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More internationalisation and being a key bridge builder in national energy dialogue

Four people in a news studio.
During the semester, we have contributed more than before in debates and dialogues about energy supply, as above in Nyhetsmorgon on TV4. Photo/printscreen
Published May 25, 2022

Here at the Energy Platform, we have strengthened and grown our international contact network during the year. We have also actively participated in national debates and dialogues throughout the spring. With the help of new contacts and knowledge, we are building bridges between disciplines and sectors that are helping to develop a sustainable society. 

In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that as energy researchers we have a vital role to play in society. The war in Ukraine has shocked us all. To see war in Europe again is unexpected and worrying. The current geopolitical situation has highlighted the vulnerability of our systems and supply chains. Much attention has also focused on the supply of energy. 

Energy supply soon became a critical issue in the context of the war and in the more long-term development of a sustainable society of the future. This has created a need for more knowledge about energy supply and as energy researchers we have been repeatedly called upon to provide our expertise. The fact that we have been able to contribute in this way has been very positive and in the long run will accelerate the necessary adjustment of our energy system. 

Once again, this term included a large number of inspirational meetings. In March, we welcomed a study group of energy researchers from eight different universities in Cuba. They were given an excellent presentation of our energy research and took with them new contacts and ideas that will help them develop their society in a sustainable direction. 

We also organised a large digital workshop that brought together more than 100 energy researchers from KTH and Kyushu University in Japan. This was a very successful meeting in which knowledge was exchanged and contacts made that will play a meaningful role in future research collaborations between our countries.  

The Energy Platform was also an integral part of a KTH delegation that travelled to the US in May. We provided scientific content for presentations held at the Swedish Embassy in Washington and made a study visit to Purdue University and SAAB’s new factory in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University conducts widely respected research and is often ranked third among US universities after Harvard and Berkley, and could become an important partner of ours in the future. 

Useful company contacts were also made during the trip, and it gave KTH a chance to identify shared goals for new interdisciplinary projects in which energy research may become a key component.

We also welcomed a group of Swedish parliamentarians to KTH under the auspices of the Swedish Society of Parliamentarians and Researchers (Rifo). The aim of the event was to build bridges between researchers and members of parliament to better support their work with facts and knowledge. 

The energy sector is currently facing an enormous need to recruit people, and to meet that need, it is crucial that we work with greater diversity. So, together with the Kraftkvinnor association, we are planning a seminar this autumn that will inspire and inform about the job opportunities that exist in the energy sector. This will also be an opportunity for the sector to increase its attractiveness and the extent to which it collaborates with actors. 

This year’s Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) 100 List included five KTH projects , including Green Grids Flex . The list brings together research projects that are judged to have considerable potential to benefit from commercialisation, business and method development or societal impact. This year’s list highlights the substantial potential of new innovations and start-ups based on our research. The Energy Platform will therefore strengthen its efforts this year to support researchers who want to commercialise their discoveries as part of contributing to societal development.

I am already participating as a jury member in the Startup 4 Climate  innovation competition, which is organised by GodEl and Ellevio. I am also a member of the nomination committee for Polhemspriset

Unfortunately, Sweden’s energy supply is under pressure. Reliability of supply has worsened and now there is a need for greater competence and knowledge to reverse this trend. This shows that the Energy Platform has an increasingly decisive role to play in the development of a sustainable society. We are politically independent, fact-based and will be able to provide relevant knowledge in the future. 

We have therefore made a major commitment to be involved in a large number of dialogues, especially in the media, as an independent actor. We have made a significant contribution as a bridge builder between business, politics and academia, where we have also been able to act against polarisation between different actors. 

Another approach to explaining energy research and its challenges is the anthology that the Energy Platform has produced in collaboration with Public & Science. The book is aimed at the general public and is currently being finalised. 

Lastly, don’t forget to book this year’s KTH Energy Dialogue , which kicks off on 17 November. Once again, we will meet on the KTH campus to strengthen our collaborations and together create a more inclusive and welcoming sector. 

Wishing you a wonderful summer with room for gatherings and discussions!

Lina Bertling Tjernberg