Ivica Crnkovic is the meeting ambassador who brought the International Conference on Software Engineering 2018 to Gothenburg, one of the world’s leading conferences in its genre.

Closing ceremony at the ICSE conference. Photo: Håkan Ivarsson

Ivica Crnkovic is Professor of Software Engineering at both Chalmers in Gothenburg and Mälardalen University in Västerås. He is also a guest professor at the University of Osijek in Croatia. Ivica has an extensive CV; his name appears in more than 200 publications in software engineering.


The journey towards what would be the most successful conference in the history of the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) began about four years ago. Ivica had decided to apply to become an organiser at the time that he was moving to Gothenburg to assume his position at Chalmers. He contacted the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre to see what was available in terms of conference facilities, where he also met Anna Hylander from the Gothenburg Convention Bureau and then the ball started rolling.

“I didn’t know much about Gothenburg at the time, but I wanted to host the conference and knew that I wanted it to be held in Sweden, either in Stockholm or Gothenburg. I was in the process of moving to Gothenburg and when I met with representatives from the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Göteborg & Co, I understood that outstanding support was available in Gothenburg. At that point I knew for sure – Gothenburg was the choice for the ICSE and nothing else would do,” says Ivica.

The discussions about where to hold ICSE 2018 began back in 2013, since the conference rotates between different parts of the world. Some years the conference is held in the US, other years in Europe or the rest of the world, and in 2018 it was time for a city in Europe. The Board of Directors holds a conference to choose the ICSE organiser four years in advance. The candidates explain why they should have the opportunity to organise the ICSE.

“Besides myself there were candidates from Madrid, Paris and Dublin. My argument for holding the conference in Sweden was that the software engineering industry in Scandinavia in general, and Sweden in particular, is extremely strong with software companies and companies that develop high-tech products with a large amount of software, such as the automotive industry or telecommunications. In Scandinavia, especially in Sweden, many talented researchers work in the field and collaboration between academia and industry is excellent, which is not that common.

Despite fierce competition, Ivica was chosen to be the organiser. Now he had to choose the location for the conference and present a proposal.

“Together with Gothenburg Convention Bureau at Göteborg & Co I formulated a presentation and a budget that was presented to the Board of Directors. Many attractive factors have to be considered. The site must be accessible with enough hotel rooms, and not too expensive. There must be strong researchers and research groups in the region and it is a plus if there is a link to industry. Gothenburg has it all and the Board approved the proposal.

Having the opportunity to organise the ICSE is extremely prestigious; those who get to do so are the best of the best,” says Ivica. He compares it with cities who want to arrange the Olympics or World Championships, indicating that it is an extremely important event in the field.

In 2018, when the ICSE was held in Gothenburg, the conference celebrated its 40th anniversary and it was also the year that the field of software engineering turned 50. Much of the conference was dedicated to the 50-year celebration.

Diplomas were awarded to the organisers of the 40 ICSE conferences. Photo: Håkan Ivarsson.

“We had extraordinary guests, such as Margaret Hamilton, who introduced the concept of software engineering when she developed software at NASA for the Apollo moon landing. She is also a Lego character: “famous women in space”. Listening to her was an amazing experience, she became a rock star for the young researchers.


In 2018 the conference also broke records to become the most successful edition to date. A total of about 1,800 visitors from all over the world attended the conference and the reactions were extremely positive.

“Many felt that Sweden is a fantastic country. The conference also received extremely high marks for organisation and everything flowed smoothly. Many said that they would like to return to Gothenburg. The awesome thing is that many of them return to their top-ranked universities to lecture to thousands of students and say “when I was in Gothenburg….”.

Ivica has personally attended every ICSE conference since 1999 and has had the opportunity to see and experience many conference facilities and cities. He feels that Gothenburg holds its own well as a host for a major conference among fierce competition.

“…this is definitely the best conference I have attended in my whole life…”

“Definitely, Gothenburg has much to recommend it. There is a great facility for large conferences, and it is centrally located. And as the chairperson of the IEEE for computer science said “…this is definitely the best conference I have attended in my whole life…” The IEEE, the largest international association of engineers and researchers, was one of two principal sponsors of the conference.

When all was said and done a few months after the conference was held, Ivica concludes that the ICSE in Gothenburg was the most successful edition of the conference to date.

“According to the survey carried out during the conference, an impressive 96 per cent of all delegates stated that they were satisfied or highly satisfied. Just as many, 96 per cent, responded that they were pleased with their overall impression of Gothenburg as a destination. And 91 per cent would gladly return for a new conference. Very few participants complained, and when they did so it generally concerned the lack of soft drinks and similar issues. But the vast majority were extremely favourable, including on social media.


During the preparations for the ICSE 2018, Ivica and his colleagues encountered quite a number of challenges; lots of work goes into the planning of a big conference.

“We faced various types of challenges. One such challenge was to hold an attractive high-quality conference from a research standpoint and to bring in the best researchers to present their work. As above, when organising such a large conference it is also a challenge to get everything to work smoothly. Sweden has a good reputation in technology and delegates who travel here expect everything to function smoothly, without problems. Many delegates bring a couple of computers with them and it is important, for instance, to provide Wi-Fi service that performs well. We organised about 50 parallel events over the course of one week, including a reception and a banquet for 1,100 people. When you attend a conference, of course you remember the presentations, but you also remember everything related to it.

Banquet at Eriksbergshallen. Photo Håkan Ivarsson.

Despite the challenges, Ivica would still recommend the same journey to others.

“Of course I would. A few days ago a young colleague came to ask about another conference. I replied that you have to think of it as though you are doing something for the community and that you are networking. It’s an incredible amount of work since you have to accomplish it outside of your regular duties; you end up just sleeping and working for several months. But it is highly rewarding, so it is worth it and I think it gives good returns.

Many people benefit from having large conferences in Gothenburg. When the ICSE was held in Gothenburg it was highly advantageous for Chalmers in general, including for the students.

“For Chalmers it meant top-ranked researchers came and opened their eyes to Chalmers and had a chance to see what we do here. It represents a seal of quality for both Chalmers and the city of Gothenburg. We see the benefits when recruiting young yet already highly acclaimed researchers who would like to come here from countries such as the US. Many people also recognise the value of our good relationship with industry. And for our students it was valuable to meet prominent researchers within their field of study. It provides them with the opportunity to expand their networks, which is extremely important in this area.

Ivica has just finished writing his report and closing all of the accounts for the Gothenburg conference.

“We are currently in the process of tying up all the loose ends in the aftermath of the conference; last week I presented my report in the US. So we can now say that the ICSE 2018 is officially over. Next year the 2019 ICSE will be held in Montreal and I am already fielding questions from the organiser there. I am happy to serve as a sounding board and give advice, that’s how conferences keep getting better and better. For me otherwise the big news right now is that my proposal for an AI initiative at Chalmers has been approved. It concerns a big initiative that will extend over 10 years. An AI centre will be established to bring in researchers and to pursue collaboration with industry.

Since the interview Ivica was also awarded a diploma from Municipal Council chairperson Åse-Lill Törnqvist for his important contribution to Gothenburg as a city of meetings. Each year Gothenburg honours people who were particularly meaningful for the city and contributed to the development of Gothenburg. Read more about the awards ceremony here:




After having lived and worked for an extended period in Germany and New Zealand, Ulrika Scoliège has been back at the Gothenburg Convention Bureau since November. She will work to attract more scientific meetings to Gothenburg.

Ulrika Scoliège – familiar face at Gothenburg Convention Bureau. Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Göteborg & Co.

“It’s incredibly fun to have the opportunity to return to my old workplace and see so many familiar faces, as well as many new ones. While I was gone, I experienced that international awareness of Gothenburg as a city of meetings has increased and the industry has become more professional. For example, international organisations engage in procurement to a greater extent than previously, using a Core Professional Congress Organiser (Core PCO) who has been arranging meetings for the organisation for a number of years. Considerable effort has been dedicated to creating relationships with organisers and promoting the destination. Consequently, we now have the opportunity to focus more strongly on trying to bring major international meetings to Gothenburg. Once a decision-maker becomes aware of our city, with meeting facilities in the middle of town and walking distance to almost everything, they often realise the advantages of holding their meeting here.

“Much has happened during the years I’ve been gone. However, the fact remains that without strong local support from brilliant local researchers, cutting edge industry and politicians who recognise the value of meetings, our work would have been impossible. What I think is the most fun part about this job is the collaboration that characterises the work, and the opportunity to be involved with meeting ambassadors and the local meeting industries in an international environment.

Since Ulrika last worked at Göteborg & Co she has worked with globalisation of education on both a national and local level.

Contact Ulrika

Young people, regardless of the circumstances, got work opportunities. The result of the fair Skarpt Läge shows that 76 of the 143 jobs that were generated still have their jobs. And 32 young people left the industry fair “At your service” with a job in their hands.

Foto: Fredrik Karlsson/Skarpt Läge

– Through hard work and good collaborations, Skarpt Läge has generated and matched a great number of job opportunities for young adults, both during autumn and earlier years. Skapt Läge is inclusivity and long-term provision of skills at its best, says Christian Westerberg, Project manager at Göteborg & Co Trade and Industry Group.

The association Skarpt Läge, organized the “Job Fair Skarpt Läge” in February and the industry fair “At your service” in September and both presented great results. The target audience, young people between the ages of 18 and 30, was given the opportunity to meet major companies like Liseberg, Gothia Towers and Mac Donalds. A total of 44 percent still have their jobs, generated from the fair in February and 32 people, were employed during the only 3-hour long industry fair “At your service” in September.

The association looks bright on the future, focusing on young people getting jobs, regardless of their backgrounds. Their function is to act as a bridge between organizations and young people, increase networks, and work together to guide young adults finding the right employment.

The fair is built on a partnership between the Trade & Industry Group at Göteborg & Co, Team Göteborg, Radisson Blu Scandinavia hotels, the Swedish Public Employment Service, Visita and the association Skarpt Läge. Despite the fantastic results this is just the start. It is hoped that Skarpt Läge will not only be the best jobs fair for young people in Gothenburg, but that it will become the best platform for young people to gain entry to the employment market in Sweden.



The Swedish Karate Federation has been selected by the European Karate Federation,
EKF, to host the Senior European Championships in 2021. The tournament will be held
in the arena Scandinavium in Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, 12th – 16th
of May 2021. 

– We are very proud to host a karate championship at such a high level in Gothenburg. Karate is a lifelong practice and it’s fantastic that it includes women, men and para. We are also pleased that the organizer will arrange activities outside the arena, which makes it more open to the public, says Magnus Hallberg, Director City of Events at Gothenburg & Co.

The championship contains the two main disciplines of Kumite (fighting) and Kata (form and technique) as well as Kata categories in Para-karate, i.e. for athletes with disabilities. Para-Karate is kata for wheelchair athletes, visually impaired athletes and athletes with mental disabilities.  About 1500 competitors, officials and more are expected to join the event, from the 53 member countries of the EKF. An international congress will also take place during the event week.

– We are very proud that we have received the trust of the EKF to host the 2021 championships. Then it will have been 38 years since a tournament of this size has taken place in Sweden and also then the European Championships were held in Gothenburg.
The city of Gothenburg has a lot to offer and is situated on the beautiful west coast of Sweden. We look forward to arrange a really nice event and the opportunity it will bring to promote karate, both in Sweden and internationally, says Mr Urban Andersson, President of the Swedish Karate Federation.  A positive thing is also that Gothenburg will celebrate 400 years, and we will be able to take part in the festivities with different activities.

Since Sweden is not as yet one of the common countries to host international karate championships, Urban Andersson continues, we also look forward to present us as not only competent organizers, but in the whole as a country with good core values, such as democracy, sustainability and equality, which we hopefully will be able to share.

The Swedish Karate Federation will arrange the championships in collaboration with Gothenburg & Co and Got Event.

Together with the EKF the work of finalizing the details and proceedings leading up to 2021 will now start.


The development of Gothenburg as a city of meetings is making progress, largely due to dedicated individuals in research and academia. Gothenburg is further strengthened as a city of meetings through international networks. For the third consecutive year the city awarded diplomas to people who made meaningful contributions to the city of meetings.

In the photo from left: Karl-Gunnar Olsson (Chalmers University of Technology), Ivica Crnkovic (Chalmers University of Technology), Gordana Dodig Crnkovic (Chalmers University of Technology), Håkan Andersson (AB Kontrollmetod), Åse-Lill Törnqvist (Municipal Council Chair, City of Gothenburg), Thomas Sterner (University of Gothenburg), John Bratel (Swedish Dental Society) and Peter Naredi (University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy).
Photo: Marie Ullnert

In order to formally thank and honour people who have been particularly meaningful for Gothenburg as a city of meetings, the Gothenburg Convention Bureau held a ceremony at Chalmersska huset (The House of William Chalmers) in late November. These key individuals, who are active in the fields of medicine, dentistry, software development, environmental economics, architecture and non-destructive testing, all serve as ambassadors for the city and have played a crucial role, through their expertise and reputations, in ensuring that Gothenburg hosts meetings.

For the third consecutive year the city awarded diplomas for meaningful contributions to the city of meetings. This year, eight recipients accepted diplomas from the chairperson of the Municipal Council and representatives of the administration at the various institutions of higher learning.

For the third year in a row, Gothenburg has come out on top when it comes to sustainability, according to Global Destination Sustainability Index 2018, which was revealed on Wednesday. This is a broad international ranking of sustainability work being done in 50 world cities.

Annika Hallman receives the award from Melanié Delaplanche, GDS-Index Project Director and James Rees, ICCA President.

“We are immensely proud of this award. The fact that Gothenburg succeeds in retaining the top ranking for the third year is an achievement that shows that the city and its tourism industry take sustainability efforts seriously and challenge other cities to do the same,” says Camilla Nyman, CEO of Göteborg & Co.

These rankings were first issued in 2016, and this year interest in taking part was greater than ever. 50 cities and destinations participated, and places like Washington, Bangkok, St Petersburg and Monaco were new additions.

With a score of 94 points of a possible total of 100, Gothenburg came out on top in the list of cities for meetings and events, according to the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDSI). Gothenburg amassed 92 points last year and took first place then as well.

The GDSI was launched by MCI-Group together with the international organisation ICCA. On Wednesday November 14thAnnika Hallman, Director Gothenburg Convention Bureau, was able to accept the award on behalf of Gothenburg at the ICCA annual world congress in Dubai.

“Of course, our aim is to come out on top – but in the long run, it is more important for more cities to start working actively on sustainability issues and learn from one another. That was also why the GDSI was initially set up,” says Annika HallmanDirector Gothenburg Convention Bureau.

“I am thrilled to see the level of performance of the GDS-Index improve year on year (+6% in 2018), this is an extremely good sign that destinations are tackling the sustainability challenges of our industry and that the GDS-Index drives and delivers measurable results”, commented Mélanie Delaplanche, GDS-Index Project Director.

All elements of sustainability are measured: environmental, social and economic. But to gain a high ranking, it is not enough just to involve the hospitality trade, with facilities and hotels; the city as a whole must also be engaged in sustainability issues.

The cities are assessed based on about 30 criteria: such as how effectively the city recycles and disposes of waste, environmental certification of hotels and restaurants, emissions of greenhouse gases, accessibility, the traffic situation, rental bike systems and whether both public and private stakeholders have sustainability strategies in place.

“Gothenburg sets an outstanding example as regards sustainability, and a lot of people are looking at what we have done. We were invited this year to hold lectures and workshops in front of several other destinations. More and more cities are now realising that sustainability is a vital argument when it comes to persuading organisers of major conferences and events to consider what they have to offer,” says Annika Hallman.

To find out more about the survey and the results for all cities involved, please see:

Open to the world – inclusive, green and dynamic, is the vision for Gothenburg. For two years in a row the city has been named world leader by Global Destinations Sustainability Index (GDSI). With its new tourism strategy, Gothenburg aims to step up the work even further.

Earning a reputation as a clean city by the sea surrounded by lush forests and lakes, Gothenburg has plenty of good examples of environmental initiatives, also as a great meetings and events destination. In 2016 and 2017 the Swedish city received the leadership award by GDSI for its exemplary sustainability performance and commitments.
This year, Gothenburg’s commitment takes one step further by launching a new tourism strategy that addresses overtourism, climate change, social responsibility and environmental issues, problems the tourism industry faces globally.
– Global travel is expected to grow substantially in the future, and destinations must see the drawbacks and handle them seriously. Tourism must contribute to the local society, not drain it. Locals are also our most important ambassadors, and we wish to keep their support and for them to remain a vital part of our destination, says Katarina Thorstensson Manager for sustainable tourism development at Göteborg & Co.
Instead of making a separate sustainability strategy, Gothenburg decided to make the sustainability efforts a part of its main strategies in the coming years. The recently launched business plan “Way to grow 2018 – 2020” sets a new standard where all three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and ecological – are implemented in all strategies.
The plan is developed in close collaboration with the stakeholders. More than 100 people representing the trade and industry, the academy and the city have participated in the process.
– The city of Gothenburg has set an ambitious goal to double tourism by 2030. A growth like this must be sustainable and we as a destination organisation has a great responsibility to see to that the events and meetings we host, the hotels or attractions we offer, all are managed in a way that don’t jeopardize city life itself, says Katarina Thorstensson.

Gothenburg Design Festival starts today and will carry on until the 27th of October. It is organized by HDK – the Academy of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg. The theme “openness” in design, form, architecture and arts and crafts will be discussed and analyzed trough exhibitions, shows and events arranged by teachers, researchers, students and design and crafts practitioners all around the city.

Photo: HDK – the Academy of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg

Gothenburg Design Festival is an open platform for collaborative learning that uses artistic processes to reflect upon and experiment with design as an agent of change in the creation of socially sustainable futures. It explores new ideas for learning, work and social equality.

Participants are welcome to listen, talk to and conduct experiments with students, teachers as well as national and international practitioners to see how design can be essential in creating a socially sustainable future.

The festival organizes different workshops and seminars during the entire week in several places in Gothenburg. The audience can for example create physical representations of the internet or build models in small scales. The cultural center Blå Stället will reflect upon how textiles can be perceived and used in architecture. The need to reintroduce the human perspective in public discussions, as well as diversity in artistic education will also be discussed during the week. Everyone can even discover the graduation work of HDK’s master’s students or artworks created by newly graduated creators that are auctioned at Göteborgs Auktionsverk.

All the activities under the Gothenburg Design Festival are free of charges. See the full program at:

The festival is organized by HDK – Academy of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg – in collaboration with, among others, the cultural center Blå Stället, Kultur i Väst, Chalmers Architecture, Röhsska museum for Design and Crafts, Lindholmen Science Park, ICIA – Institute for Contemporary Ideas and Art, IASPIS, Public Art Agency Sweden, City of Gothenburg among others. The festival is carried out with the economic support of the Trade and Industry Group at Göteborg & Co.

Program Gothenburg Design Festival 2018

On October 11th, for the first time during the High School Days (Gymnasiedagarna) and Future Skills, a parent meeting was held in Arabic. The Trade and Industry Group that works with inclusion supported this pilot initiative.

Photo: Frida Rudebo/Göteborgsregionen

During three full days, 9th to 11th of October, more than 33 000 visitors gathered at the High School Days (Gymnasiedagarna) and Future Skills at the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre. This is an annual information and guidance fair organized by the region of Gothenburg, and the main meeting place for future high school students, education organizers and representatives of working.

In addition to lectures and activities, five information meetings for parents were held, among which one in Arabic. On the 11th of October, participants gathered around the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre’s main stage for more information about various school programs in the region of Gothenburg as well as a picture of the Swedish labor market, all in Arabic. Many questions were asked to the speakers Mohammed Megdad from the Swedish Public Employment Service and Maha Hannouneh, Student Supervisor from Mölndal City. This initiative aims to reach an important target group that has not previously taken part in the High School Day because of the language barrier.

Other activities were also organized on this same day, mostly for adult sfi-students and newly arrived in Sweden. In addition, anyone who needed a language support could get help from a guide during their visit.

“Such meetings are important,” says Bouchra Hamdi. She attends the fair with the sfi-student Ahmed Alaa.

“I was interested in the presentation of the Swedish Public Employment Service and I am very pleased with the information I received. I think more meetings should be arranged in Arabic.” She adds.

The High School Days (Gymnasiedagarna) fair is organized by the region of Gothenburg (GR). Future Skills is a collaboration between GR, Business Region Gothenburg, Västra Götaland Region, The Trade and Industry Group at Göteborg & Co and the Swedish Public Employment Services. More information at

The association Skarpt Läge organized the job fair “At your service” on Friday 28th of September; a meeting place for jobseekers and employers within the tourism industry. During three hours, 754 job seekers came to the hotel Scandic Crown to meet with employers such as Liseberg, Scandic hotel, Casino Cosmopol.

Photo: Fredrik Karlsson/Association Skarpt Läge

The concept is simple: the 20 employers who exhibit at Scandic Crown are all connected to the tourism industry and offer over 150 jobs in hotels, restaurants, tourism and trade. Everyone has something to offer in terms of work, study or internship.

“What’s unique with Skarpt Läge is the simplicity. It is easy for companies to participate and for job seekers to meet employers with different recruitment needs all in the same place. But above all, a thorough follow-up and supervision of both participants and exhibitors is made and reported six weeks later” says Lotta Forsberg, one of the project leaders since Skarpt Läge started in 2014.

In 2018 the job fair Skarpt Läge resulted in 143 jobs. The follow-up that was done six months later showed that 60% of those who got a job were still working. The previous job fairs that the association Skarpt Läge organized over the past three years have resulted in 3 000 visitors and over 600 jobs.

At your Service job fair is based on a collaboration between the Trade and Industry Group at Göteborg & Co, Visita, Scandic, the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) and the association Skarpt Läge.

After three years of successful integration work at Kista square in Stockholm, the summer project Bonnier Hoops was exported to Gothenburg. Throughout the summer holidays, free activities were arranged for young people living in Biskopsgården area in collaboration with associations, the city of Gothenburg and blue light and emergency organisations. Bonnier Hoops project will round up and finish at the Göteborg Book Fair 27th-30th of September.

Photo: Hisingen by Day

A street basket court, a library tent and a reading corner were mounted in Svarte Mossen, Biskopsgården, in early June, and remained there throughout the whole summer vacation. Bonnier Hoops welcomed every day between 80 and 150 young people to many activities that featured both basketball and reading.

Basketball tournaments, rap workshop, grilling and reading were part of the program offered to the kids and teenagers. The area was manned from Monday to Saturday throughout the entire summer (17th of June-12nd of August) thanks to a collaboration between the publisher Bonnier, various associations, blue light and emergency organisations, and the Trade and Industry Group at Göteborg & Co.

Bonnier Hoops will round up and finish for 2018 at the Göteborg Book Fair on 27th-30th of September, where a big street basket court and book lounge will take place in the middle of the fair. A variety of events will also be organised such as basketball tournaments, workshops and final round of this year’s poetry slam.

Magasin Göteborg was distributed for the seventh time in a row as a supplement to the trade journal Dagens Industri on the 16th of May 2018. The magazine reached about 210,000 readers this year and has had very good results in the reading survey. It is one of Dagens Industri’s most read supplements.

“Stories from the City with Attitude” was the theme of this year’s magazine. Brave and innovative entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators who truly believe in their project and in their city are lifted in the magazine, showing the diversity of companies located in Gothenburg and its region.

A reading survey based on 300 interviews with different age groups shows that Magasin Göteborg has a long reading time, over nine minutes, evenly distributed throughout the magazine. It is a popular product with satisfied readers who appreciate the news value. This year, the magazine has also reached a younger group up to 34 years. Compared with similar products, the reading value is high for Magasin Göteborg, which is still one of Dagens Industri’s most read supplements.

Read Magasin Göteborg online here (in Swedish only) and give us your feedback at #magasinGBG

Magasin Göteborg 2018