New graduate school develops industrial ecosystem

Foric is a new research school at Mid Sweden University in close collaboration with the industry where the PhD-students will increase the competitiveness of participating companies. The 14 PhD-students started with a Kick-off seminar together with supervisors from academia and industry.


- The new graduate school helps to increase the competence at the companies that Mid Sweden University interact with by developing knowledge among employees and thereby increase their competitiveness, says Per Engstrand, program manager for Foric (Forest as a Resource Industrial Research College).

30 researchers and professors from different disciplines at Mid Sweden University are attached to the school. Up to 50 percent of the research is funded by the Knowledge Foundation and the rest by participating companies, which is an acknowledgment of the major interest from the industry. Key partners include forest industries such as SCA and Stora Enso. An equally important role has the recycling company Ragn-Sells, energy company Sundsvall Energy and the equipment supplier Valmet. SMEs who conduct research in measure technology, system modeling and new products such as PulpEye, Frontway and Sylvestris have a central role as well. The research school will also collaborate with other researchers from Skogforsk, Innventia, SLU and KTH.

- Foric is a clear example of the initiative power in our region linked to the new bioeconomy, says Mats Ullmar, head of BioBusiness Arena and CEO of Åkroken Science Park.

In early February the first joint conference were held in the resarch school. One of the main goal is to get companies to interact with each other and finding opportunities for cooperation between the PhD-students.

- We have very good experience in working with Mid Sweden University and their research schools from the past, and that is why we have chosen to enter in this project as well. Based on previous collaborations, we have seen that this is a very good way of working, says Folke Österberg, SCA Forest Products AB.

- The graduate school is a great addition to our own development and strengthens our expertise, says Karin Persson, SCA R & D Centre in Sundsvall. Our new doctoral student Hafizur Rahman will study how we can modify the fibre processes to obtain improved product properties of chemical pulp. He will do his studies in laboratory scale and full scale primarily at our facility, Östrand pulp mill.

Foric is scheduled to last for eight years. A total of 30 graduate students are planning to present an academic licentiate degree and ten of them have a plan to present a doctoral thesis. 14 PhD-Students start their research in 2015 and another 16 phD-students will start in 2016/2017.

Learn more about the different research projects in Foric on




Per Engstrand, program director Foric
+46 70-573 67 52

Olof Björkqvist, Coordinator Foric
+46 70-5913715

Participating companies and projects

Jonas Johansson, SCA Timber AB
"Sustainable wood chemistry and biochemistry-based treatment of wood"

Robert Norgren, Ragn-Sells AB                            
"New use of bio sludge from pulp and paper industry"

Bakhram Gaynullin, SenseAir AB
"Methane measurement system and analysis"

Mathias Lundberg, PulpEye AB
"Improved fines material control"

Hafizur Rahman, SCA Forest Products AB        
"Modified fibre process for improved final product properties"

Sinke Henshaw Osong, MoRe Research/MIUN
"Cost-effective nanolignocellulose as substitute for CMC in multi-layer fibre applications"

Anna-Karin Stengard, Sundsvall Energi AB
"Integrated energy solutions"

Mantex AB
"Inline calorimetry based on multi wavelength x-ray analysis"

Mats Paulsson, Sylvestris AB 
"Development of a domestic forest based tanning agent"

Magnus Larsson, Skogforsk AB
"Efficient wood supply logistics adopted to combinates including modern saw mills and bio-refineries"

Alexander Hedlund, Frontway                        
"Technical and economical systems modelling of a mechanical pulping based bio-refinery"

Elisabeth Björk, Innventia
"Fibrillar chemical pulp fines to enhance paper board strength"

Carl Moser, Valmet
"Industrially feasible methods for production of nanocellulose from chemical pulps"

Olof Ferritsius, Stora Enso
"Connecting high yield pulp properties with functional product properties"