Published 2019-12-18

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OECD report highlights Mistra’s strategic environmental initiatives

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has examined how nine organisations, and initiatives in the same number of countries, provide support for environmental and sustainability research. Mistra was praised for its organisation and the fact that the Foundation’s assets are growing despite large investments.

The new OECD report Supporting research for sustainable development examines nine organisations and initiatives that all support environmental and sustainability research, to illustrate the kinds of practice under way in the area. The organisations are from Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Sweden, the UK and the US.

Like Mistra, several of the research initiatives need multidisciplinary cooperation. Another common feature is that in funding research, technological development and innovation, their aim is to find new solutions to environmental challenges. This is true regardless of whether their work concerns climate, biodiversity, pollution or anything else. However, Mistra’s initiatives differ from the others in, for example, the duration of its programmes — as a rule, eight years.

The report’s structure is more descriptive than investigative, and its purpose is to brief politicians in this subject area.

One success factor highlighted in the report is that Mistra’s Secretariat consists of relatively few people in a flexible and specialised organisation, while external experts are brought in to provide specialist knowledge.

Mistra’s efficient management of the endowment received by the Foundation on its inception 25 years ago is another positive aspect emphasised. In particular, the authors point out that, over the years, its assets have grown while major research investments have been made.

‘We’re pleased that the OECD has chosen to highlight Mistra and our mission as strategic environmental research funder and sustainable asset manager. Since more and more funders have now realised that research and innovation for the global sustainable development goals is a key task, we at Mistra need to rethink our role. How can we get even better at using our knowledge, independence, flexibility and long-term perspective in the new research landscape?’ asks Linda Bell, Programmes Director at Mistra.