Published

14 October 2014

More calls for innovative companies with environmental ideas

Thanks to new funding of SEK 40 million, Mistra Innovation can once more invest in companies wishing to develop innovative ideas. In January a new call for proposals will be issued, now with the aim of getting medium-sized companies involved.

Mistra Innovation wants to induce small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to collaborate more with universities and research institutes so as to develop products that can sustain Swedish industry into the future. To date, funded projects that have included subcontractors and end customers in the process have been the most successful.

‘Many of the 11 projects that have received money in our two previous calls have achieved success. The only problem is that we haven’t managed to reach medium-sized companies equally well. We’re going to change this now,’ says Lars Frenning, Mistra Innovation’s Programme Director.

The fact that it is mainly small companies with up to 20 employees that have been keen to obtain funding is, Frenning explains, because these are often spin-offs from the university world.

‘This means that they have large contact networks in the research community, unlike medium-sized companies, which usually have weak connections with academic research. They see themselves more as practitioners than as doing advanced research. Now we want to show them that many researchers at universities and research institutes are industrially oriented — and used to solving concrete problems.’

Meetings for medium-sized companies

Although the call will not formally become official until January next year, Mistra Innovation already wants to draw medium-sized businesses’ attention to what lies ahead.

‘By getting onto this well ahead of the call, even those that are normally very busy meeting production requirements will have time to work out suitable projects. They must also have time to find suitable business partners — preferably both in academia and among their suppliers and customers.’

During the autumn, Mistra Innovation will hold meetings with medium-sized companies, including some in the Gnosjö area, where these companies abound.

‘Companies that think they have a good idea but lack the right contacts with researchers can turn to me for help finding the right ones,’ says Lars Frenning.

The plan is for the call to end in April 2015. After that, both a scientific and an industrial committee will review proposals received, and the most interesting ones can be presented at a hearing. Decisions on which proposals are to fund will be made in the early summer.

‘Then they have four years to achieve the defined aims. Normally, each project gets between two and eight million Swedish kronor.’

Text: Per Westergård, Vetenskapsjournalisterna

background

Mistra Innovation seeks to help SMEs in venturing to invest in innovative ideas with high risks, considerable potential and a large environmental element. The programme is intended to have positive effects on both the environment and competitiveness. Collaboration between industry and higher education institutions or research institutes is therefore also required. The objective is to support research on and development of a new generation of globally competitive products, manufacturing processes and/or services characterised by high performance and radically reduced loads on natural resources and the environment throughout the life cycle.

Mistra Webbredaktör