Stockholm builds science city of the future

April 15, 2002

Brussels, 12 April 2002

Kista Science Park, which represents Stockholm in the European Commission's PAXIS scheme, is one of the world's leading high-tech centres. Now the City of Stockholm has joined forces with local government, private enterprises and Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) to turn Kista into a 'science city' complete with housing, education and recreation facilities.

In July 2000, Wired magazine ranked Kista Science Park as number two in the world's high-tech clusters, second only to Silicon Valley in the USA. Since its establishment in 1976, the park has been nurtured with funding from big name industry such as mobile phone giant Ericsson and computing heavyweight IBM. In 1988, the park was expanded to bring together research institutes and companies in one physical environment. Following rapid growth in the 1990s, Kista is today at the leading edge of research and development for wireless communications and other IT (information technology) services.

In early 2000, a plan was launched to take Kista's success one stage further by developing a 'science city' where researchers, students and business people can work, live and enjoy all the comforts of an urban community including shopping, trips to the cinema and dining out.

The plans include the construction of a new highway, the building of new streets and accommodation, two cross-town bus lines and the transformation of the town centre to include a shopping centre, multiplex cinema, corporate suites and offices for the 55,000 new work places the city is expected to attract.

KTH President Anders Flodström, speaking in Inside Kista magazine, said that he envisaged Kista Science City as 'an inner city with no parking lots or roads, where the universities, the city and the companies meet seamlessly. An inner city where students, residents, researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers, business people - yes, everyone a city needs - work and spend their free time.'

A wireless broadband network covering all of Kista Science City is currently under construction. The network, the largest of its kind in Sweden, is being built by students from Kista's IT University. It is hoped that the network will give mobile Internet companies a competitive advantage by enabling them to carry out research and development on a live network.

The IT University, a joint initiative of KTH and Stockholm University, is also the focus of a new initiative to boost the number of high-tech companies created at Kista to double its current rate within two years. The new support system - Kista Innovation and Growth - aims to provide a variety of support services and facilities to nurture the creation of new high-tech enterprises. The initiative will bring together venture capitalists, patent agencies and other service providers in one physical environment to provide all that high-tech start-ups need to become viable businesses with international prospects.

Project manager Pär Hedberg says that while the biggest source of new high-tech businesses is likely to be existing companies at Kista, 'we should not underestimate the potential from the institutions and the IT University, particularly for more innovative commercialisation.' A new venture is being created specifically to tap into this potential - the Kista Business Lab. Joakim Nilsson, who is heading up the project, described the scheme as a 'pre-incubator' which will provide early stage development and testing for ideas from students and researchers at the IT University.

Kista Science Park represents Stockholm in the PAXIS (Pilot action of excellence on innovative start-ups) Spring network, which also includes Cambridge, Madrid, and Stuttgart. The network's members, which have been selected as 'regions of excellence' by the European Commission for their economic strength, aim to exchange knowledge and best practice to boost entrepreneurship and innovation.

For further information about Kista Science Park, please consult the following web address: http://www.kista.com

For further information on courses and research at Kista's IT University, please consult the following web address: http://www.studera.it.kth.se

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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