The sign intends to call attention to Swedish industry as the best in the world again
It is a sign of the times that the KTH Royal Institute of Technology is again becoming visible in Södertälje with a new sign. Increasingly complex industrial production means that the relocation of companies to low-wage countries has stopped. New technology and democratic production processes can make Swedish industry the best in the world again.
One of KTH’s contributions in this development is the new campus that opened in Södertälje almost a year ago.
Kristina Palm, Head of the Department of Sustainable Production Development, how is it going in Södertälje?
- Since the beginning of the new campus, we’ve had 600 students. We have programmes for a Master of Science in Industrial Technology and Sustainability, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology and Production Maintenance. For autumn 2019, we’re beginning a Master’s programme in Sustainable Production Development. We’re also getting a new start of a joint engineering bachelor’s and technical teaching programme. We also offer the engineering foundation year programme and contract education.
And in research?
- We have employed three professors, two associate professors, one assistant professor and one doctoral student and we have one externally employed doctoral student from AstraZeneca. And more are on the way in. We have grants for research in production logistics, production management and strategic maintenance. Today, we have around 40 employees and will grow to 90 in the longer term.
What challenges have you had?
- The recruitment of new students. It’s hard to get them to come to Södertälje. We’re not alone in having a challenge of attracting talent. Scania also has a challenge recruiting people to Södertälje. The long-term goal is 1,200 students.
Previously, Swedish industry, well industry in the entire Western World, moved to low-wage countries. What is it like now?
- Now, the moves are going more in the opposite direction. The more complex the production is, the more technical know-how is needed. And in order to develop and manufacture faster, democratic processes, working in teams, is very efficient. We’re good at this in Sweden.
- Our large international companies are far ahead in this area. KTH Södertälje can contribute to developing and spreading knowledge both to the research domain and to other companies in Sweden. We have an important mission.
Text: Mats Paulsen