IFUS – Innovation oriented research and education within sensor technology

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In this project, targeted actions will be implemented in order to reinforce research, technological development and innovation among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Mid Nordic region. The actions are focused to a selected group of SMEs with great potential for innovation but with limited ability to independently carry out necessary research and technological development within sensor technology.

A reinforcement of research and innovation in the selected companies will be achieved through an extensive sharing of knowledge and resources between researchers, PhD, Master and Bachelor students from the academic environments Mid Sweden University and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) together with researchers and engineers at the participating Mid Nordic companies. The overall experience, expertise and infrastructure in this constellation is crucial for the implementation of the targeted actions, which will result in new or improved products and services, improved production methods and, in a longer perspective, a reduction of energy consumption and environmental impact. The project also contributes to enhance the cross-border cooperation between the Norwegian and the Swedish academia and businesses, thereby enhancing the conditions for the formation of a joint Mid Nordic innovation environment within sensor technology.

Background

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Mid Nordic region have limited opportunities to take part in the rapid international technological developments. This can, for many of these companies, lead to reduced competitiveness and a difficulty to maintain or increase growth. One crucial reason is that research and development is often associated with large costs as for SMEs are hard to prioritize. R&D partnerships with the region's academic environment is a resource-effective way for many SMEs to increase the level of research and innovation and ultimately lead to sustainable regional growth.

There are several centers on both sides of the Norwegian and Swedish border (STC, NCEI, FOV) with a network of companies that cooperate in research, education and innovation. In addition to these regional networks a cooperation across the border could result in a larger network with more opportunities to create new innovations and a more efficient use of infrastructure and skills. The first steps to form a common central Nordic innovation environment in the rapidly expanding area sensor technology has been made by the previous inter-regional project “Limitless environment for innovation, research and education” (GIFU - Gränslös miljö för innovation, forskning och utbildning, 2012-2014).

The project resulted in a number of new partnerships between the Norwegian and Swedish business community and the academic environment as well as investments in increased knowledge in targeted group of young people and especially young women. The experience of GIFU shows that more focused and targeted efforts are needed to increase the level of research and innovation at the Mid Nordic region's SMEs, and this can be done more effectively if efforts are coordinated between the academic environments Miun, NTNU and the Norwegian and Swedish businesses. Activities under this project will be focused on a specific selected target group of SMEs with great potential for innovation but with limited ability to independently carry out necessary research and technological development in sensor technology.

Objectives

- Strengthening research, technological development and innovation for small and medium enterprises in the Mid Nordic region.

- To coordinate efforts in engineering education, research and innovation in collaboration with the Norwegian/Swedish business sector and thereby form a common Mid Nordic innovation environment in sensor technology.