Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University

 
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Work Plan 2019 – 2021
Research Environment for Transformative Technologies
Mid Sweden University
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University in partnership with

Dnr: MIUN 2018/2150
Photo: Torbjörn Bergkvist
Feature: Mehrzad Lavassani is PhD in student in Communication Systems and Network Group at Mid
Sweden University. Previously she completed her Master’s degree in Computer Engineering in industrial
wireless sensor networks.

Print: Print Office, Mid Sweden University 2018
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University                                                         Transformative Technologies

Executive Summary
Mid Sweden University is working to raise its profile in research and education with the ambition to
become a global university with regional commitment. This ambition reinforces the current emphasis of
the Research Environment for Transformative Technologies—TransTech—to increase academic
networks and visibility in order to reach the long‐term goals that we have formulated in the long‐term
vision Transforming the Industrial Ecosystem, in short TIE Vision. This vision has guided our
development since 2011. The Knowledge Foundation has supported us through their program KK
Environment.

The TIE Vision is very ambitious: to make Sundsvall and the surrounding region a leading research
and innovation location so that the transformation of the ecosystem becomes a reality. In the past year,
we have worked to crystallise what this means for TransTech. This has led to a picture where
TransTech is part of a larger research and innovation system and our research complements the role
that research institutes are taking. In this picture, our strongest areas not only give a profile of leading
research for TransTech but they also allow the regional research and innovation system to pursue
national leadership by combining forest‐based process technologies with information technologies.

This Work Plan continues to differentiate the roles that our research areas have in the strategic
development of TransTech. We have therefore put most emphasis in the plans for the strongest two
Strategic Actions, EISS and InFibra, while at the same time nurturing the probing of new
opportunities in the other parts of our research. In order to make sure that we continue to make
progress in the academic networks and visibility of our research, we have planned specific goals and
actions in three areas:

     National collaboration programs, with targets for both industrial and academic collaborations
     Scientific ambition and networking, with actions to improve our scientific production and goals for
     more joint research with national and international academic partners
     Industry networks and research institutes, with the aim of using our strong networks and growing
     collaboration with RISE in order to establish a position in selected national research and
     innovation programs

Compared to previous years, we have improved the planning of personnel resources and funding,
while the development processes for education synergies, management and the quality system
continue as before.

                                                     1
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University                                                                                                 Transformative Technologies

Innehåll
1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 3

2 Strategy ............................................................................................................................ 3
Making TransTech a strong actor in industrial transformation............................................3

3 Status and planning for new goals ................................................................................ 7
Research Program ......................................................................................................... 7
Operating environment; status and outlook.................................................................. 10
Strategic positioning and profiling ................................................................................ 11
Scientific production and academic networks .............................................................. 12
Industry networks and co-production capabilities ........................................................ 12
Education programs, development status and plans ................................................... 13
Management and Quality System, status and plans .................................................... 14
4 Plan for research 2019–2020 ........................................................................................ 14
Research Program in 2019–2020 ................................................................................ 17
5 Budget 2019 ................................................................................................................... 18

6 Personnel and other resources .................................................................................... 19
Need for new or enhanced areas of expertise ............................................................. 19
Recruitment plan 2019–2021 ....................................................................................... 20
Resource plan 2019–2021 ........................................................................................... 21
Research infrastructure ................................................................................................ 22
7 Funding strategy ........................................................................................................... 22
Appendix 1. The development goals defined in the 4-year Plan
Appendix 2 Current portfolio of running and planned projects

Please note our notation: Research Actions are written in bold, key concepts with Capital Initials, and
goals with italics and underlining.

                                                                                2
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University                                                        Transformative Technologies

1 Introduction
Mid Sweden University is working to raise its profile in research and education with the ambition to
become a global university with regional. This ambition reinforces the current emphasis of the
Research Environment for Transformative Technologies—TransTech—on increased international
collaboration and academic ambition, and a visible role in national research programs. These goals are
part of the implementation of the long‐term vision Transforming the Industrial Ecosystem, in short
TIE Vision, which has guided our development since 2011.
TransTech consists of the two research centres FSCN and STC, corresponding to over one‐third of all
research at Mid Sweden University. This means that it is very important for the university that
TransTech develops in a positive direction. For nearly seven years, the Knowledge Foundation has
supported and challenged us in this endeavour through the program KK Research Environment. At
Mid Sweden University, this program ends in December 2021. The goals to reach by that time are
presented in the 4‐year Plan and summarised in Appendix 1. The purpose of this Work Plan is to
guide the process in 2019. Chapter 2 reviews our strategy and its evolution, our competence base and
our way to systematically increase the consolidation and thereby the strength of our Research
Program. In the following chapter (Chapter 3), we analyse the development status. With the exception
of research, new actions are also planned in this chapter. The outline of the main goals and actions in
2019–2020 can be found in Chapter 4. The budget for 2019 is presented in Chapter 5. The plans for
personnel and other resources, as well as financing until 2022, are presented in Chapters 6 and 7.

2 Strategy
Making TransTech a strong actor in industrial transformation
The TIE Vision connects our research to regional renewal. The starting points of the vision were, on the
one hand, the social and industrial challenges (or threats) of the region, and on the other, the
industrial and technological opportunities (Fig. 1). The main industry sectors are forest industry and
IT. Their interactions have a strong impact on future business models in the ecosystem. Our task at the
university is to help the development of these strong industry sectors by providing new knowledge
and educated personnel. However, the role of the university is also to challenge existing technologies
with emerging ones, which can bring in new players to the ecosystem. In Darwin’s spirit, we believe
that a dynamic industrial ecosystem is more resilient than a stable one.

                                               Figure 1. The TIE Vision concerns industrial and
                                               technological opportunities that are or may become important
                                               for the region.

In business terms, transformation comes from the “Edges” of existing “Core” businesses. Therefore, in
the last few years we have gradually increased the share of research that addresses technologies
related to potential new businesses, hence the name Research Environment for Transformative
Technologies. However, research related to the existing products and processes is also important. For
example, bioeconomy could hardly become reality in Sweden without a competitive forest industry.
Finding a good balance between “Edge” and “Core” in the choice of research areas, and education
areas alike, is a challenge for us and our industrial partners.

                                                   3
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University                                                      Transformative Technologies

Although it is put forward by the university, the TIE Vision addresses the future of the region as a
whole, especially the industrial ecosystem consisting of industrial companies on one hand, and public
organisations on the other. The university and TransTech in particular, is one of the key actors that
can help make the transformation a reality. For the vision, we analysed the main challenges of the
ecosystem from the university’s perspective, essentially answering the question how TransTech best
supports the industrial transformation in the region. This analysis resulted in five qualitative long‐
term goals for TransTech—which could also be called long‐term effects:
            o   Competence: To attract talented people to MIUN and the ecosystem
            o   Leading R&I location: To raise the research and innovation community to national
                recognition
            o   Innovations: To promote research and education that leads to commercial
                implementation
            o   Education: To develop programs that deliver talented students to our research and
                the employers of the region
            o   International collaborations: To connect us to globally leading academic institutions
                and companies in order to attract more people and ideas to MIUN and the region
Ultimately, the decisive success factor is not new technology but the ability of TransTech and the
region as a whole to attract talented people. This is why competence is on top of the list. TransTech
and the entire regional research, development and innovation community must be strong and visible
if we are to succeed in this endeavour.
For the 4‐year Plan 2018–2021 we evaluated the progress we had made since the beginning of
TransTech. The main conclusion was that we must put more effort into building the academic
networks and visibility of our research. This is rather obvious, since in the preceding years we had
worked for and achieved good industry networks and co‐production. Without a strong presence in
the academic communities, we cannot claim to be a leading R&I location. For your convenience, the
development areas of the 4‐year Plan are reproduced in Appendix 1.

Scope of research
TransTech consists of two research centres: Fibre Science and Communication Network (FSCN) and
Sensible Things that Communicate (STC). Fibre Science in FSCN’s name refers to the materials that are
manufactured in the forest industry, and Communication originally referred printed media, but today it
rather refers to functionality on paper. For its part, STC studies sensor technologies and wireless
communication. Lately the focus has been on the Internet of Things. Forest industry is the industrial
base of the regional ecosystem and information technologies the most important driver of its
transformation, so it is important to include research on both sides in TransTech.
The scientific foundation of TransTech consists of five main disciplines:
       Chemistry of lignocellulosic materials (FSCN): Organic Chemistry, especially Catalysis but
        also Analytical Chemistry; and Physical Chemistry, especially Surface and Colloid Chemistry;
       Chemical Engineering (FSCN) focused on fibre materials and processes
       Computer Engineering (STC), especially wireless communication, machine learning and
        multidimensional imagining
       Engineering Physics (FSCN), with focus on forest‐based functional nanomaterials especially
        for energy harvesting, storage and use
       Electronics of enabling technologies (STC), with focus on embedded systems, energy
        harvesting, power electronics, hybrid electronics integration
       Electronics of sensor systems (STC) with a focus in sensor systems and photonics

                                                   4
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University                                                                          Transformative Technologies

The Research Program of TransTech is divided into cross‐disciplinary Strategic Actions, defined in the
next section. The purpose of this structure is to consolidate our research and help direct our resources
to a few promising areas. Table 1 shows the correspondence of the scientific disciplines with the
Strategic Actions and education programs at advanced level. The synergies go in both directions. For
example, the research groups in Chemical Engineering are active in several education programs
(running, preparing and planning), and one of the Strategic Actions (InFibra) is strengthening our
knowledge in Chemical Engineering. We also have Master‐by‐Research (MbR) education programs in
each of the scientific disciplines, with the purpose of bringing Master’s students into our research.

Table 1: Connection between our scientific competences to the Strategic Actions and education programs, and
vice versa. Shared competences are the origin of synergies between our research and education programs. The
industry sectors connected to the education programs are in the last row.
 Our expertise    Organic       Physical        Chemical            Engineering       Computer         Electronics     Electronics
                 Chemistry,    Chemistry,      Engineering            Physics        Engineering        Enabling         Sensor
                 Catalysis     Surface and        Fibre            Nanomaterials                      technologies       systems
                                 Colloid        Manufact.           for energy
 EISS                                                                                Strong effect    Strong effect    Supporting
 InFibra          Strong       Supporting
                                               Strong effect
                   effect         effect
 KM2                           Supporting
                                                                   Strong effect                      Strong effect    Strong effect
                                  effect
 XGeMS                                                                               Strong effect     Supporting      Strong effect
 CellFUNC                     Strong effect

 MSc                                            Technical
                                Technical                            Technical        Computer          Electrical      Electrical
 programs                                       chemistry,
                               Chemistry,                           physics, in      engineering,     engineering,     engineering,
                                                  path 2
                              path 1 running                        preparation      to be revised      running          running
                                                 planned
 Employers                      Forest, energy and chemicals
 for students
                                                                     Materials
                                                                                   Manufacturing, technology and ICT

How do we meet the needs of industry?
In addition to developing our academic strength, each of the Strategic Actions also has a goal to
desired new knowledge and competence that is needed in industry and other parts of the ecosystem:
         Connecting sensors to the Internet of Things — EISS: There is a rapidly growing interest
             in IoT implementation in many industrial and public sectors. Our initiative supports the
             companies that develop and deliver IoT solutions.
         Environment to the control loop — XGeMS: We see emerging opportunities to apply our
             excellence in sensor technology to environmental monitoring of industrial processes and
             public operations.
         Integrating new technology in fibres — InFibra: This is the core of our collaboration with
             the forest industry. The new strategy aims to enable new products and better resource
             efficiency. The research also supports new education programs that respond to the
             competence needs of the forest industry.
         Cellulose to new uses—CellFUNC: The chemical industry wants to increase the use of
             forest‐based raw materials in their products, and we can help them by studying the
             fundamental properties of cellulosic systems.

                                                               5
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University                                                       Transformative Technologies

           Large surfaces for green electricity—KM2: The transition to zero‐emission power systems
            is one of the global grand challenges. It will create new business opportunities that can
            become important for our industrial ecosystem, too. Our goal is to support the emergence
            of a new industrial sector with cost‐effective materials, devices and system solutions.

The Strategic Actions relate directly to some of the industrial and technological opportunities that
were shown in Fig. 1. The connections are illustrated in Fig. 2. Of course, we cannot meet all the needs
and opportunities of the industry. For example, the development of biorefineries is an important
opportunity for the region but we have explicitly decided not to develop a separate Strategic Action in
biorefineries. In biorefinery research, we collaborate with RISE Processum, which is located in
Örnsköldsvik. Another important institute for the region is RISE ICT (previously Fiber Optic Valley),
which has operations in Hudiksvall. Both Processum and ICT are in the process of starting operations
in Sundsvall.
Our MSc programs (Table 1) have been designed according to industrial competence needs, also
indicated in Table 1 and illustrated in Fig. 2. For example, the Technical Chemistry program was
started in response to requests from the forest, energy and chemical process industries in the region.
Another example is that the Computer Engineering program will be revised because companies
developing industrial Internet of Things need personnel skilled in machine learning. We run our MSc
programs together with KTH in order to offer a broader range of specialisation alternatives. In
addition to MSc programs, we run 2 and 3‐year programs that have been developed together with the
regional industry. In these programs, we share teacher resources with the universities in Umeå and
Luleå.

                                                           Figure 2. Connection between Strategic
                                                           Actions (blue) and MSc education programs
                                                           (green) to the industrial and technological
                                                           opportunities that were shown in Fig. 1. RISE
                                                           Processum and RISE ICT are important
                                                           complements to TransTech in the research and
                                                           innovation system of the region.

Organisation of the strategy process
In last year’s 4‐year Plan and Work Plan, we raised our ambition to a new level. We moved the
emphasis to national collaborations, scientific ambition and international collaborations, since
collaboration and co‐production with companies had already reached a satisfying level. In order to
succeed with the change of focus, we started regular “strategic meetings” (four times a year) between
TransTech management and research leaders in each Strategic Action. At these meetings, we not only
discuss our goals, and how they can be reached, but also work to identify research directions where
large national initiatives are most likely to succeed.
The leadership of TransTech consists of the coordinator, Prof. Nilsson, and the leaders of the research
centres FSCN, Prof. Niskanen, and STC, Prof. O’Nils. The Strategic Actions InFibra and CellFUNC
belong to FSCN, while EISS and XGeMS belong to STC. KM2 connects the two centres, giving Prof.
Nilsson an important role in its development. Department heads are invited to the strategic meetings

                                                   6
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University                                                           Transformative Technologies

as they have the operative responsibility to allocate and follow resources in research and education.
Support is provided by the library when needed in the analysis of the competitive landscape. This is
very valuable when we consider potential new research directions.
We have reference groups and steering groups that offer a channel to collect external input from
industry to our strategic development. However, it is always easiest to get industry engaged when
there is a clear goal to develop a new research strategy or submit a large funding application. For
example, we have worked very intensively with companies in the development of the strategies for
EISS and InFibra. As two‐thirds of our funding to research comes from external sources, our strategic
planning must, in order to be relevant, be connected to known funding opportunities.
At the TransTech level, our strategic choices and goals are documented in the TIE Vision, the 4‐year
Plan and the annual Work Plans. The strategies of EISS and XGeMS are formulated in written
documents. In KM2 and InFibra, the strategic analysis and its results are in the form of a presentation,
and in CellFUNC, the strategy has been developed in the research group in charge of the Strategic
Action.

3 Status and planning for new goals
Research Program
In this chapter, we focus on the strategic improvements we have reached in the Strategic Actions,
especially in comparison with the goals defined in the 4‐year Plan. We have identified the following
conditions for a strong Strategic Action:
      Good scientific agenda that allows national positioning and academic collaboration;
      Good industry network with both strong and innovative companies;
      Clear synergies with education and the competence needs of the industry;
      Strong personnel resources; and
      Robust funding structure
Improved academic networks and academic visibility is our main challenge. It requires that we
position our research wisely. In the development of our research, we therefore put emphasis on
understanding the competitive landscape in order to choose not only what to avoid, but also with
whom to collaborate. The observations reported in the following form the basis for the next steps in
the Research Program, described in Ch. 4, and for the planning of personnel, in Ch. 6.

Connecting sensors to Internet of Things — EISS
Information technology is a strong driver of business transformation. The Strategic Action EISS has a
clear research focus on industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and is as such the basis for TransTech´s
profile in IoT. The process to identify this research direction started in 2015 and was crystallised in the
research Profile NIIT that we included in last year´s WP. Since then we have further improved the
plan and we propose that it will start next year. NIIT would be a crucial step towards building a
national program.
In order to increase the scientific ambition level and international collaboration, we have built international
networks through guest professors and several STINT projects. We are also the coordinator of a new
COST network, and, as a recognition of our activities, Mid Sweden University will organize the
prestigious “IEEE International Workshop on Factory Communication Systems” next year.
Two large national projects have been initiated by EISS researchers; a Vinnova UDI‐2 project in
energy harvesting with a strong national co‐production network; and the IoT Hub we coordinate for
the Strategic Innovation Program (SIP) IoT Sweden. The latter demonstrates our strong role within IoT
Sweden. We have made a good step towards taking a major part in national programs.

                                                      7
Work Plan 2019 2021 - Research Environment for Transformative Technologies Mid Sweden University
Mid Sweden University                                                          Transformative Technologies

In the development of the coproduction network in EISS, our partners have identified needs in IoT
competence, both at advanced level and research competence. To meet this need, we will develop
flexible courses in IoT at advanced level in 2019, and start a process to define an industrial research
college in IoT.
To build a team to meet the development of a profile and competence development actions, we will
recruit a new professor in machine learning, a few guest professors and at least two new assistant
professors in wireless communication and embedded systems.

Integrating new technology in fibres — InFibra
We have defined a new research strategy to replace the previous e2mp (see Fig. 3). The goal is to
integrate new technology in the industrial processes for fibre materials, hence the name InFibra. We
will build an understanding that is of interest also in other areas of biomaterials. The idea is that this
will increase our scientific impact and support new education programs. The outlook for academic
collaboration across application areas is promising in areas such as particle rheology and new solvent
systems. Industrial support is good and broader than before. New education programs will make it
possible to meet the competence needs of the forest industry.
The chemical engineering of fibre processes and materials is the largest competence area of FSCN. In
addition, the high‐impact areas of organic chemistry and physical chemistry have a clear role in the
new strategy. KTH is the only other university in Sweden that has notable research in processes for
fibre materials. They are not exactly competitors, nor do they surpass us in volume. We believe that
InFibra is a good strategy to achieve a unique and strong position as a national program. The strategy
fits very well with the research areas of Treesearch. New academic collaborations have been initiated,
including a new international project. The analysis of international competition and possibilities for
partnerships continues. Overall, the implementation of InFibra has proceeded according to the 4‐year
Plan.

Figure 3: Outline of the transition from e2mp into InFibra in 2016–18.

Large surfaces for green electricity — KM2
For TransTech, one of the strategic purposes of KM2 is to link the research of STC to that of FSCN.
Therefore, the scope of research questions is broad: from nanomaterials for energy storage to power
electronics for electrical vehicles. The industry network is also broad and characterised by innovative
SMEs. Keeping this in mind, in the 4‐year Plan we defined that our strategy for a national position is
to have a clear partner role in some of the existing national programs, such as FFI—Fordonsstrategisk

                                                     8
Mid Sweden University                                                     Transformative Technologies

forskning och innovation; ECO2 Vehicle Design; and Digital Cellulose Centre (DCC). Regarding DCC,
we now have an agreement with RISE ICT about collaboration with MIUN. Collaboration with RISE is
the best way for us to position KM2 in national research and innovation programs. Regarding
international projects, we are now a partner in a H2020 consortium on power lines for electrical
vehicles, in accordance with the 4‐year Plan.
Major progress has been made in academic networks. Collaborations with university groups in both in
Sweden (Uppsala) and internationally (Beijing and Georgia Tech) are developing rapidly. Preparations
are in progress to submit joint funding applications.
Personnel resources are the most important challenge for KM2; we only have one full professor
completely focused on the Strategic Action. This is not enough, even if our national networks are
developed by Prof. Nilsson, the program leader of TransTech. We need both broader leadership (more
professors) and more expertise to make our research stronger. The challenge was obvious when we
evaluated our possibilities to create a KK Research Profile for KM2 in the spring. We would need
additional professors in materials and power electronics if a KK Profile would include both in one
program. We concluded that for now it is not possible for us to build a KK Profile that would cover
large parts of KM2. A narrow focus was also considered impossible because strong academic
competition in materials area where we are academically strongest. The lack of companies with strong
R&D resources in the materials area does not help.
The strategic situation is that we need to reconsider what we want with KM2. On one hand, the broad
scope of KM2 is valuable for regional transformation (TIE Vision), and we believe that we can obtain
specific roles in national innovation programs through collaboration with RISE. On the other hand,
the inadequate resources imply that maybe the broad Strategic Action KM2 is not an ideal
arrangement for the development academic research. Since KM2 is the only Strategic Action
connected to Engineering Physics, it is important that we can secure good progress of academic
research. Further analysis is needed.

Environment into the control loop — XGeMS
Our starting point when we formulated the strategy for XGeMS in 2015 was to make use of our high‐
impact academic research in sensor technology for the benefit of industrial transformation in our
region and in Sweden. The focus is on environmental impact of industrial production and smart cities.
This is a new direction that provides good motivation and broader funding opportunities for the
academically ambitious part of the research. Also, there are still no analogous Strategic Innovation
Programs or excellence centres in this direction.
We have identified the need for a larger project to establish the research focus of XGeMS and to build
a strong co‐production base for the focus area. Next year we will develop a KK Synergy project and
implement the integration of RISE into XGeMS’ research agenda through a larger regional project. We
also see a need to develop further the connection of measurement systems to the process industry
where we have a very strong position with several national projects, including one in the Strategic
Innovation Program Production 2030. This connection is crucial for getting the process industry
integrated into the strategic target of environmental surveillance.
XGeMS has had a large share of international projects (H2020 and Marie Curie), most of which will
now end. There are several ongoing activities to attract new cooperation (guest professors and STINT
projects) and attempts to win new international projects.
The renewal of the MSc program in electronics into embedded sensor systems, finalized in 2018, has
improved the link between education and research in both XGeMS and EISS. As indicated above in
the EISS description, we will develop an industrial research college in IoT to meet the need for
research competence in our partner companies. This research college will include to both EISS and
XGeMS co‐production partners.

                                                  9
Mid Sweden University                                                              Transformative Technologies

Based on the analysis of competence of the transformative target of “the environment in the control
loop” and electronics, we have identified three professor recruitments. Radamson from the Chinese
Academy of Sciences has been recruited as a guest professor and Rödjegård as an adjunct professor
from SenseAir. This has secured the continuity of our detector competence after Professor Fröjdh
retires next year. In addition, we will recruit a full professor in machine learning based measurement
systems in 2019. This will strengthen XGeMS with a new competence area and support the EISS
research profile. We will also identify the recruitment of additional guest professors and analyse the
need for additional recruitments in the year to come.

Cellulose to new uses — CellFUNC
The strategic purpose we have for CellFUNC is two‐fold: to extend FSCN’s research beyond the paper
industry; and to develop scientifically strong research in Surface and Colloid Chemistry. Based on a
new theory of cellulose‐water interactions, we can study new hybrid and nanocomposite materials
made with cellulose in aqueous conditions. This unique approach has a good potential for scientific
impact in collaboration with international groups. It has also caught the interest of chemicals, food, and
healthcare companies but industrial research collaboration with large companies takes more time to
build than we anticipated three years ago. This affects the development of new research in CellFUNC.
In addition, the new education program in Technical Chemistry has tied up much time for the senior
researchers, as we have few teachers in the area. In this situation, the new guest professor from
Portugal will be an important addition to the planning of research.
Since higher scientific ambition and international projects are central in the 4‐year Plan, it is clear that for a
contribution that that we need from CellFUNC, strong scientific impact is strategically more
important goal than industry networks.

Projects that complement Strategic Actions
Parallel to the main track of each Strategic Action, we have projects that can lie a little outside the
Strategic Actions. The largest group of such projects is in the area of biorefinery, e.g. research on
biopolymers and biofuels. Over the years, our view on these projects has varied. They have been too
scattered to form a focused agenda, which is needed for a separate Strategic Action, but they have
nevertheless been important for the regional needs for technology and competence development, both
in industry and public sector. When viewed in the broader regional context shown in Fig. 2,
biorefinery projects form a strategically link to RISE Processum.

Operating environment; status and outlook
Collaboration with RISE
RISE Processum has launched operations in Sundsvall and they are involved in innovation projects
with us. RISE ICT will launch in Sundsvall 1 November. MIUN has made an agreement with RISE at
group level, which makes it easy for us to use RISE resources for project management, infrastructures,
expertise (adjunct professors) etc. Joint preparations are under way to use regional funding sources to
establish and run infrastructures and testbeds for applied research, innovation programs and
technology transfer to SMEs. Our joint goal is to establish a research and innovation location such that
is valuable to the regional industry and attractive at the national level in the technology areas where
we are strong. The starting point is good to create a joint research and innovation agenda that is more
comprehensive than what TransTech alone could muster.
There are also other benefits from RISE operations in Sundsvall. RISE has good capacity and
capabilities to build and run innovation programs, which will open up new possibilities to win
funding e.g. from the national Strategic Innovation Programs. The presence of RISE will also create a
more versatile spectrum of R&D jobs and in turn increase the attractiveness of the whole ecosystem.

                                                       10
Mid Sweden University                                                          Transformative Technologies

Other regional development
During 2018, the innovation cluster Bron coordinated a Vinnväxt application for Information‐Driven
Business Transformation which included TransTech’s EISS and parts of XGeMS. Although the
application did not win funding this time, it was useful because it can be used as starting point for the
work with regional funding. The Forest Business Accelerator run by the incubator BizMaker in
collaboration with SCA, IBM and RISE Processum is another example of the role of ICT as a strong
driver of business transformation.
The collaboration of the university with the surrounding cities is steadily increasing. The next step is
to use these collaborations together with RISE for larger actions, such as testbeds in ICT and
environmental monitoring relevant for the public sector. In addition, MIUN and Umeå University are
working to increase collaboration in education and research, among others on the biorefinery cluster
in Örnsköldsvik.

National development
The establishment of Treesearch has proven to be a good opportunity for us to build academic
collaborations and industrial visibility beyond the companies we usually work with. In the spring, we
were the first university approved as a new academic core partner. Since then Lund has been
approved, and SLU has submitted their application.

Strategic positioning and profiling
Our ultimate goal is to establish a leading research and innovation location in the region (see TIE Vision).
TransTech is part of this R&I location, but so far, we have not specified what it consists of or how
TransTech would contribute to it. We have described our own identity through the evolving Strategic
Actions and maintained that their combined effect explains what role we have in the industrial
transformation. This evolution has been the best way for us to achieve a consolidation of research into
increasingly stronger research areas.
Two things have led us to take the next step and define a unifying profile for TransTech and the
regional research and innovation system. The first is that, as described above, only two of our
Strategic Actions, EISS and InFibra possess a real possibility to achieve national recognition on their
own, and thus define the strengths of TransTech. The remaining three Strategic Actions are valuable
as a source of innovations and scientific impact in their selected areas. The second factor is the process
to increase the role of RISE Processum and RISE ICT in Sundsvall. As demonstrated in Fig. 2, these
two organisations together with TransTech can give a good coverage of the industrial and
technological opportunities of the region. There is also a good complementarity between EISS and
RISE ICT on one hand, and between InFibra and RISE Processum on the other. This gives our joint
research and innovation environment a profile that we tentatively call “Forest‐based materials and
IT”.
The joint environment forms a platform that can support our Strategic Actions in regional and
national innovation programs so that we in turn can put more efforts into academic research,
collaborations and visibility. TransTech and RISE have already collaborated on national level when an
application was sent to MISTRA’s call Bioeconomy and Forest. This time we did not win funding, but
the joint application was a good start to collaboration on national level. Figure 4 summarises how
TransTech contributes in the joint research and innovation location. On one hand, we build strong
academic identities in industrial IoT and fibre materials, and on the other hand collaborate with RISE
in research, development and innovation programs on regional, national and international level.

                                                     11
Mid Sweden University                                                         Transformative Technologies

Figure 4. Research and Innovation location for Forest materials and IT, formed by TransTech, RISE Processum
and RISE ICT

Scientific production and academic networks
It is very important that we perform well in our scientific production, win competitive council
funding and have good academic networks. The analysis of publications in Progress Report 2018
showed that in the publication impact we must improve faster than the trend so far. This applies to
both citations and the impact factor of the journals to which we submit papers. In addition, the
volume of publications should improve even if the stagnation in volume can be explained by changes
in funding. Actions we have planned to improve our performance in publications are explained in Ch.
4.
The situation is better in competitive funding. We are currently in a good trend, and although large
fluctuations cannot be avoided, the outlook is promising, as will be shown in Ch. 7. It appears also
that a positive trend change is taking place in academic collaborations. Many new Swedish and some
new international collaborations have launched. Since Progress Report 2018, the number of guest
professors has doubled to eight. Six new international projects have been approved this year,
including a large H2020 project in KM2 (MIUN: SEK 3 million during 2018–2022). Even the number of
international project applications increased clearly in 2018, which is good. For example, FSCN has sent
or participated in three applications to a Sweden‐Finland program in bioeconomy, and STC has
submitted five applications to STINT.

Industry networks and co-production capabilities
In the analysis done for Progress Report 2018, we concluded that our industry networks have
developed well since 2015, both in scope and in quality. The technology range of our partner
companies has grown with the Strategic Actions KM2, XGeMS and CellFUNC. In many cases, the
industrial “sectors” of these companies are still in an emerging state—meaning that co‐production
with these companies can make a strong impact on the industrial transformation. However, the
strategic depth and volume of co‐production is the greatest with the long‐term partners in EISS and
InFibra. These companies are also the most involved in our strategy process, as explained in Ch. 2.
Figure 5 summarises the nature and desired development direction of our industrial networks.

                                                    12
Mid Sweden University                                                           Transformative Technologies

                                                              Figure 5. Industrial networks of Strategic Actions
                                                              characterized in terms of size and number of
                                                              companies involved, as well as the impact on
                                                              transformation. Green indicates established
                                                              collaborations and orange need for improvement.

In our progress towards the goal of clear roles in national programs, we want to use our industrial
networks so that they can strengthen our initiatives. Larger KK Research Actions can give the
foundation for a national program, and adjunct professors can be our ambassadors in building such
initiatives. In the case of EISS, the work to build the application for the KK Profile NIIT led to a strong
industry consortium that supports our research. It also gave us a strong research agenda, even though
the KK Profile application was not approved. To become reality, the agenda of EISS must be
implemented with a sufficiently strong program that goes beyond our region. A KK Research Profile
would such a program. An alternative could be funding from some future call, but that may take time.
In InFibra, the situation is different since we already have a realistic chance to establish a national
collaboration program. A consortium of strong Core companies was created in the KK Profile e2mp. It
was extended to new technologies in the KK Synergy e2cmp (Cf. Fig. 3), and has since then extended
to smaller innovative Edge companies. Should the Vinnova Competence Centre fail, then we will try
to implement part of the agenda in a new KK Profile.
In the other three Strategic Actions, the current industrial network of KM2 would not suffice for a
focused research program, because it lacks co‐production with large companies that have strong R&D
resources. However, the KM2 network is very good for regional and national innovation platforms.
XGeMS has similar industry network, but still the situation is better because the network includes
strong partners with their own strong R&D. For CellFUNC, co‐production with large research‐
intensive chemical companies is the most promising alternative (Fig. 5).
Regarding associate professors, most of them (nine out of twelve) are from research institutes. This is
good as it gives access to national innovation programs. It would of course be very valuable for our
productivity to have more industry experts involved in research as adjunct professors, but such
persons are difficult to recruit.

Education programs, development status and plans
The development of our education portfolio proceeds steadily. It interacts with the development of
research through the long‐term resource planning that takes place at department level. This is
important since it means that most of our researchers will have the possibility to participate in
teaching. For FSCN, this is an improvement, as there was previously almost no education connected
to its research. At the same time, it means that the share of teaching personnel needs to be increased at
FSCN.
The Master’s program in Technical Physics has been revised and is therefore behind schedule. When
this program is ready, we will have at least one program connected to each Strategic Action. This will
complete the process towards a complete academic environment that was launched in WP2016. In
addition to the courses indicated in Table 1, the Master’s program in Change Management mentioned

                                                    13
Mid Sweden University                                                         Transformative Technologies

in WP2016 is now ready. The first admission will be in the fall of 2019. In the next round of program
developments, the Master’s program in Computer Engineering will be revised. This is motivated by
the rapid development in the research on industrial Internet of Things. In addition, a second path is
planned to the Technical Chemistry program in order to offer a program that meet the needs of forest
industry.
The industrial graduate school FORIC is a major part of our doctoral education program. The second
admission of students has started. FORIC is one of FSCN’s contributions to Treesearch. FSCN
organised the first PhD course of Treesearch (Surface Chemistry) in October. It was completely
booked with 25 students from several Nordic universities; this is a good demonstration of our position
in the field. There is a clear need for another industrial graduate school connected to STC’s research;
such a school will be planned in 2019.

Management and Quality System, status and plans
In the 4‐year Plan, we introduced a set of nine development areas and qualitative goals for most of
them. These development areas are interconnected in quite a complex system. We will therefore work
to clarify the “Effect Logic” between our annual goals in Work Plans, the goals in the 4‐year Plan, and
the long‐term goals (or effects) in the TIE Vision. The purpose is to make it easier for us to
communicate our priorities and thereby make it easier for everyone to understand why we in the
management follow certain performance indicators. We have already made some clarifications, see
Appendix 1.
This fall we defined a set of common numeric performance targets for researchers, research leaders
and research groups. This aims to provide a clear picture of what is expected of each person, which is
far easier to relate to than the goals for TransTech as a whole. Department heads will start to follow
and discuss these targets with researchers as a part of the planning of personal development.
In addition to the above, we have made or planned several improvements to the Quality Process
     Systematic analysis of education development, initiated
     Developed tools for competitive analysis (omvärldsanalys)
     Introduced objective criteria for the classification of our industrial (and academic) partners;
        the previous subjective evaluation is simply not reliable for over 100 companies
     Launched “pulse meetings” at STC to follow up projects, with improved project quality and
        goal fulfilment as a result; FSCN will be include in 2019
     Initiated the use of selected indicators to follow Strategic Actions
     Started the development for better follow‐up of our co‐production
Finally, we have contracted external resources to help in the strategy processes of the Strategic Actions
and the preparation of large funding applications. The university is preparing a Grants Office that will
support the development of external networks with other universities and institutes. Tailored support
for prospective leaders of large projects will also be initiated.

4 Plan for research 2019–2020
In this chapter, we will only consider research; the plans for education, management and the Quality
System can be found in Ch. 3 and the plans for personnel and funding in Chs 7 and 8.
Our main challenge in research is to extend academic networks and increase the visibility of our
research. In the 4‐year Plan, we have divided this challenge into three development areas: National
programs; Scientific ambition; and International projects. As clarified in Appendix 1, the first of these,
National programs, targets nationally visible collaborations with industry, institutes and academia,
while the latter two focus on academic visibility in Sweden and internationally. Success of TransTech

                                                    14
Mid Sweden University                                                      Transformative Technologies

in national research and innovation programs is tightly connected with the profiling of Strategic
Actions. Our industry networks and co‐production are already strong, though perhaps not recognised
at the national level, and collaboration with research institutes (technology transfer) is making good
progress. Based on the analysis in Ch. 3, we have planned the following actions to implement the 4‐
year Plan in our research.

National collaboration programs
The quantitative goal we have set in the 4‐year Plan is to have two large national projects and one
excellence centre. This could mean building and coordinating a large project in a Strategic Innovation
Program (SIP), naturally in collaboration with others. An excellence centre could be a larger program
funded by e.g. the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) or the Knut and Alice Wallenberg
Foundation. The most important achievements so far in the direction of building such programs are
the IoT Hub that we coordinate for the SIP IoT Sweden, and the position as a core partner in the
national platform Treesearch where InFibra has a unique role for our focus on fibre materials and
fibre processes.
Our plan is to work on large national project applications at a rate of one submitted per year. This
year, the MISTRA application coordinated by RISE Processum was such an application. For 2019, we
plan to continue by submitting two applications that we coordinate:
         An application for a Vinnova Competence Centre (VKC) from InFibra; this would count as
           a national program
         An application for an academic collaboration project to Knut and Alice Wallenberg
           Foundation (KAW) for catalytic processes in biorefinery; we count this as an excellence
           centre that shares expertise with InFibra
If approved, these programs will both begin in 2020. The next application for a national project is
planned to be prepared in EISS during 2020 and propose a SSF excellence centre that would start in
2021. The exact timing is of course determined by the calls that SSF opens. By this time, we believe
that the KK Profile NIIT has started so that we can use it to strengthen the application to SSF.
The increasing collaboration with RISE ICT and RISE Processum will increase our chances especially
in national innovation programs. This is clear for example in the case of SIP BioInnovation where most
of large projects are coordinated by RISE, a situation that is natural given the emphasis of innovation
(instead of research) in BioInnovation. Together with RISE, we will also apply for other large national
projects if suitable calls open that fit our strategy. If we succeed in winning such a project, it may
substitute one of the networking targets in Table 2. In addition to these plans, we will act together
with RISE ICT and RISE Processum when national calls open for suitable research, development and
innovation programs.

Scientific ambition and networking
By 2021, we want to achieve an aggregated H‐Index 25 and competitive research funding (“council
funding”) of SEK 5 million per year. As discussed in Ch. 3, we must improve our performance in
publications. We will use the following on‐going and new activities to reach this goal:
    ‐ Follow publications and publication plans of our research groups (new action) with a targeted
        minimum level of one publication per SEK 0.8 million in research funding (excluding industry
        in‐kind); once this target has been reached emphasis will be moved from volume to high‐
        impact journals (new priority order)
    ‐ Continue to recruit more high‐quality guest professors and continue to follow scientific
        missions of researchers; in both cases emphasise joint publications as one of the expected
        results (new)
    ‐ Emphasise the significance of academic potential in all recruitments (new)

                                                  15
Mid Sweden University                                                             Transformative Technologies

These same actions also help us to grow our competitive funding. In this case, we are better off.
Several research groups are planning joint applications with external academic partners, and with
time, Treesearch will increase academic collaborations. The KAW project above would alone secure
SEK 2 million per year in competitive funding.
In international collaborations, our goal is to reach SEK 8 million in international project funding and
10 international guest professors per year by 2021. Currently, we are on our way to reach both goals.
Some of the international contacts built this year increase the chances of winning research funding
from bi‐national programs (Sweden‐China and Sweden‐Finland). To make sure that we stay on the
right track, we will continue to follow how the indicators of international collaboration that started in
2015, but from now also at group level.
Interactions with other universities (such as guest professors and scientific missions) are very
important for improvement in scientific production, because not only can they result in joint
applications, but they can also improve the quality of research questions that we propose for funding.
Good research questions are far more important than maximizing the number of applications.

Industry networks and research institutes
Strong role in applications for large national collaboration projects is the most important new benefit
that we want to get from industry consortia and collaboration with research institutes. Table 2 shows
what large projects we have or aim to start in order to establish strong industry and institute
consortia. We do not include the plans for “excellence centres” (KAW and SSF) for, although industry
participation may be included, the focus is on academic partnerships. The most notable difference
from WP2018 is that the plan for a KK Profile in KM2 has been removed for reasons explained in Ch.
3. For EISS, the plan includes the large SIP project (IoT Hub within IoT Sweden) that begins next year,
and an upgraded proposal for a KK Research Profile (NIIT, in this Work Plan). The on‐going KK
Synergy projects in Table 2 are ASIS (in EISS), e2cmp (in InFibra), and LEAP (in KM2). Large
regional innovation platforms (SEK 30‐‐40 million in total volume) are in progress or planned in EISS,
XGeMS and KM2, with support from the European Regional Development Fund.
Increasing collaboration with especially RISE ICT and RISE Processum can strengthen all new
consortia planned in Table 2.

Table 2: Planned or on‐going projects with strong industry and institute consortia that can be used in proposals
for large national collaboration projects. SIP refers to a Strategic Innovation Program, VKC to a Vinnova
Competence Centre, and ERDF to regional innovation projects supported by funding the European Regional
Development Fund.

             2018                 2019                2020                 2021                 2022
 EISS        KK Synergy           KK Synergy ends     KK Profile begins    KK Profile           KK Profile
             ERDF                 ERDF ends           SIP Project          SIP Project ends
                                  SIP Project
 InFibra     KK Synergy           KK Synergy          VKC begins           VKC in progress or   VKC or
                                                      KK Synergy ends      KK Profile begins    KK Profile
 XGeMS                            ERDF begins         KK Synergy begins    KK Synergy           KK Synergy
                                                      ERDF                 ERDF                 ERDF
 KM2         KK Synergy           KK Synergy ends     ERDF                 Tentative: KK        KK Synergy
             ERDF                 New ERDF                                 Synergy              ERDF
                                                                           ERDF

                                                      16
Mid Sweden University                                                            Transformative Technologies

Research Program in 2019–2020
We summarise the main strategic elements of our plan for the Research Program in Fig. 6. Two of the
Strategic Actions, EISS and InFibra, have a clear plan forward, while the ambitions in the other three
will be developed further in 2019. The complete project portfolio as currently planned for 2019–2020 is
shown in Appendix 2.

Figure 6: The main elements of our plan for the Research Program. The yellow initiatives are in preparation
with a planned starting point, while the grey ones have not yet been initiated.

In EISS, the SIP Project IoT Hub has funding and will start next year and the KK Profile NIIT is
included in our proposal of new projects to the Knowledge Foundation. The KK Profile has a central
role in securing a strong industry consortium for the development of MIUN’s national position within
research on industrial Internet of Things. The exact focus of the SSF “Excellence centre” to be prepared
during 2020 will depend on the goals of SSF’s calls. For InFibra, the application to be submitted in the
beginning of 2019 for a Vinnova Competence Centre (VKC) would include companies, national and
international professors, and institutes, and would thus count directly as a national collaboration
project that is our goal. If not granted, the plan for a VKC will become a good starting point for a KK
Profile application in WP2021. If the plans are approved, they will make a strong contribution to the
fulfilment of the 4‐year plan.
In XGeMS and KM2, the focus next year’s plan is in regional innovation platforms (cf. ERDF in Table
2) that engage large numbers of industrial and public sector companies. The decisions have been
delayed, but at least one of these is expected to start this year or early next year. On the national level,
we want to develop XGeMS and KM2 increasingly in collaboration with RISE ICT and aim for a clear
role in existing national innovation programs. In XGeMS, we are also preparing an improved KK
Synergy for inclusion in next year’s proposal to the Knowledge Foundation.
As we noted in Ch. 3, it is important that we have strong academic research in Engineering Physics
and in Surface and Colloid Chemistry, as well as continue the research of very good scientific impact
in Organic Chemistry/Catalysis. In 2019 and 2020, five PhD projects at TransTech are planned to start
that belong to the national platform Treesearch. Their strategic impact will be in academic visibility
and academic collaborations. The application to the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW)
would have the same effect.

                                                      17
You can also read