Skip to main content

Feature: Agneta Jacobson on AI Sweden's international opportunities

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Agneta and her team nurture AI Sweden’s connections abroad to bring Sweden much-needed expertise, investment and best practices.

Agneta Jacobson, Head of Strategic Partnerships & International Relations, has been with the organization more or less since its inception. Her team cultivate international partnerships which bring talent and business investment to Sweden, as well as raising AI Sweden’s voice internationally to influence common standards and best practices. 

As a representative of AI Sweden, a small but sometimes mighty global player, Agneta knows the value of collaboration. “We need to prioritize who to work with carefully and focus on the ones that can provide maximum value to our partners. This also means we need to understand in what ways Sweden is attractive and thus how we can best offer high value to our international partners,” she says.

Sweden has a particular strength, she says, as the home of lots of big actors in many different types of industries as well as being one of the best startup hubs in the world. Agneta describes the setup that AI Sweden has with collaborating partners from large corporates, public sector, academia, SMEs and startups as unique and thus very attractive. Beyond that, it’s about the close relationships we have with ‘need owners’. Those are the regions, hospitals, and corporates with issues to be solved, and good, solid, established organizations that have just started their AI transformation journey. Agneta is focused on the international stage, and she sees that researchers and startups or scaleups have an interest in collaborations with these need owners. Complementing this, AI Sweden’s partners can benefit highly from the innovation and energy those researchers and businesses bring.

“It’s important to have our tentacles out there to learn, absorb and pick up good practices that we can bring to Sweden.” 

She believes, like all of AI Sweden, that the way forwards is through partnership. We are forging strong relationships with European partners. The team has made important connections for advocacy and which give us access to academia. Before the summer of 2022 AI Sweden signed an agreement to set up the CLAIRE Stockholm Office. Agneta’s team has also brought us in as members of European associations BDVA and ADRA. Now they are working on yet more collaboration opportunities, to be announced this autumn. 

Their efforts have already brought tangible results. The AI Maturity Assessment Tool is a great example of collaborative and iterative work. The tool was adapted from the appliedAI Initiative of UnternehmerTUM in Germany.  “We have contributed to improve the original that they had. It’s helped us to achieve something faster and learn from another organization,” says Agneta.

She points to our hugely important partnership with Mila, the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, one of the most interesting AI research organizations. Mila, and its founder Yoshua Bengio, are important reasons behind Montreal being one of the strongest AI ecosystems in the world. Sweden is working hard to attract that type of talent. AI Sweden is building an ecosystem with determined and skillful people. Agneta has a strong philosophy guiding our strategy:

“It’s important to have our tentacles out there to learn, absorb and pick up good practices that we can bring to Sweden. In return Sweden can contribute much towards a thriving international AI ecosphere.”

The international team’s work has dramatically improved our access to international research opportunities for our partners. Agneta is enthusiastic about the effects of the team’s work. “We are always looking to make connections between partners who need solutions and academic resources with a specific focus. This way we can offer our partners the best value possible.”  

If you have questions or ideas for collaboration, reach out to Agneta here

Read more about the international team's work here.