A Star-studded Opening Evening at Open Arena Lindholmen
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A Star-studded Opening Evening at Open Arena Lindholmen

Wizards, standard-bearers in ceremonial attire, and the cream of the crop from west Sweden’s industry, society and academia.
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And an unemployed fisherman from Åstol.
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All of these characters and more were on the scene at the star-studded inauguration gala of Open Arena Lindholmen.

Kuggeninvign_01  “This shows that we are ready – we’ve gathered together our physical spaces and our organizations, and now we are ready to show them off. We are assuming our national responsibility and the folks in Stockholm will soon be able to see that,” said Chalmers President Karin Markides during tonight’s panel discussion.

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The tremendously popular event drew over 500 guests, who were greeted by beautiful weather and rooms with a futuristic setup, where even the card readers shone like polished shoes in a sci-fi flick.

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Visitors were offered the opportunity to take part in a round-trip quiz tour through the new premises which are stylishly set off against the spectacular Kuggen (“cog”) building, whose coveted rental units instantly won admirers and prospective tenants.

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Wide-eyed guests of all ages, stumped at times by the challenging questions, cast impressed glances at the enormous functional meeting places where every nook and cranny is utilized to maximum advantage in a layout that provides plenty of fresh air. Among the sights awaiting quiz participants were stand-up tables with whiteboard tabletops to encourage spontaneous meetings, luxury coffee machines, lingering students and nimble-fingered magician James Ståhle. The questions focused on essential things, such as how many Areas of Advance Chalmers has (8), as well as who created the floating sculpture “Temple of the doubt and hope” in the water outside the premises (Kent Karlsson). 

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The first letter of each correct answer made up the key word of the evening: samverkan, or “collaboration”. The answer can be revealed here because the contest has concluded and the prizes – including hotel stays and restaurant visits – were awarded that evening.

Also opening this evening was an exhibition about Chalmers’ Areas of Advances. 

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More from the tour: 

Eight wooden booths blended in nicely with the ultra-modern decor, outlining the Areas of Advance in a brand new exhibition developed by Johan Wetterberg, a savvy communications specialist from the Communications and Marketing department.

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Chalmers’ own award-winning photographer Jan-Olof Yxell scanned the crowd with his lens and opened his own Chalmers-themed exhibition in the lower level of the Kuggen building.

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On this eventful evening, it also came to pass that founder William Chalmers – as designed by Philip Larsson – courteously held the door open for guests as they entered

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Kuggen architect and Chalmers grad Gert Wingårdh (A75) walked around with a huge smile on his face. The crowd also got a glimpse at celebrities such as Hogia Bert-Inge Hogsved (F67), astronomer and honorary Chalmers PhD holder; Marie Rådbo, Eva Henriksson and Bridget L-Öfverholm from Göteborg & Co; former city planning director Lars Ivarson; former chairman of the Municipal Executive Board Göran Johansson; Fredrik Hörstedt, Chalmers Vice President of Professional Education; and donor and entrepreneur Sievert Larsson.

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Experienced moderator and singer Karin Klingenstierna led the formal inauguration gala inside the main auditorium at the technology park, with seating for up to 1500 guests. After stepping onstage to the sound of thundering symphonic rock, she played an ad spot for Open Arena Lindholmen to drive home the mantra “science meets business”.

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And because the theme of the evening was building ties, a short piece of rope could be found on each guest’s chair, rope that would eventually be tied together to symbolize the synergy that happens and will continue to happen in Lindholmen.

“If you hold onto the rope, I’ll try not to lose the thread,” joked Karin Klingenstierna.

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Also on the scene with a healthy dose of Göteborg cheer was Chalmers student and renowned Galenskaparna & After Shave member Knut Agnred. Agnred was the big star of the evening, happily weaving humor into the “building ties” theme and, accompanied by pianist Jan Corneliusson, performing beloved sketches such as “in-laws”, “Borås Borås” and “Under a blanket in Madrid.”

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A laid-back onstage panel discussion featured Chalmers President Karin Markides; President of Göteborg University, Chalmers grad Pam Fredman (K73);  CEO of Volvo Technology and Chalmers grad Malin Persson (I90); Sweden’s EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmströ;  Lindholmen Science Park Chairman Hasse Johansson; Albert Svanberg from SVT; Mayor Annelie Hulthén and Helena Lindberg, Director General of the National Agency for Civil Contingencies (MSB).

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Cecilia Malmström recalled the time when, twenty years ago, she taught adult education at Lindholmen. It was a completely different Lindholmen back then, not even remotely reminiscent of today’s creative and vibrant community.

“The knowledge and innovation clusters currently under development within the EU function in much the same way as Lindholmen – as meeting places for businesses, students and researchers, joined in a network of close cooperation with their surrounding environment,” said Cecilia Malmström.

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On the same day as the Open Arena Lindholmen inauguration gala, a new review of the EU’s 16 current clusters was presented, and Malmström shared grand visions for the future of Lindholmen Science Park:

“At the end of the year, the EU commission will be proposing new clusters. It would be excellent to be one of these new clusters, for example in urban sustainability and mobility. This is one area where I believe that Chalmers and Lindholmen Science Park could be in the vanguard and lead the way for Europe,” said Cecilia Malmström. 

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Annelie Hulthén shared her view that Lindholmen Science Park is a hub for the development of the region.

“The regional community is also a part of this. None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the region; we would be one empty, lonely hub without it. In ten years, we will have forgotten that this is all so new; we will see it as a natural gathering place. And we will need to seek contacts from both south and north, because there aren’t that many of us,” said Annelie Hulthén, who opined that framåt, or “forward”, be chosen as the theme word of the evening.

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Karin Markides spoke of Chalmers’ long tradition of ensuring that its activities have a practical connection to the nearby community.

“The developments taking place in Lindholmen Science Park are a way for us to fulfil the role of the university in society. This role requires that we not only deliver good students and good research, but also contribute to the pull factor of the surrounding area. We must also ensure that what comes out of the area in terms of people, skills and knowledge also contributes to the growth of the region. We can also take advantage of the physical environment to foster creativity,” the Chalmers President continued.

Kuggeninvign_18  Chalmers grad and Volvo Technology CEO Malin Persson works with research and innovation on a daily basis. She said that the environment at Lindholmen stimulates utilization, meaning that its research creates business and sharpens Sweden’s competitive edge.

“Here, we have exciting cross-disciplinary meeting places. This is very meaningful, and real products are the result,” remarked Malin Persson.

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Hasse Johansson is known for aiming high, and did not disappoint as he shared his vision with the gala audience:

“Thirty thousand people will research, study, work and live in Lindholmen by the year 2020. We want to see at least five global companies with established operations in Lindholmen, and at least 20 new businesses employing a total of at least a thousand people,” said Johansson.

Not an unrealistic ambition, given Lindholmens successes to date: in ten years, 18,000 people have been recruited to study and work in the area.

“But it is also important that we be able to promote our brandname- it should receive not only local and regional, but also national and international recognition,”  Johansson continued.

He also took the opportunity to mention the burgeoning cooperative projects Lindholmen South in Brazil and Lindholmen East in China. 

“My vision is for Lindholmen to become a more open and exciting place for the public. I envision it as a museum of the future, stimulating interest in science and engineering. Lindholmen Science Park is the open arena where you can meet the future,”  said Hasse Johansson.

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Lindholmen Science Park is a gigantic investment — and an expensive one. The panelists, however, were unanimous in their opinion that its added value cannot be measured in money.

Karin Markides remarked that we must dare to work in a mutually beneficial fashion in both the short and long term.

“This means we have to articulate our common goals so that they remain solid as we pursue our values. We should avoid the temptation of measuring our success prematurely; instead, we must be present and build confidence, attract global players and help shape the next generation of products and people,” said Markides.

“Open Arena Lindholmen  shows that we are ready – we’ve gathered together our physical spaces and our organizations, and now we are ready to show them off. We are assuming our national responsibility and the folks in Stockholm will soon be able to see that,” she continued.

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Malin Persson argued that now is the time to take collaboration to the next level, linking up with other technology parks and drawing attention from outside of Sweden.

“I’ve seen Lindholmen grow up – I’ve been working here for four years. When I talk to my European and international counterparts, I can say that I see our research being demonstrated at my feet, in my office. This would not be possible on a slightly larger scale, but here it can happen. Now that we have achieved this through our small size and proximity, the next challenge is to scale up, link up with other technology parks, and last but not least, to step on to the international stage,” said Malin Persson.

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Once the audience had tied together all the short ropes, two very long ropes were formed. The ends were then brought to the stage and tied together, thus inaugurating the new venue of academia, represented by Chalmers President Karin Markides; Swedish industry, represented by Volvo Technology CEO Malin Persson; the local community, represented by Mayor Annelie Hulthén; and the future, represented by Chalmers Student Union Chair Emilia Liljeström.

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The inauguration was a collaboration between Lindholmen Science Park, Chalmers University of Technology, Älvstranden Utveckling, City of Gothenburg and Chalmersfastigheter. From the Chalmers side, the project was led by a group consisting of Ami Lanner, Leine Öberg and Anna Näsbom. Barbara Lindgren, Anna-Lena Nyberg, Sirpa Pöyhönen, Jan-Olof Yxell, Johan Wetterberg and Åsa Ekvall also helped out with various activities.

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