New PhD student with sustainability in focus

New PhD student with sustainability in focus

Wed 29 Sep 11:20

From upbringing in Uppsala via studies at Chalmers, cabin crew work in the mountains and work in the automotive industry, the move is now going to Jämtland and the doctoral position at Sports Tech Research Centre.

Doktorand Louisa Swenne i fjällmiljö

Already at the end of her studies in Technical Design at Chalmers, the idea of a doctorate was raised, but Louisa chose to step out into working life and started working in the automotive industry at Volvo Trucks. After three years with product development of keypads in truck cabins and looking for work in the north, the stars were right.

- When I got the opportunity to do research about sports and outdoor products in combination with sustainability, it was not a difficult choice. I look forward to deepening my knowledge and contributing with new knowledge in the field. But of course, it’s a challenge to change from industry and adapt to the university world again, says Louisa with the glimpse in the eye.

What do you research about?

I participate in the Mistra Sport & Outdoors research and collaboration programme, which aims to generate knowledge and solutions for increased sustainability in sport and outdoor recreation.

My focus is products, making used sports and outdoor products more attractive for both sellers and buyers. We will test new and old products in our material testing lab to see how the function changes over time. To gain access to products, we work together with different companies. There are already some major companies on their way in which is fun! This shows that there is an interest in this type of issue in industry. Then we will also examine how users experience new and old products. Is it the case that second-hand products are better than what we actually feel they are?

Finally, we hope to develop a methodology for assessing and categorising used sports and outdoor products. We see that more and more companies in the industry start with “refurbish”. They take back their own used products to wash and repair them before assessing, categorising and selling them again. Companies assess and categorise the products differently today, developing a standardised methodology for this could facilitate and make it easier for more companies to start with refurbish.

Why is it important?

It is clear that we have limited resources and need to switch to more circular business models. The second-hand market for sports and outdoor products is growing as it crumbles and more and more companies are starting with initiatives such as refurbish. The transition in this area is already underway and will continue to go fast, therefore it feels important to be able to contribute with knowledge.

What is sustainability in equipment for you?

Products with high quality! To take care of them and use them for as long and as much as possible, nothing should lie in the closet as garbage.