Published 2018-01-04

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Mistra to focus on bioeconomy and forests

Mistra has decided to launch a programme on bioeconomy, focusing on forest resources. The hope is that it will help Sweden to become a fossil-free country by 2045.

Sweden aims to make itself both carbon-neutral and independent of fossil fuels in little more than 25 years. To get there, the Swedes need supplies of alternatives that are both renewable and easily accessible. At the same time, they must be competitively priced.

For Sweden and many other countries, an increased use of biomass is a conceivable way out of the oil economy. But for this to be not just possible but real, more knowledge and new technology, as well as acceptance of greater use of forest resources, are required.

Mistra has therefore decided to invest in a research programme focusing on the use of primary and secondary forest raw materials as valuable resources for several industrial sectors. The hope is that the programme will help to facilitate the transition to a sustainable society based on increased use of biomass.

Before Mistra’s Board decided to start the programme, an international expert group had drawn up a background report. This report states that there are several aspects of bioeconomy research that need developing. The expert group considered that the hub of a Swedish bioeconomy is in the forestry industry, but that it can be expanded to other areas. Some of the knowledge that emerges may also be applicable to resources from agriculture, aquaculture and various waste materials. It was also considered important for the developed bioeconomy to benefit from the potential offered by digitisation.

The programme will have a budget of SEK 83 million, including SEK 58 million from Mistra, which is initially investing in a four-year programme. However, it is clear that it will be possible to extend the programme for another four years if it achieves the expected results and impact.

Those who are interested in hosting the programme now have until the end of May to formulate their application. The documents for the application will shortly be published on Mistra’s homepage.

Per Westergård