UTSA Deepens Partnerships with Swedish Universities and Industry after trip to Sweden ​​​​​​​ 

Published October 25th, 2023. Text by Edith Malmberg, SIREUS
Photo of part of the delegation from UTSA in Gothenburg, Sweden. From left to right; Peggy Eighmy, First Lady of UTSA, Taylor Eighmy, President of UTSA, Carelli De la Garza Torres, Associate Director for Global Engagement at UTSA, Professor ​​​​​​​David R. Silva, Professor Stanton McHardy, Dr. John Murphy and Professor Dhireesha Kudithipudi.

UTSA Deepens Partnerships with Swedish Universities and Industry after trip to Sweden

This May, a delegation of representatives from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) traveled to Sweden as part of a presidential-level delegation to Europe. During their trip to Sweden the delegation visited three SIREUS member universities; Jönköping University (JU), University of Gothenburg (GU) and Chalmers University of Technology (CUT), as well as visits to Lindholmen Science Park and AstraZeneca's headquarters in Gothenburg. The journey inspired further cooperation with the Swedish universities and opened the doors to future collaborations with AstraZeneca.
Earlier this year the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) signed a cooperation agreement with SIREUS, a collaboration project between the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce and 13 Swedish Universities aiming to facilitate bilateral innovation, research and talent mobility between Sweden and the United States. In May, a delegation from UTSA visited Sweden where they met with three Swedish member Universities in the SIREUS project. The purpose of the trip was to connect UTSA with three Swedish universities: Jönköping University, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, in order to encourage discussions furthering their research and talent mobility. The trip also featured visits to the campuses of the three universities as well as visits to Lindholmen Science Park and AstraZeneca.

Building strategic international relationships is a key objective of Global Initiatives at UTSA, as they provide institutional leadership in pursuing and supporting UTSA’s goals for advancing comprehensive internationalization. UTSA and the Universities in Sweden are both leaders in innovation and research, and by exchanging ideas and building strong affiliations through faculty, student exchange and shared projects some of society’s greatest challenges can be tackled through strategic research and education.

Building Bridges and Fostering Collaboration between Sweden and the U.S.

The purpose of this trip was to solidify connections between UTSA and its Swedish counterparts, fostering opportunities for research collaborations and talent mobility. The delegation not only visited these universities but also explored the campuses, gaining valuable insights into their respective strengths and areas of expertise. The trip began with a visit to Jönköping University where the group toured the campus and met with university representatives. The exploration of Jönköping’s campus and student life motivated UTSA to further explore the opportunities of a reciprocal student exchange between the two universities.

The delegation proceeded to visit Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, where they engaged with the faculty and gained insights into the cutting-edge facilities on each of their respective campuses. These encounters featured discussions on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, featuring Daniel Gillberg, the Director of CHAIR at Chalmers and Dr. Dhireesha Kudithipudi, Director of MATRIX AI Consortium at UTSA. The exchange of knowledge and best practices within AI is something that will be further explored next year when UTSA will host an AI conference in San Antonio that the Swedish universities are invited to.
Discussions about design and sustainable cities were also held together with Professor Dr. John Murphy of UTSA and Professor Alexander Hollberg at CUT. Furthermore, the delegation was given a demonstration of the FUSE lab which is a modern makerspace and lab that serves as a creative meeting place where education, research, industry and the community can come together to test and implement ideas.
“With the kind assistance and support of Mr. Christer Bergman at SIREUS, the programming for this delegation was developed with the intent to pair a UTSA expert with their equivalent from the partner university and encourage discussions furthering their research or international activities. In Sweden, we visited Jonkoping University (JU), Gothenburg University (GU) and Chalmers University of Technology (CUT).” 

Carelli De la Garza Torres, Associate Director for Global Engagement at UTSA.

A Promising Collaboration within Water Research, Sustainability, and Policy

Another remarkable joint initiative that emerged from this trip was with Chalmers University of Technology, in the field of water research. Dr. Sebastien Rauch from Chalmers' Engineering in Water Environment Technology and Architecture and Civil Engineering department and Dr. Saugatta Datta from UTSA found their paths intersecting once again during this visit, thanks to shared contacts. They had previously worked with each other at Kansas State University, and their renewed connection inspired them to establish partnerships that encompass student exchange programs and collaborative research efforts between Chalmers and UTSA. A potential research cooperation in water environment technology between Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Texas at San Antonio could hold significant importance, especially since water is such a critical resource and the world is facing growing challenges related to water quality, availability, and sustainability. Research within water could also benefit from having a multidisciplinary approach, involving expertise in engineering, environmental science, policy, and more. A collaboration between Chalmers and UTSA will bring together a diverse range of skills and perspectives, enabling a more holistic and effective approach to water-related problems.
The delegation with faculty from Jönköping University
Having fika at the University of Gothenburg
The delegation with faculty at Chalmers University of Technology
Experiencing a self-driving bus in Gothenburg. From left to right; Professor Stanton McHardy, Professor David R. Silva, Christer Bergman, Program Director of SIREUS, Professor Dhireesha Kudithipudi, Carelli De la Garza Torres and Dr Saguatta Datta of UTSA.

Discovering Lindholmen Science Park in Gothenburg

The group was also given a tour of Lindholmen Science Park, a science park dedicated to research and development in mobile communication, intelligent vehicles and transport systems, and modern media industry, located in Gothenburg. Lindholmen Science Park AB represents a collaborative ownership between Chalmers University of Technology, the City of Gothenburg, and the local business community. Over two decades, these stakeholders have synergized their efforts to cultivate and invest in an innovation ecosystem, supporting numerous prominent development initiatives throughout Sweden. At Lindholmen the delegation was impressed by the Ericsson Garage Initiative, an open innovation platform led by the employees of the Swedish software and telecommunications company.
Vice Provost of Global Initiatives Dr. Lisa Montoya and Dr. Stanton McHardy exchange gifts with the delegation from AstraZeneca; Dr. Magnus R. Björsne, Mr. Ulf Landin, and Ms. Pernilla Isberg at UTSA this October.

Exploring Healthcare Innovation with AstraZeneca 

​​​​​​​During the delegation's visit to Sweden, UTSA's commitment to advancing the future of healthcare was further explored by a visit to AstraZeneca, the global pharmaceutical giant. This visit was an enlightening experience that gave the delegation the opportunity to discover AstraZeneca's partnerships with Chalmers University of Technology (CUT) and the University of Gothenburg (GU). This visit paved the way for potential collaborations between UTSA, AstraZeneca, and the Swedish universities, underscoring the importance of nurturing and expanding collaborative partnerships within healthcare and pharmaceutical research.

The meeting with AstraZeneca also inspired a delegation from the company’s BioVentureHub to visit UTSA in October where they got the chance to explore the state of the art research facilities on campus and discover the opportunities in Texas and San Antonio. The AstraZeneca BioVentureHub represents a vanguard ecosystem focused on the four dimensions of drugs, devices, diagnostics, and digital health. Within the BioVentureHub, emerging companies and academic groups can find an exceptional platform for co-location and collaboration, enabling them to engage with AstraZeneca's experts and with one another. This collaborative environment is geared toward advancing the fields of life sciences, healthcare, and the overall well-being of patients. During their visit to UTSA this October, the delegation from AstraZeneca engaged in inspiring conversations with Dr. Stanton McHardy's working group about the power of cross-functionality and how the Swedish culture of innovation and collaboration can be promoted as a commodity.  

Student Exchange & Research Collaboration

After their visit to Sweden, the University of Texas at San Antonio was inspired to initiate cooperation agreements with both Jönköping University and Chalmers University of Technology. A cooperation agreement is a general agreement used to establish the intent between UTSA and a comparable international institution to cooperate in areas of mutual benefit to both institutions. This agreement confirms that UTSA and a foreign institution have established a formal relationship and may agree to cooperate on programs that are more specific in the future.

With Jönköping University, the aim is to establish a student exchange agreement that allows students from UTSA to experience a semester in Jönkoping and vice versa. This allows students from both universities to experience cultural exchange and learn from each other. For Chalmers, the vision of the cooperation agreement is more in the direction of research activities involving faculty. The visit to the University of Gothenburg also inspired further contact and possible cooperation, particularly within earth science and sustainability which GU is a leader in.

This trip marks the beginning of many promising partnerships and collaborations between UTSA and the Swedish universities, promoting further connections within research, and educational opportunities between Sweden and the United States.

More about the SIREUS Project

​​​​​​​SIREUS, a collaboration between The Swedish American Chambers of Commerce (SACC-USA) and 13 Swedish universities, focuses on knowledge exchange in innovation, science, and entrepreneurship, as well as talent mobility for students and researchers between Sweden and the U.S. 
The Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., and the Swedish Institute support the project through advice and contacts.   

More about UTSA

The University of Texas at San Antonio, located in San Antonio, Texas, is a prominent public research institution. Boasting a vast expanse of more than 758 acres spread across four campuses, UTSA serves as the largest university in San Antonio and ranks as the eighth-largest in terms of student enrollment within the state of Texas, with a student body exceeding 34,000.