What is the challenge?
Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are innovative and have growth potential, but state that they lack the resources or opportunity to invest in research and innovation. In order to develop new products and processes that reduce environmental impact and help to bring about sustainable development, SMEs therefore need assistance from, and collaboration with, higher education institutions (HEIs) and research institutes.
How can the programme contribute to a solution?
Mistra Innovation’s purpose is to enable SMEs to develop innovative ideas for commercial, environmentally sound products, processes and services. Continuing along the lines of the preceding Mistra Innovation initiative (concluded in 2019), Mistra Innovation 23 caters for all SMEs with operations in Sweden, in such sectors as food, energy and recycling.
The programme’s research projects are being implemented in active collaboration between businesses, HEIs and institutes. The project managers are company employees. Within Mistra Innovation 23, at least two SMEs are included in each project. The overall aim is to contribute knowledge and results that will be generally applicable and reduce the projects’ vulnerability. The target is to become a research leader in every project selected.
Research is oriented towards areas considered to have the greatest bearing on industrial competitiveness. They may involve product development, construction or production, product support, maintenance and recycling — all with a life-cycle approach as their starting point, to optimise environmental performance. Visionary, creative proposals with high potential and high risk-taking propensity are particularly favoured. To find synergies and derive advantages from collaboration, project managers from the various projects meet to exchange ideas and experience.
Who will benefit from the results?
Every project is evaluated by a scientific committee comprising active researchers at HEIs or institutes. The relevance, both industrial and commercial, of the projects is ensured by an industrial committee composed of representatives from Swedish industry, who participate actively in the process of project evaluation. In this way, both knowledge-building in the companies and high scientific quality are achieved. Support for the various projects is also intended to improve cooperation between the business world and academia.
The objectives of the programme are to implement the results of research in Swedish industry and develop competitive products, processes or services that reduce environmental impact and contribute to sustainable development. Mistra Innovation 23 can thus help to bring about Sweden’s future growth and improve the environment.