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As part of the project Go Science, guest researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers got to visit and learn more about the new national center for AI research, AI Innovation of Sweden.

AI Innovation of Sweden is a national center for applied AI research and innovation, with the aim to strengthen the competitiveness of the Swedish industry and welfare. AI Innovation of Sweden is a national and neutral initiative, functioning as an engine in the Swedish AI ecosystem. The focus is on accelerating the implementation of AI through sharing knowledge and data and collaborative projects.

For one afternoon, 24 guest researchers were invited to listen to an inspirational lecture and attend a workshop to learn more about AI research in Sweden with the aim of using AI as a tool in their daily work.

Adrian Bumann (Chalmers) and Aram Karimi (University of Gothenburg) attended the lecture and workshop at AI Innovation of Sweden with Go Science.

Adrian Bumann is a PhD student in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, at the Department of Technology Economics and Organization. He researches information systems and digital transformation with a focus on innovation processes in the maritime and marine sectors where he uses AI as a tool.

– I’m involved in one of the data factories at AI Innovation of Sweden. I think it’s a great organization to bring people together from different areas. It’s great to have one place to go to if we have a question or looking for certain contacts to provide you with specific content and knowledge. Lots of people here have very different experiences with AI.

Aram Karimi, who is researching Natural Language Processing at the University of Gothenburg at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, also uses AI in her daily work to understand semantics for text in Natural Language Understanding. She has been to several Go Science activities during the fall and appreciates it.

– Go Science is very good for international researchers. I would also like to have more meetings with companies and industries from the business community. We researchers need to understand and solve problems that help people in real working life.

From January 2020, the projects Student Gothenburg and Go Science will merge to form Unimeet Gothenburg. The purpose of the platform is to increase the collaboration between the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and the trade and industry. The new platform does not mean a major change and will continue with welcoming activities, however with an increased focus on collaboration between Gothenburg University, Chalmers and the business community. Together, we want to make Gothenburg an even better city for international students and guest researchers and show what the city has to offer in terms of business and competence.

During the weekend of 14–15 December an initiative that is part of Christmas City Gothenburg gave locals a chance to sit down and get to know a stranger at the Central Station. To break the ice and pave the way for stimulating conversations, they were given specially prepared questions to ask each other.

Gbg Talks at Gothenburg Central Station. Photo: Dear Studio/Mattias Vogel.

To encourage residents of Gothenburg to join in and talk to each other, several meetings between strangers were filmed beforehand. To watch the subtitled videos, check out: goteborg.com/gbgtalks 

“Our aim is to get more people to discover and choose Gothenburg, and to help make Gothenburg a sustainable destination in every way. We are convinced that meaningful conversations lead to greater tolerance and understanding of each other,” says Peter Grönberg, CEO of Göteborg & Co.

Gbg Talks puts the emphasis on human encounters and also aims to promote organisations that work with such issues, such as Språkvän Göteborg (language mentoring), Stadsmissionen (Gothenburg City Mission), Kulturkompis (Culture Buddies) and Kompis Sverige (Buddy Sweden).

Christmas City Gothenburg is now in its 16th successive year and runs from 15 November to 6 January. A wide range of activities, from illuminations to Christmas markets, concerts, gift shopping and Christmas at Liseberg, attract residents of Gothenburg and visitors to the city during November and December.

2,921 high school students run JA companies in the Gothenburg region. Photo: Junior Achievement.

The 2019/2020 academic year beats all records. Marking an increase of seven percent over the previous year, 33,706 high school students will run a Junior Achievement company this year, 2,921 of which are based in the Gothenburg region, where 807 JA companies were set up.

Gothenburg has a total of 46 JA schools, of which Polhem high school on Lindholmen leads the way, with over 200 JA students. The students who run JA companies come from many different vocational programmes, with the majority studying economics, technology and commerce. During the year there was also a rise in the number of students from the social science and electrical and energy programmes.

Since the start, in 1980, more than 450,000 students have run their own JA companies.

On 2 March there will be a big JA exhibition and JA companies will have a chance to exhibit at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre to present and sell their products and services. This is an opportunity not to be missed!

Next year, Gothenburg will be the European Capital of Smart Tourism. The city will stand as an example to EU cities for the development of smart and sustainable tourism. The European Commission has now visited Gothenburg for an initial planning meeting in preparation for 2020.

From the initial planning meeting on 6 December. From left: Antigoni Avgeropoulou, Åsa Borvén, Ilona Lelonek Husting, Katarina Thorstensson, Helena Lindqvist, Sandra Bumbar-Malchow, Lars Isacson.

When Gothenburg was appointed European Capital of Smart Tourism in October, the city began work on planning activities for 2020. Ilona Lelonek Husting, tourism policy officer for the EU Commission, received the first review of the plans on Friday 6 December.

“What impressed the EU Commission most was how successful we have been in building collaboration between the visitor industry and the city, and involving the residents of Gothenburg. We will now look at the activities we will organise ourselves in 2020 and what has already been planned,” says Helena Lindqvist, Project Manager at Göteborg & Co.

This will provide a platform for developing Gothenburg as a destination and collaborating even more closely with the city’s stakeholders. More importantly, it is about taking a lead role within the EU to develop tourism in a way that is sustainable in the long term.

The Capital of Smart Tourism is an EU initiative that is intended to raise the profile of Europe as a tourist destination and to create a platform for sharing best practices in tourism in European cities. The initiative is open to cities with a population of at least 100,000 and the selected capital must show strong performance in four categories: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, and cultural heritage and creativity.

“It’s about integrating these four elements in order to develop really smart tourism. We have a unique capacity for collaboration in Gothenburg and I’m proud to be able to tell others about this. But we can also learn from others who have achieved a lot in these areas. That way we can become even smarter,” says Katarina Thorstensson, sustainability strategist at Göteborg & Co.

Tourism is growing and now accounts for 10 percent of the EU’s total GDP, creating 27 million jobs. It is a fragmented industry made up of 2.2 million companies, 90 percent of which are small or medium-sized. But there is great potential to grow further by enhancing visitors’ experiences, creating new opportunities for partnership and collaboration, and promoting innovation in European cities and regions.

Read more about Capital of Smart Tourism

The Future Ambassadors initiative has begun! More school students will leave compulsory school with passing grades. Students will also test the power of digitalisation to find new ways of learning.

Photo: Universeum Science Centre

School students will be educated in ways that are smart, sustainable and inclusive, guided by school requirements, the learning environments of the Universeum Science Centre and the global goals of Agenda 2030. The objective is to improve skills, promote equality and ultimately ensure that school students achieve higher goals. The project will also give heads of schools assistance with developing school resources and enhancing digital skills.

The first concept, entitled Sustainable Seas, began at the end of November with around 150 students in years 4–6 from six different classes around the city. The work is divided into various sessions guided by teachers, with preparations and finishing off in the classroom, as well as visits to the Universeum Science Centre where the students explore new learning environments and gain new tools to enhance learning. Based on the foundations of biology and global goal 14 Life Below Water the students will use problem-based learning and mixed learning environments as tools to understand the contemporary world.

During the 2019/2020 academic year the project will be extended to 16 new classes and two further concepts: the Body and Health (years 1–3), and Space (years 6–9). More concepts will be developed for introduction in the 2020/2021 academic year. The intention is that the Future Ambassadors will develop from a project into a method that can be applied on a wider scale.

The project is part of the Knowledge and Enlightenment focus theme in the run-up to Gothenburg’s 400-year anniversary in 2021.

With the smart service CarbonAte consumers are able to make climate smart food choices. The idea – developed at the FoodTech startup CarbonCloud in Gothenbrug – is now spreading through Sweden.
“Foodstuffs make up one quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. If we are serious about reaching our climate goals, this is one of the areas where we can act,” says David Bryngelsson, CEO and co-founder of CarbonCloud.

David Bryngelsson with part of the team at CarbonCloud.

Imagine a lunch menu with these options: meat 1.2kg CO2e, fish 0.82 or veggie 0.55. Several Gothenburg restaurants now offer guests the possibility to pick their lunch based on the climate impact of each specific dish. The innovation is the result of several years of Chalmers-based research by David Bryngelsson and some of his colleagues. A technical physicist, he has a background in climate mitigation research, one focus area being foodstuffs. This gave rise to the idea to develop a product that would make it easier for consumers and producers to make climate smart food choices and reduce their climate impact. The goal is that all food we consume should carry a climate label, with a clear indication of its climate footprint.

The company initially developed a service for restaurants, enabling staff and guests to see the climate footprint of each individual dish. The service was tested at Chalmers Conference and Restaurants, and the weekly lunch menu on the company’s website includes information about the climate footprint of each course. The same information can be seen on displays inside the university restaurants. Very well received, the service – called CarbonAte – is now available in some 40 restaurants throughout Sweden.

The amount of interest in their service has further fuelled CarbonCloud’s ambitions. Its researchers, climate strategists and web developers are currently working on the company’s next major endeavour, CarbonData, which is geared towards the food industry. It is based on the same principle as the restaurant service – to make it easier for consumers to make climate smart choices and for producers to reduce their climate footprint.

“Our business idea is to package an advanced system for life-cycle analysis into a user-friendly web-service that the clients can easily manage. This will not only make the information easily accessible but also ensure that it is current and updated, which can otherwise be a problem for companies when performing business-related life-cycle analyses. Once you are done, the information may rapidly become outdated,” says David Bryngelsson.

The Chalmers-based startup is currently expanding, in the hope that their services will find a wider customer-base. David Bryngelsson is convinced there is an interest in services such as theirs.

“The food industry has a lot to gain from measuring their climate footprint. Consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, wanting to know the impact of the products they buy. The number of government regulations will also increase in the years to come. Keeping track of and being transparent about your emissions is a simple way to reduce your risk-taking, ensure customer loyalty and save money,” says David Bryngelsson.

Having a location in the vicinity of Chalmers in Gothenburg has been a key success factor to CarbonCloud. This enables a research-related business and makes it easier to secure the right talent. Another vital facilitator has been the existing institutional support framework in the area.

“It’s absolutely fantastic. As a startup company you depend on funding from authorities and organisations who support innovative initiatives for the future; players who will make sure that you succeed without looking to gain from it themselves. That is very stimulating,” says David Bryngelsson.

Facts: CarbonCloud
Gothenburg-based startup company which has developed services to measure the climate footprint of foodstuffs.
More information about CarbonCloud

– For me, the best thing about living in Sweden and Gothenburg is the quality of life. I am able to achieve a great work-life balance and spend lots of time with my family. I also have easy access to one of the most beautiful natural environments in Europe.
These are the words of Stuart Templar, a Manchester-born former diplomat and Director of Sustainability at Volvo Cars.

Stuart Templar at the launch of the XC40 Recharge. Photo: Aurelie Briout

After 16 years with the UK Foreign Office, Stuart Templar is now in his third year as Director of Sustainability at Volvo Cars in Gothenburg, Sweden. As a diplomat, he used to travel all over Europe, working on a variety of topics including human rights, EU affairs, as well as an international marketing campaign to promote Britain overseas (for which he received an honor from HM The Queen). He traded in all of this for a life by the sea on the outskirts of Gothenburg, with his partner Monika and son Kasper, 5. And he’s never looked back since.

– I really appreciate the little things you take for granted here. Being able to cycle with my son in safe bicycle lanes, going swimming in the sea, exploring the wonderful west coast islands, and spending a day with the family in Liseberg.

Proximity to nature and the sea is a big part of why Stuart loves his life in Sweden. But he also acknowledges the value of the family-oriented work culture.

– In Sweden, I feel people work to live rather than live to work. Moreover, the working culture, including at Volvo, is incredibly supportive of parents. Colleagues very rarely work late into the evening, or feel they have to, which I often did while in the UK. It’s easy to take a day or two off just to take care of your child, and no-one bats an eyelid if you have to leave a meeting early to pick them up. Finally, childcare is of a high standard and affordable – around 10 percent of what friends in London pay.

Even if Stuart loves his family life in Sweden – he also loves his job. It’s an exciting time to be working on sustainability within Volvo Cars, with the issue now a high priority within the company.

– For me, my proudest moment since I joined Volvo was in October 2019 when we launched our first fully electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, and announced our ambition to become climate neutral by 2040. This was a major milestone in the company’s history. We publically recognized we contribute to climate change, and have to do much more to help protect the planet, in the same way we’ve protected people over many decades. Our CEO made clear that sustainability is now as important as safety to Volvo Cars. It’s critical to our future success, not least as consumers increasingly want more sustainable products. A truly purpose-driven company is key to attracting and retaining the best talent.

Around 40,000 people work within the automotive industry in Gothenburg. Stuart calls the Gothenburg region ‘the automotive archipelago’ with Volvo, CEVT, Geely, Zenuity and Polestar (where Monika works) all operating in the region.

– In many ways I feel that Gothenburg is helping shape the future of the automotive business – it’s an innovation hub. The companies within the region, often in collaboration with local academic and research institutes, are at the cutting edge of seismic trends which are transforming the industry, such as autonomous drive technology, electrification and mobility services. And they are based in a city which is itself committed to sustainable transportation, with AB Volvo’s electric buses rolling along the streets and Stena’s battery hybrid ferries sailing to Germany and Denmark every day.

For Stuart, moving to Sweden was never the plan. In one of life’s twists of fate, he met his Swedish partner Monika, at a wedding in Romania, fell in love with her and the west coast of Sweden, and eventually found his place at Volvo.

– I’m really enjoying life in Sweden and Gothenburg. I work on an issue that I’m passionate about, in an attractive city and region that values openness and innovation, and, most importantly, in a country where I am supported in being a good parent. Besides family and old friends, the only things I miss are British pubs – but you can’t have everything.

On 14–15 November, this year’s #Connect2Capital event was held at the Clarion Post Hotel, where investors and growth companies met up to match ideas with venture capital. Attracting over 400 participants, including 80 investors, the event is an important platform for companies seeking venture capital and investors.

Photo: Connect Sverige

For the fifth year in a row, local, national and international entrepreneurs and investors gathered at the Clarion Post Hotel. The #Connect2Capital event enables companies seeking capital to meet investors and business angels under one roof. It offers two days of panel discussions, keynote speeches and pitching competitions on stage in front of a jury, as well as individual meetings that give entrepreneurs the chance to sell their ideas directly to investors. At the evening event, Gothenburg-based startup Silicon VikingsPrecisely were selected to represent Sweden in the Startup World Cup in San Francisco in May 2020.

“#Connect2Capital is a great forum for promoting innovative companies from our region. It is also an excellent opportunity to give more Nordic startups access to business opportunities and new networks,” said Malin Kjällström, project manager at Connect West for #Connect2Capital.

Emma Rozada, founder and COO of The Techno Creatives attended the event to draw more attention to enterprise in Gothenburg. Two years ago, she made her own pitch to investors. This year she took part in a panel discussion entitled “How to break through” and talked about breakthrough and breakdown in the development of a growth company.

“Pitching is an ongoing journey. You have to keep it fresh and vibrant all the time, because by the time you need money it is too late to start pitching. Events like #Connect2Capital are incredibly important and it’s great to have it in Gothenburg, which is generally more industrial than the rest of Sweden. It gives you the opportunity to network with companies that have more insight in technology.”

#Connect2Capital is organised by Connect Sweden, Region West, in collaboration with Göteborg & Co’s Trade & Industry Group, Almi, Business Region Göteborg and Region Västra Götaland

Gothenburg is at the top among the world’s most sustainable cities for the fourth year in a row according to the Global Destination Sustainability Index 2019. This was revealed on Wednesday at ICCA World congress in Houston.

Annika Hallman recieved the prize from Guy Bigwood, GDSI, and James Reese, ICCA. Photo: Buller

 

The GDSI was launched by MCI-Group together with the international organisation ICCA. On Wednesday October 30thAnnika Hallman, Director at Gothenburg Convention Bureau, was able to accept the award on behalf of Gothenburg:

“In recent years, Gothenburg has taken a leading role and inspired other destinations to become more sustainable. We have lectured and received study visits from other cities and used our top position to drive the development towards a more sustainable meeting industry, as well as strengthening Gothenburg’s profile as a leading congress and convention destination”, says Annika Hallman.

The ranking was made for the first time in 2016 and this year the interest has been greater than ever, and the level of performance has improved. More than 50 cities and destinations participated and among the newcomers this year are Denver, Brisbane and Lyon. The top three cities were Gothenburg followed by Copenhagen and Zurich.

Another achievement was when Gothenburg recently was appointed European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020 by the European Commission. Here, too, the city’s work on sustainability is a weighty reason and Gothenburg was also awarded the special award in the category of sustainability.

“More and more cities are looking at Gothenburg and next year there will be a major focus on how to work to become smarter in areas such as digitalization, accessibility, culture and sustainability”, says Peter Grönberg CEO of Göteborg & Co.

GDSI measures all elements of sustainability: 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 several 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.

To find out more about the survey and the results for all cities involved, please see: http://gds-index.com/

Gothenburg is the most hospitable city in Europe! Christina Bonnevier from Gothenburg Tourist Centre, which is part of Göteborg & Co, recently accepted the ECM TIC Hostmanship Award 2019 in Ghent, Belgium. The award recognises that she is the best in Europe at greeting visitors.

Christina Bonnevier. Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Göteborg & Co.

“I think this competition is brilliant because it focuses on emotional human values in our encounters with visitors. It feels absolutely fantastic and it’s a great honour to win,” says Christina Bonnevier.

Christina was nominated for the award by her manager, Annelie Karlsson. In her nomination, Annelie Karlsson stressed that working in a tourist centre is a way of life and makes you more aware of what is happening in the city and who comes to visit it. The most significant encounters do not always happen in the tourist centre itself. One such encounter took place in Heden car park one morning, and also played a part in Christina’s nomination.

“I met a foreign family who were here on a visit, and they did not have a credit card that would work in the ticket machine. They were on their way to a meeting and were very short of time. I offered to pay their half-day ticket, but they were reluctant as they wanted to pay me back as soon as possible. I told them they could come to the tourist centre and ask for me, which they did later that day. They were very grateful and relieved,” says Christina.

As well as being the best tourist adviser in Europe, Christina Bonnevier is also an authorised city guide and speaks five languages ​​fluently: Swedish, Danish, English, Spanish and French. Her job also involves authorising city guides and assisting with the city’s tourism site, goteborg.com.

Göteborg & Co invests in personal service by operating the city’s tourist centres, which welcome around 400,000 visitors each year. The company also invests in the website, goteborg.com, which is growing steadily and attracts almost three million unique visitors annually. Good hospitality involves a combination of digital tools and human encounters, which together ensure the best possible results. As a result of good hostmanship these visitors become valuable ambassadors for Gothenburg.

The TIC Hostmanship Award is presented by the ECM European Cities Marketing organisation, which is made up of members from European tourism organisations. To win the award as Europe’s best tourist adviser, a nomination is first required from one’s manager, and the winner is then selected by the management of TIC Expert Group, which is made up of representatives from ten cities. The award was presented in Ghent on October 24, and Christina Bonnevier was there to receive it.

This year’s “Gymnasiedagarna” (upper secondary school days) and Future Skills exhibition set a new record, with 35,000 visitors. Around 900 job seekers, adult learners and students of Swedish for Immigrants came to meet representatives of around 100 companies and learn more about the future job market. The Trade & Industry Group was committed to opening up the fair to more visitors this year.

On 8–10 October, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre was filled with school students, guardians, job seekers, adult learners and students of Swedish for Immigrants, who came to take part in Gymnasiedagarna and Future Skills. The annual information and guidance fair is an opportunity for visitors to talk to upper secondary schools in the region, as well as labour market representatives and education and career counsellors, to help them choose the right upper secondary education.

This year, the Trade & Industry Group aimed to reach out to more students by arranging a variety of activities, including a bus tour from Hammarkullen to the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and an information meeting in Arabic.

As a result of collaboration with Nytorpsskolan, 35 guardians travelled by bus from Hammarkullen to the fair.

Photo: Göteborgsregionen

“It’s important to get together like this. Parents are our most important intermediaries, and I’m convinced that parents’ involvement in their children’s high school choices helps students to make more considered choices that suit them in the long term. An added bonus was that parents also had an opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs, representatives from industry and various educators, so they could also gather information about different career opportunities themselves, which many said was important,” said Else-Marie Hallqvist, principal of Nytorpsskolan in Hammarkullen.

Gymnasiedagarna is arranged by the Göteborg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR). Future Skills is jointly organised by GR, Business Region Göteborg, Region Västra Götaland, the Trade & Industry Group at Gothenburg & Co, and the Swedish Public Employment Service. For more information, see www.gymnasiedagarna.se

For the second year in a row a range of activities were organised in the district of Biskopsgården as part of the BonnierHoops initiative. Hundreds of children and young people took part in many different activities, including street basketball, reading in the book lounge, a poetry workshop, handicrafts and much more. Apart from the success of these activities the project is also believed to have contributed to a reduction in reported crime in the area.

Photo: BonnierHoops.

 “It’s a good place and there are nice people here. Everyone comes from different nationalities, so I think it’s great that we enjoy being together here. It creates a strong sense of community!” said Abbe, age 14, who lives in Biskopsgården.

The successful project combines basketball and cultural activities that aim to promote interest in reading and language, as well as giving children and young people a safe place to meet. Recent police statistics comparing annual crime figures for the district show a clear downward trend, starting in the year when BonnierHoops was first held.

The figures for certain types of crime dropped dramatically in Biskopsgården during the summer, and the number of reports has fallen. So we are pleased to report that the project has clearly had a positive impact in this area. Even though we can’t rule out the possibility that other initiatives in the area have also contributed to the improvement, this is clear evidence that outreach activities for children and young people in vulnerable areas are important. It also gives members of the police an opportunity to meet young people and build trust and long-term relationships,” said Daniel Johnsson, municipal police officer for Västra Hisingen.

The organisers hope to continue the project next year.

The positive results of this year’s BonnierHoops initiative were reported in several media outlets. Read more here (in Swedish):

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