Attractive innovation hub for industry transition in a leading-edge region

30 September 2020
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​​​​​​​We’re on the brink of a gigantic transition in which industrial processes need to be refined and adapted for handling renewable and recycled raw materials. By signing Agenda 2030, Sweden has committed to actively working to achieve the 2 degree target. For just over 18 months, Johanneberg Science Park and RISE have been conducting a long-term initiative entitled Climate Leading Process Industry (Klimatledande Processindustri). This initiative is a winner of Vinnova’s Vinnväxt competition and is largely funded by Vinnova. Climate Leading Process Industry is largely funded by Vinnova. We asked Göran Andersson at Vinnova for some feedback on our efforts so far.

The Climate Leading Process Industry initiative aims to achieve a fossil fuel-independent industrial region that is world-leading in the production of chemicals, materials and fuels based on renewable and recycled raw materials. This will strengthen Sweden’s competitiveness and contribute to achieving a sustainable, circular society.

How do you feel that Climate Leading Process Industry has done so far? Does Vinnova have any feedback to offer us?
It looks like you’re doing well so far. You’ve got an interesting portfolio of projects and have gained new members, which is always a sign that interesting things are happening. As we see it, you’re still at the start of a long process. We expect you to achieve the aims of the initiative, so 18 months is just the beginning of a 10-year investment on our part.

Now that we’ve reached the halfway mark, what important things should we bear in mind as we continue working on this Vinnväxt initiative?
We know from experience that it’s never too early to start thinking about the long-term ‘business plan’ and how the Vinnväxt funding can best be used to lay the foundations for it. This might mean getting even better at attracting resources through European or national programmes, or finding new ways of gaining income streams or joint funding from industry. In other words, it’s important to use your leading-edge position in the region to become an attractive innovation hub from a global perspective.

Do you see any similarities or challenges from a process perspective between the different Vinnväxt winners in our ‘year group’?
We’re seeing the same sort of things that usually happen during the first 1–2 years in all generations: it takes a while to set up the structures and processes, and situations always arise that affect the original plan. We’re also seeing a strong desire to learn from previous generations. This is excellent and very exciting, but it’s not always easy to convey the lessons because of the differences between you in terms of content and regional context.

Can Vinnova suggest anything that we need to focus on in our efforts going forward?
Not right now – but keep your eyes and ears open for new developments at Vinnova during the autumn. We’re undergoing reorganisation, and this will affect our working methods and the way we design our initiatives in future. This applies to our whole organisation, not just with regard to the Vinnväxt programme. But one thing is certain: our focus on sustainability and Agenda 2030 will not decrease. So I’m sure that, as a Vinnväxt winner, you have excellent possibilities of coming up with new, exciting ideas.

Hanna Paradis, you recently became Process Leader in Climate-leading Process Industry. How would you like to see us developing the initiative going forward?
The industry transition takes high priority among our member companies in the West Swedish Chemical and Material Cluster, and this transition is taking place now. It’s great to see Vinnova and the region driving these issues forward so strongly, since we have to make sure that new technology and innovations reach the market. This initiative is a good platform in this regard because it brings together players that can make the transition feasible in practice.

Climate-leading Process Industry is funded by Vinnova and Region Västra Götaland and coordinated by Johanneberg Science Park through and RISE. Climate-leading Process Industry is based on West Swedish Chemical and Material Cluster’s operations and members.

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Hanna Paradis, Cluster Manager The West Swedish Chemistry & Materials Cluster

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