WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?
Expanding companies are a key factor in new job creation, and deliver our society’s economic growth. Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the potential to grow but state that they lack the in-house resources or capacity to invest in research and development. SMEs therefore need help to develop new products in cooperation with higher education institutions (HEIs) and research institutes.
HOW CAN THE PROGRAMME CONTRIBUTE TO A SOLUTION?
The purpose of Mistra Innovation is to give SMEs a chance to develop innovative ideas into commercialisable, environmentally sound products and processes. The plan is similar to that of ProEnviro, the programme previously run jointly by Mistra and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF). Nevertheless, Mistra Innovation targets not only at the engineering industry but at all SMEs operating in Sweden — in the food, energy and recycling industries, for example.
Its research projects are carried out in active collaboration among companies, HEIs and institutes. The project manager, however, is always an employee at the company involved. The objective is to be a leader in research in the chosen projects. Collaboration in small networks among national and perhaps also international partners is therefore invariably favoured.
The research focuses on areas regarded as paramount for industrial competitiveness. These may include product development, design or production, product support, maintenance and recycling. Everything is based on a lifecycle perspective to improve environmental performance. Visionary and creative proposals, with high potential and high risk-taking, are given particular scope.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE RESULTS?
Every project is evaluated by a scientific council, comprising active researchers at HEIs or institutes. Relevance of projects to industry and business is assured by the active participation of an industrial council, with representatives from Swedish industry, in project evaluation. Thus, both knowledge-building in the firms concerned and scientific quality are attained. Support for the various projects is also intended to improve companies’ and academic institutions’ cooperation.
The objective of the programme is to implement the results of research in Swedish industry. In this way, Mistra Innovation can contribute to Sweden’s future growth and to a better environment.