board, is the official investment and tourism promotion agency for the Stockholm region. Stockholm is one of Europe’s most dynamic sustainable regions. Stockholm Business Region is fully owned by the City of Stockholm. Our common brand is Stockholm – The Capital of Scandinavia.