Sweden invests in smart tech boost

Article posted 22 May 2015

Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas are funding a new strategic innovation area for the development of electronic components and systems. The program, called Smarter Electronic Systems, includes technology fields such as photonics, micro and nanoelectronics, micromechanics, power electronics and embedded systems.

”It’s a program of great importance for the whole society,” says Emil Hällstig, Research Coordinator at Optronic and board member of PhotonicSweden. “Recently, we have seen both Ericsson and Sony Mobile handing notices of termination to thousands of Swedish employees. I think everyone would much rather see industries and corporations such as those grow in Sweden.”

His hopes are that the fields of optoelectronics and photonics will be given a high priority among the other technology fields, saying that there are many small companies in Sweden focused on innovations within photonics.

“It is important to create more of these start-ups and also take care of these companies so that they can grow and employ more people. The European Union has declared photonics as one of six Key Enabling Technologies and it would be very disturbing if Sweden neglects to make an extra effort in this field that is internationally believed to be important for new technical innovations”, Hällstig says.

In the effort, the program receives a targeted research and innovation funding, where so far SEK 90 million has been allocated over the next three years. In return, the industry is expected to contribute with a matching figure, lifting the total investment in the innovation agenda to about SEK 180 million.

The main purpose is to increase competitiveness and growth in Swedish industry, focusing on three main challenges: improving collaboration in the value chain, strengthened national expertise in key areas, and securing future competence.

The goal is that Sweden, by the year 2025, is a world-leading industrial country in practically all areas relying on advanced information and communication technologies for electronic components and systems.

Smarter Electronic Systems has been developed in collaboration with Acreo Swedish ICT, the trade organization Swedish Electronics, Chalmers University of Technology, the KTH Royal Institute of Technlogy, Luleå University of Technology, Swerea IVF and PhotonicSweden.