Published 2021-01-27

This post is also available in Swedish

New Mistra Innovation 23 call imminent

An opportunity to develop and test innovative ideas jointly with academia. Creative collaboration and new networks. Catrin Mattsson, a Mistra Innovation 23 board member and former project manager of a MI-funded project, shares advice and experience ahead of the new call for proposals in February.

Mistra Innovation 23 (MI23) aims to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) an opportunity to develop innovative ideas for commercial and environmentally sound products, processes and services. On 10 February, a second call opens.

Catrin Mattsson is currently Area Manager for Nordic and Baltic countries at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and board member of MI23. From 2013 to 2015, she was assistant project manager of the Solar C project, which was supported by Mistra Innovation. The project aim was to develop and demonstrate an effective system for transmitting solar energy, with higher energy efficiency than existing systems on the market.

The board of Mistra Innovation 23.

‘It was exciting, fun, challenging and instructive. A special dynamic arose when all the project partners met and jointly discussed problem solutions, as well as results.’

She says that Mistra Innovation provided scope for research and innovation collaboration that would not otherwise have been possible for a small company.

‘The project meant creative collaboration and testing opportunities that drove development forward. As in many research and innovation projects, it came up against some technical challenges. That meant we had to think again, and try new approaches. Testing that shows something isn’t working exactly as you first thought it would, too, provides important knowledge for further development. But it brings challenges for the schedule.’

Hoping more women take the chance

Mattsson is still keenly interested in solar energy, and is following the development of the Solar C project, but has mainly worked in aerospace and aviation in the past few years. Since the Mistra Innovation funding ended, she says, Solar C has been granted several patents. The main one concerns the entire system solution. for which a patent was granted in the US.

Ahead of the upcoming call at Mistra Innovation 23, she has some recommendations for people interested in applying for innovation and research funding.

‘This is a wonderful opportunity for SMEs to develop innovative ideas jointly with universities and research institutes. So we need to build a strong network around the project idea, with various skills that can complement — and perhaps even challenge — one another. Enabling all the project partners to both contribute to and gain from the collaboration is important too.’

What kinds of applications and research projects do you hope to see?

‘In previous years, there’s been a distinct overrepresentation of men in the project proposals. I’m convinced there are also many women who have good project ideas. So I hope both women and men will take the opportunity to draw up proposals for visionary projects with commercial potential that can contribute to a better environment and greater sustainability.’

About Mistra Innovation 23

Continuing along the lines of the preceding Mistra Innovation initiative (concluded in 2019), Mistra Innovation 23 caters for all technology SMEs that operate, in such sectors as manufacturing, food, energy and recycling, in Sweden.

The programme’s research projects are to be implemented in active collaboration between businesses, higher education institutions (HEIs) and institutes. The project managers are employees of the companies concerned. In Mistra Innovation 23, every project includes at least two SMEs. The purpose is to contribute knowledge and results that will be more generally applicable and reduce the projects’ vulnerability, so as to become a research leader in every project selected.

The initial call for proposals in 2019 resulted in five projects with an investment of SEK 25 million from MI23. On 10 February, a second call opens for which a total of SEK 25m has been allocated. Additional support from other sources, mainly participating companies, is expected to be on at least the same scale.

Read more about the upcoming call at mistrainnovation.se (in Swedish).