Automatgenererad bild.

16 October 2012

Go-ahead for urban development research centre

Mistra recently signed a long-term agreement with Mistra Urban Futures to provide funding of SEK 64 million for its research centre over four years. After the two-year establishment phase, research is now poised to start at all the centre’s platforms in three continents.

Mistra Urban Futures is a research centre focusing on sustainable urban development. An international network is being established in which research will be conducted on five ‘platforms’. Besides the centre itself in Gothenburg, there will be branches in Cape Town (South Africa), Kisumu (Kenya), Manchester (UK) and Shanghai (China).

The centre opened in 2010. The first two years were a start-up phase and, to date, a number of pilot projects have been carried out in Gothenburg. Thanks to the agreement with Mistra, activities on the centre’s four non-Swedish platforms can now start in earnest, according to Lars Reuterswärd, Programme Director for Mistra Urban Futures. The latest agreement, concluded a month ago, represents the go-ahead to establish the last platform: the one in Shanghai.

‘In Shanghai, what we call a Representative Office is now being set up for Mistra Urban Futures. Initially, six PhD students from Tongji University and a professor, a postdoctoral student and a PhD student from Chalmers University of Technology will be associated with this platform,’ Reuterswärd says.

International graduate school

All the PhD students in this network will belong to the centre’s joint graduate school. Most of their working time will, however, be spent on projects with local connections. For examples, the Shanghai PhD students will be engaged in projects relating to public transport, recycling and access to elderly care in the Chinese metropolis.

Mistra Urban Futures is the second research centre (the Stockholm Resilience Centre being the first) that Mistra has helped to establish. A centre calls for a higher degree of long-termism than a research programme, since the aim is for the centre to live on even after the period of the agreement has expired.

Johan Edman, Mistra’s Programmes Director, says: ‘There’s a great deal that has to be up and running before Mistra invests. The first two years have been a start-up phase. Now we feel secure in proceeding to the next.’

Under the new agreement, Mistra will provide support totalling SEK 79 million, of which some SEK 15m has been spent on establishing the centre in the first two years. The agreement can be extended until 2019, provided that Mistra Urban Futures develops into a world-leading centre in sustainable urban development over the next few years.

Henrik Lundström, Vetenskapsjournalisterna

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