The region in brief
More than 1.3 million people live in Region Skåne (ca 120 p/km2, 11,027 km2). A considerable increase in population took place during 2015 due to asylum seekers.
The region’s major cities are Malmö (population 300,000), Helsingborg, Lund and Kristianstad. Important ports (container, ro-ro, passenger, cruising) are Copenhagen Malmö Port, Trelleborg and Ystad. Further ports are Åhus and Landskrona (bulk). Skåne has 33 municipalities, 16 of which lie along the 650 km long coast.
While Skåne’s share of the Swedish population has increased since the 1980s, its share of national GDP however, has not followed this curve (current GDP around € 450 billion, ca. € 34,000 per capita). At 75 %, the region’s employment rate is the lowest in Sweden and many people are not included in the labour market.
Some 14 % of the working population in Skåne are included in the agriculture/ forestry/ fishery sectors, a further 13 % in industry and 73 % in the services sector.
Skåne has experienced strong growth in the field of services for distribution due to the region’s role as a transit region. A concentration of R&D intensive companies linked to pharmaceuticals and ICT has also led to growth for production related services.
The manufacturing industry (61,000 employees, 20 % of GDP in Skåne) contributes to many jobs in the services sector, mainly based in the metal industry including machinery and devices (22 %), food (19 %), chemical and packaging industries. Industry is very heterogeneous: it includes both high technology/ high knowledge companies and subcontracted, small-scale, work intensive manufacturing.
With a share of almost 4 % of Skåne’s GDP, tourism is of growing importance.
The share of GDP invested in R&I (at 4,5 %) is among the highest of all European regions.
The blue economy in Region Skåne today
The majority of Skåne-based companies related to the “blue” maritime industry offers products and services that contribute to reducing the environmental and climate impact of shipping. 30-40 years ago, Skåne was home to one of the world’s top of the range shipyards. Though long gone, it served as the basis for a flourishing industry related to shipping. The major challenge for shipping is how to become sustainable. The Skåne industry offers a wide range of products and services within that field, ranging from safety valves to ballast water treatment systems, from load optimisation systems to communications, from monitoring systems to scrubbers and more. One of the biggest repair yards in northern Europe is also located in Skåne. Numerous ship owners use this ISO14000 certified shipyard for carrying out the regular inspections, repairs and upgrades. This industry segment works on the global market and is successful due to its quality and flexibility, as well as responsiveness to customers’ needs.
Another part of the industry is heavily involved in the value chains for renewable energy, specifically wind energy. Within this area, Skåne offers a wide range of products and services, from production of wind towers to the tiniest components used in power plants.
Many of the Skåne companies involved in the blue sector are involved in various different value chains and some of them would hardly identify themselves as belonging to the “blue” sector. These are companies with links to the food industry such as process systems, packaging, clean tech, heat and power and machinery. A key group are mechanic enterprises with advanced manufacturing as well as those with high competence in systemic solutions.
The Danish-Swedish Medicon Valley is one of the largest open innovation arenas within life science in Europe. More than 350 companies working in biotech, pharmaceuticals and medtech are part of Medicon Valley Alliance. Sustainable Business Hub is Sweden's largest network in clean tech with more than 100 members, and is working to help environmental companies to start up and operate. The Malmö-based Packbridge is working to develop the next generation of packaging solutions. They have 122 member companies within the packaging and logistics sector. Media Evolution is a media cluster that has 350 members, large and small, which are involved in everything from digital games and application development to films and the web. Mobile Heights focuses on wireless communication and mobile services. Their aim is to be world-leaders within research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of mobile communication. Skåne Food Innovation Network is working to develop the food sector with members and influential partners. They are involved in training, opinion issues and trainee programmes.
The blue economy of tomorrow in
Region Skåne – our vision
Blue growth is not a focal area in Skåne but of cross-sectoral importance for all three priorities (areas of innovation): Smart Materials, Personal Health and Smart Sustainable Cities.
Smart materials will unlock the global growth potential when the facilities ESS and Max IV will be established in Skåne. MAX-lab is an electron accelerator laboratory for synchrotron radiation research, nuclear physics and accelerator physics. The ESS will be a multidisciplinary scientific research centre harnessing the world’s most powerful neutron source. Researchers will be able to study the materials of everyday life, from plastics and proteins to medicines and molecules. Nanomaterials have a huge potential in the Blue Economy.
Personal Health has the primary objective of creating the preconditions for innovative solutions and scalable solutions for god health, high quality of living and personal engagement in future healthcare, by cooperation on all levels.
Smart Sustainable Cities deals with knowledge, products, services and systems tackling the challenges for cities in the field of sustainability.
The blue potential is primarily based on crosscutting effects between blue and non-blue value chains. An example for a field where different value chains will meet is the expected substantial development of offshore wind energy in the Baltic Sea, which will provide an opportunity for many Skåne companies in advanced manufacturing to deliver innovative products and services. Nanotechnology (smart materials) will be of growing importance to provide cost effective solutions, but there are also clear links to systemic issues within Smart Sustainable Cities.