How does the external environment impact research and innovation in lightweight technology? That was one question the professionals had to answer when the Lightweight Agenda, which RISE Research Institutes of Sweden is behind, was updated in 2022.
Lightweight technology – the development of materials, structures and manufacturing processes that lead to lighter weights – is an area of strength for Swedish industry. It is also a crucial factor in the development of sustainability and circularity, and for reducing our energy consumption. Advancing this field requires a joint strategy, and since 2013 this has been governed under the LIGHTer arena.
“This was the first time in this exciting and essential social project that RISE hired professionals who were not experts in lightweight tech, but in business intelligence,” says Pontus Fryk, a professional at CANEA Partner Group, which was awarded the assignment through Ework.
LIGHTer is divided into two parts: a member program on the one hand and the Lightweight Agenda, a strategic innovation and research agenda, on the other. The Lightweight Agenda starts from concrete needs developed by researchers and companies in a number of different industries. Behind the Agenda is RISE, Sweden’s research institute and innovation partner.
The first Lightweight Agenda was released in 2013, and has been updated every three years. The latest version was released in 2022, and for the first time included a thorough business intelligence report compiled by professionals who did not specialize in lightweight tech.
A successful partnership
The assignment to compile business intelligence fell to professionals Pontus Fryk and John Saldin of CANEA. It was an assignment they received through Ework, which linked up its client, RISE, with the CANEA consultancy where Pontus and John work.
“It was a truly unique and exciting assignment, especially due to the current global situation. In 2022 there was war in Europe, an energy crisis, the aftermath of the pandemic, inflation, and a trade war between the US and China,” Pontus Fryk says, and continues:
“There were several major events that impacted lightweight tech, and the need for innovation to reduce global energy consumption, in many ways.”
Key to Sweden’s success
For the professionals at CANEA, the assignment meant a chance to really get involved in an essential social project and something that has an impact on the future of all of Sweden.
“We are accustomed to working for both private companies and public operations, but what is unique about this project is that we had the opportunity to move around in the borderlands between industry and academia. It was also a pleasure to be part of a project that concerns Sweden’s future and competitiveness. Being part of making a difference,” says Pontus Fryk.
“It was a truly unique and exciting assignment, especially due to the current global situation. In 2022, there was war in Europe, an energy crisis, the aftermath of the pandemic, inflation, and a trade war between the US and China.”
Key areas for reaching the goals
Lightweight tech is a field where Swedish industry is strong, and it is also a field that is incredibly important for reaching the goals in Agenda 2030. Specifically, lightweight solutions can have an effective impact at several stages. For example, using lightweight materials in the construction industry also impacts transportation and access to materials, which affects both energy consumption and environmental footprint, making lightweight tech a vital component in the pursuit of enhancing energy efficiency in society.
The Lightweight Agenda sets out a long-term direction while facilitating shifts over the short term. Since its inception, LIGHTer has contributed to system transitions, global competitiveness and pioneering research.