TechConnect hosts its first European event in Skåne
The upcoming TechConnect Europe Innovation Conference and Expo 2021 will be a first in many different ways. It’s the first in what’s to become a yearly event in Malmö. It’s also the first-ever event that one of the leading organisations for connecting technology research and innovation with funding will host outside the United States. And it will be the first major conference of its kind for the entire Skåne region.
“A platform like this provides good opportunities for us to market the region, our ecosystems, and our large-scale research facilities,” explains Gezim Kiseri, Business Development Manager for Materials Science at Invest in Skåne, who helped organise TechConnect Europe.
For over 20 years, TechConnect has been a major pipeline and scout of new tech research to corporations, investors, and government agencies. It runs innovation challenges, like for NASA to find solutions to bring lunar samples back to Earth, and hosts conferences on cutting-edge tech research, like the largest international conference on nanotechnology in the world.
Skåne as an emerging hotspot
TechConnect’s inaugural conference in Skåne (and Europe) is scheduled from November 15 to November 17 at the Clarion Hotel Malmö Live. Specific areas of focus will be advanced materials, biotech and medical, energy and sustainability, advanced manufacturing, and AI-modelling and big data.
But those topics were not selected at random. A major factor in TechConnect coming to Malmö was Skåne’s status as an emerging hotspot to scout for innovation in advanced materials and life science.
The region is home to groundbreaking research facilities with world-class visualisation instruments (both the MAX IV and the currently in-progress European Spallation Source) and more than 150 materials science SMEs. It’s also part of the Medicon Valley life science cluster, which features a plethora of biotech, medtech, and pharma companies — many of which are innovative startups or at the forefront of research.
“We see an ideal convergence taking place between scientific discovery and entrepreneurial opportunities,” says TechConnect CEO Matthew Laudon. “This is a unique time and place for applied research and commercialisation, and we are proud to launch the TechConnect Europe Innovation Conference to help bridge these communities.”
A conference that connects
From those communities, the conference is expected to draw up to 600 participants at first, but then reach up to 2000 within three years. Half of the attendees are expected to be researchers, and the other will be made up of innovation managers, technology scouts, representatives from large companies, and investors.
The experience will be much like the TechConnect World Innovation Conference, which served as a template, and feature an innovation showcase and spotlights, tech research presentations, matchmaking to help innovators find corporate partners and investors, and keynote speeches.
High-level speakers that are expected to participate include Director of European Innovation Council Jean-David Malo, Director General of the Swedish Energy Agency Robert Andrén, Dr Heike Riel from IBM Research, Sunergy Flagship Initiative, and Battery 2030+.
Those sorts of events and attendees are why Invest in Skåne helped bring the conference to the area, working alongside organisations like Event in Skåne, Region Skåne, Business Sweden, and the City of Malmö.
“We realised that TechConnect provides an immense value for us, both as an organisation, but also for regional companies,” says Kiseri.
And Invest in Skåne will also be there, co-running a booth and engaging with stakeholders. It’s all part of the many activities the agency engages in to help Skåne businesses, from providing valuable industry data to helping find other companies to partner with.