Global Business School for Health


Group Blog Post on Study Tour Activities in Stockholm, Sweden

1 July 2024

Authors: Bozhi Li, Chitsanupong Ratarat, Oranich Vera-archakul and Zebang Li

study trip sweden

Buckle up, Stockholm! The UCL Global Business School for Health crew, led by the amazing Drs. Nieroda and Zhang, is bursting with excitement. We're ready to explore Swedish innovation and culture, from groundbreaking business to cutting-edge medicine. But don't forget the fika breaks and maybe some ABBA singalongs! This whirlwind adventure promises equal parts learning and laughter. Stay tuned!

Day 1

We landed in sunny Stockholm, ready to soak up all the Swedish innovation, like eager sponges in the land of IKEA and ABBA. The city welcomed us with its summer warmth and ridiculously long daylight hours, perfect for a bunch of students who still need to make sense of their sleep schedules.

Revolutionizing ADHD Care

First on our agenda was presenting our business plan, aiming to adapt the ICF Framework for ADHD to the UK market. Our startup is all about reducing diagnosis wait times and improving care prioritization by partnering with a pharmaceutical company. It felt like the ultimate test of our skills honed at UCL Global Business School for Health. Spoiler alert: we nailed it.

Karolinska Institutet: Leading Medical Innovation

Next, we visited KI, where the sheer scale of academic excellence and clinical practice integration left us gobsmacked. Presentations showcased how KI’s cutting-edge research directly influences patient care, making us wonder if the Swedes have secretly cloned Einstein. Their facilities screamed innovation, with a side of "just casually saving lives here."

SciLifeLab: Where Interdisciplinary Research Meets Technological Marvel

Our final stop was SciLifeLab, the brainy heart of Swedish life science innovation. Their interdisciplinary approach and advanced tech platforms made our heads spin—in a good way. Combining bioinformatics, genomics, and proteomics, they tackle life's big questions, like "Why does my DNA hate me?" The collaborative atmosphere and the sheer scale of their data-driven research made us feel like we were in a sci-fi movie, minus the alien invasions.

Photo: Our team at St Eriks Ögonsjukhus (St. Erik Eye Hospital)

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Day 2


Today began with a dive into the multifaceted world of IQVIA, where data reigns supreme, and the coffee flows like a Swedish summer river—swiftly and without end. IQVIA's presentations on healthcare data analytics, technology solutions, and Contract Research Organizations (CROs) were as intricate as a well-assembled IKEA bookshelf, albeit with fewer confusing instructions and more "aha!" moments.

We threw a curveball at them by questioning their business model against competitors using AI-accelerated CRO with end-to-end services. They rose to the challenge, but it felt a bit like asking a fish to explain water.

Swedish FIKA: A Cultural Pause

Mid-morning, we experienced the marvel that is Swedish FIKA. Imagine, if you will, a break so refreshing that it’s practically an art

form. Coffee, pastries, and a side of deep contemplation on business challenges. It was as if we’d discovered the Swedish secret to innovation: stop, sip, think, and repeat. If only we could bring FIKA back to the UK, we might just solve Brexit over a cinnamon bun.

CEO Startup Panel

The afternoon featured a dynamic CEO startup panel. The entrepreneurs shared their stories of resilience, innovation, and relentless pursuit of success. Our favorite takeaway? “More Nos you get make you get closer to a yes.” It’s the kind of advice that makes you want to print it on a t-shirt and wear it to every pitch meeting.

Photo: This wonderful day ended with us having a hotpot with a KI student we met on the first day.

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Day 3

Care to Translate X GBSHConsulting

We began the day with a challenge that made us feel like contestants on "The Apprentice." Our mission: devise a UK market entry strategy for "Care to Translate" in the radiology sector. Armed only with our phones and boundless ingenuity, we had just one hour to craft a comprehensive slide deck. It was a high-stakes game of strategy, research, and caffeine.

The result? A plan so solid it could have been carved in stone and displayed in the British Museum. The co-founder praised our strategy as both practical and potentially implementable, which is startup speak for “you might actually be onto something.”

Old Town Tour

Post our business triumph, we ventured into the enchanting streets of Stockholm’s Old Town, guided by a local who was part historian, part comedian. His puns were as plentiful as the cobblestones beneath our feet, and each historical tidbit came with a side of humor.

We learned that house colors once symbolized different social statuses—a sort of medieval property ladder. Today, Sweden has beautifully transcended these old social divisions, fostering equality and harmony. It’s like stepping into a living history book, but with better pastries and less chance of getting your head chopped off for disagreeing with the king.

Photo: Care to Translate

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Day 4

Nobel Prize Museum

Our day started at the Nobel Prize Museum, a place so inspiring it could make a sloth want to get up and invent something. The museum was filled with objects donated by laureates, each one shows how the extraordinary achievements born from ordinary human curiosity. Rita Levi-Montalcini's quote, “I don’t believe there would be any science at all without intuition,” resonated deeply with us. It was a poetic reminder that sometimes, the best ideas come from that gut feeling—right next to where we store the Swedish meatballs.

AI Sweden: Balancing Science and Art

Next, we visited AI Sweden. Magnus Sahlgren, a staff member and metal guitarist, led the session, demonstrating that you can indeed rock both a stage and a lab. His presentation on AI use cases was as captivating as a heavy metal riff, showing the importance of balancing creativity and analytical skills. Who knew coding and headbanging could be such a harmonious duo?

Swedish Parliament

We then made our way to the Swedish Parliament, where transparency isn’t just a buzzword; it’s practically a lifestyle. Watching legislation being approved with public inclusion was like seeing democracy in action, Swedish-style—open, inclusive, and surprisingly civil. It’s the kind of political transparency that would make @RishiSunak break out in a cold sweat.

Farewell Dinner & Sunset

Our day concluded with a farewell dinner and a sunset over Stockholm that symbolized a new dawn of hope. It was like the climax of an epic ABBA concert, but with less glitter. Inspired by our learnings about AI, transparency, and perseverance, we left with a renewed sense of optimism for the future. In today's chaotic world, it's clear that innovation and grit can still light the way

Photo: Sunset from Monteliusvägen viewpoint

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Day 5

Stockholm University

Our final academic stop was Stockholm University, hosted by Prof Erik Perjons. He gave us an overview of his department's work in computer science and their collaboration with KI in Digital Health Research. It’s like the Avengers of academia, minus the capes.

We delved into the Extended e3 value diagram and European Health Data Spaces (EHDS), focusing on health data sharing regulation. We created a value network model for pediatric patients, integrating EHDS into the UK NHS system. It felt like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube while riding a unicycle, but more rewarding.

Lunch was divine at a nearby restaurant, with a KI student joining us. It was the perfect blend of productive discussion and networking over delicious food—a win-win!

Vaxholm: A Peaceful Finale

Our day ended with a short trip to Vaxholm. Dinner was the traditional Svenska fisksoppa, a fish soup so good it could convert the most ardent meat-eater. As we watched the sunset, the tranquility was the perfect end to our journey. Reflecting on our experiences, we felt a deep sense of peace and inspiration.

Stockholm has taught us so much, from the art of FIKA to the intricacies of life science innovation. As we head back to the UK, we carry with us not just the knowledge we've gained, but a piece of Swedish wisdom: sometimes, the best way to move forward is to take a moment to pause and enjoy a good coffee.

To wrap up this incredible, insightful journey, we’ve penned a poem just for you. Each line captures the essence of our adventure, celebrating the knowledge we’ve gained and the memories we've made. Enjoy this poetic tribute to our unforgettable experience in the heart of Stockholm.

Photo: Stockholm University

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In Stockholm's light, where dreams took flight,
We found our place in days so bright.
From Karolinska’s halls of might,
To SciLife’s quests, where DNA ignites.

Through fika’s pause and ABBA’s tune,
We danced with glee, from morn to noon.
Old Town’s charm, a history spree,
Where houses shout, "Look at me!"

AI Sweden’s roar and Parliament’s cheer,
So civil, we shed a tear.
Each fika break, a Swedish delight,
Cinnamon buns could solve our plight.

As sunsets cast a golden hue,
We left with more than we knew.
With Swedish wisdom and fika’s grace,
We'll change the world, one step from this place.