Research – what is it good for?
How can research be of benefit to society? Vinnova asks this question in a newly-released book of interviews. Three of the 15 interviewed have connections with LiU.
Current Vice-chancellor Helen Dannetun, former Vice-chancellor Bertil Andersson (currently President of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore), and Lars Hultman, materials researcher and professor in the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, all took part in the book “Forskning – till vilken nytta” (Research – what is it good for?).
The book was released on June 7 with a live debate on the Vinnova website.
Should Swedish research only be of concern to universities themselves, or should it also be of benefit to society in the form of innovations, growing businesses, and competitiveness, which builds the Sweden of the future with high growth and increasing prosperity?
These are the kinds of questions the book attempts to answer. 15 participating researchers and representatives of academia, entrepreneurs, and leaders of some of Sweden’s largest businesses offer their views on the development of Swedish research, utilisation, and innovation.
“Two important messages in the book are that research in Sweden needs to be more strongly connected to innovation and entrepreneurship – and that we have to encourage and facilitate risk-taking. We need more people in Sweden who want to, and dare to take the risk of being an innovator. Additionally, the research being carried out should be of better use to society, says Director General Charlotte Brogren in an interview on Vinnova’s homepage.
In turn, she cites LiU researcher Lars Hultman (pictured on right): “We need more strong, dynamic research environments that are so attractive to businesses that they want to keep their research and development in Sweden.”
Three of the fifteen interviewed in the book have connections to LiU:
“That’s probably not a coincidence. At LiU, we’ve always said we’ll try to unite scientific excellence with social relevance,” says Vice-chancellor Helen Dannetun, one of those interviewed.
“Our ability to create innovations and use out of research is something of a fateful question for the country. I’m convinced that we must be better at gauging, rewarding, and encouraging utilisation of research. And we need entirely different public investments in the area; barely three-tenths of a percent of the national research budget goes to the innovation system. But I don’t think the university will need to take the money from its research grants.”
“Never before has research and development been so significant for human and economic development as today,” writes Vinnova and Samhällsförlaget Publishers in a press release about the launch. But in contrast to many other countries, Sweden’s investments in R&D has decreased over the last decade, from 4.1% of BNP in 2001 to 3.4% in 2010. The business world pays for this decrease – 3.2% of BNP in 2001 to 2.35% in 2010.
Footnote: Also in the book are Marcus Wallenberg, President of the Board of SEB; Christina Lampe Önnerud, researcher and founder of Boston-Power; Bengt-Olof Elfström, research strategist for Volvo Aero; Maria Strømme, nanoresearcher at Uppsala University; Anders Olshov, CEO, Öresund Institute; Christer Fåhraeus, CellaVision et al.; Carl Stjernfeldt, Venture Capitalist, CastileVentures, Boston; Pia Kinhult, Chairperson of Region Skåne; Göran Sandberg, member, Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation; Hans Vestberg, CEO, Ericsson; Cecilia Bergh, CEO, Mando; and John Elvesjö, CEO, Tobii Technology. Editor: Anna Karin Källén.
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Last updated: 2013-05-07