Innovations making a difference
Remanufacturing, health care for people with co-morbidity, and high-altitude greenhouses are three LiU projects that received a first round of money from the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova) large investment in challenge-driven innovation.
Never before has Vinnova received so many applications for one notification. 635 groups registered project proposals that would solve or tackle critical social needs. 94 projects have been funded with a total of SEK 68 million. The first round of money will last until March with a goal to develop and fine-tune the innovation projects.
For the best projects, the next round could be a matter of as much as SEK 10 million over three years. In total, Vinnova will invest at least SEK 260 million over the next three years.
“When these projects are completed, we hope to be able to see results that make a difference for Swedish business and society,” says Lena Svendsen, Programme Manager at Vinnova’s Division of Manufacturing and Working Life.
Many of the projects deal with innovations addressing aging, health, and health care; other fields include sustainable cities, the information society, and production.
In the field of production, Erik Sunden, senior lecturer in Assembly Technology at LiU, is leading a project in remanufacturing and innovative business models that has received money. Remanufacturing deals with taking care of products that no longer function optimally: they are cleaned and taken apart, worn-out parts are replaced and tested to both prolong service life and reduce the amount of scrap and other waste.
New business models are needed for this to work and be economically profitable, as is knowledge of construction and design for remanufacturing, computer support, how logistics and collection must work, and much else.
Others from LiU in the project are:
- Senior lecturer Anna Öhrwall Rönnbäck, Industrial Economy
- Professor Tomohiko Sakao, Environmental Technology and Management
All three are part of the Department of Management and Engineering (IEI). In addition, there are researchers from Swerea IVF, Chalmers University of Technology, and the Viktoria Institute, as well as a number of companies.
Presently participating companies include Toyota Material Handling, which develops and remanufactures truck, and TetraPak with its subcontractor Wahlquists Verkstäder, who together develop and remanufacture filling machines.
Also involved are a number of innovative development companies that, among other things, develop glues and other adhesive methods that can be dissolved as needed, environmentally friendly cleaning with ultrapure water, or new types of recyclable metal packaging.
“We’ve received SEK 750,000 for the first phase until March; now we’re going to develop the project idea further and bring in product users, perhaps tying more companies to us and writing an even better application. This new collaboration is really going to be great,” Sundin says.
Another LiU-managed project is headed by Håkan Aronsson, university lecturer in Logistics also at IEI. This project deals with how to ensure the right care in the right way at the right time for co-morbidity in the elderly. Collaboration partners to date are:
- Karolinska Institutet
- The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions
- The county councils of Sörmland and Västernorrland
- The Thoracic Clinic at Linköping University Hospital
- Norrköping Municipality
The project received SEK 485,000 for its first phase.
LiU is an active part of yet another project. The project leadership is at Plantagon, and it deals with building high-altitude greenhouses to provide big-city inhabitants with locally produced vegetables. Besides Plantagon and Linköping University, a regional company Tekniska Verken is part of the project, as are Sweco, Combitech, Saab, Skanska, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The Plantagon project also received SEK 750,000 for its first phase.
Greenhouse photo: Plantagon
Last updated: 2014-11-05