Photo of Tomohiko Sakao

Tomohiko Sakao


Developing theories applicable into practice and disseminating cutting-edge insights into industry is at the heart of my research and teaching. I am internationally recognised expert in Ecodesign and Product/Service System.

Sustainable Product and Service System – Crucial for matured economy 

Environmental problems and resource scarcities are growing issues. Innovative ways of providing products and services are needed in order to enhance the global competitiveness of industry in developed countries. Therefore Ecodesign and Product/Service System (PSS) are areas I am interested in, besides I am internationally well recognized and have a strong influence in the research field.

Integrating services with products has become attractive to industry as it could give competitive edge and provides higher value and higher margin – called Sustainable Product/Service Systems (S-PSS). The idea is to make it possible for a firm to increase both profits and customer values while decoupling the economic growth from the environmental impact. S-PSS logically needs to address business models of a firm as well. Since the 1990s, S-PSS has been expected as one of the most effective instruments for moving our society towards a resource-efficient, circular economy.

Development of new scientific insights 

Together with my colleagues I have developed scientific methods that have been utilized and implemented at various manufacturing companies in countries like Sweden, Japan, and Germany. One is called Quality Function Deployment for Environment (QFDE) aiming at effective and efficient incorporation of environmental aspects into product development with extending Quality Function Deployment. Another method called SPIPS (Customer-Oriented Solution Provider – through Integrated Product and Service Development) addresses service (maintenance, repair, overhaul, etc.) aspects in product development. It was among the first developed methods for that purpose. I have written a guidebook for Ecodesign with QFDE being the main method and disseminated QFDE into a number of manufacturers. Implementation of methods in practice as well as knowledge dissemination to industry is an important part of my research. 

My research is financed by European Union, Mistra (The Swedish foundation for strategic environmental research), Siemens, Sveriges Ingenjörer (The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers), Tekniska verken in Linköping, Toyota, and VINNOVA (The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems). 

I am also holding 10 patents in mechatronics control and intelligent machinery. 

Outstanding Researcher in Ecodesign and Product/ Service System

I joined LiU as the Swedish engineers’ (Sveriges Ingenjörer) Environmental Professor in 2007 and have been active in both carrying out projects with industry and publishing academic articles. I have published the highest number of articles in the PSS area worldwide, which is clear evidence of my academic influence and expertise in the field.

Since 2016, I have been elected as Associate Member of CIRP (The International Academy for Production Engineering).

After studying at the University of Tokyo, I worked at Mitsubishi Research Inst., Inc. in Tokyo for 8 full years, where I gained valuable industry experience before beginning my academic career.

Brief facts about me

CV in short

  • Honorary Visiting Researcher, The University of Tokyo, Japan, 2002 – Present.
  • Guest Researcher, Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany, 2005 – 2007.
  • Researcher, Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc., Japan, 1998 – 2005, 2007.
  • Research Assistant, The University of Calgary, Canada, 1996.
  • Ph.D. in Precision Machinery Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 1995 – 1998.
  • Master of Engineering in Precision Machinery Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 1993 – 1995.
  • Bachelor of Engineering in Precision Machinery Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 1989 – 1993.


  • The Young Scientists’ Prize, The Commendation for Science and Technology, by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan, 2009.
  • Grant for Environmental Professorship, by The Swedish Engineers Association, 2007- 2009.
  • Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme, 2005 - 2007.


  • Responsible for Resource Efficient Products (TKMJ29), which is about Ecodesign.
  • Involved in Integrated Product Service Engineering (TKMJ32), which is about PSS.

Missions of trust

  • Associate Editor for Sustainable Organizations Section of Frontiers in Sustainability.
  • Project proposal evaluation for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK.
  • Editorial Board member of Designs (ISSN 2411-9660).
  • Advisory Board member for Journal of APBITM (Asia Pacific Business Innovation and Technology Management) (ISSN: 2094-2257).
  • Examination committees to 15 Ph.D. theses (in Sweden, Germany, UK, France, etc.)

Invited keynote presentations in international conferences

  • T. Sakao: What, why and how of PSS (product/service system) for environmental sustainability, An invited keynote speech at 2021 European Conference on Industrial Engineering & Operations Management, August 2-5, 2021, online.
  • T. Sakao: What is PSS design? – Explained with two industrial cases, An invited plenary speech at 2011 International (European) Conference on Asia Pacific Business Innovation and Technology Management, October 2 - 4, 2011, Lausanne. 
  • T. Sakao: Integrated Development of Technology and Business Model: A Discipline beyond Ecodesign and PSS Design toward Sustainability, An invited plenary speech at 2010 International Conference on Asia Pacific Business Innovation and Technology Management, January 24-26, 2010, Cebu, Philippines.




Johan Vogt Duberg, Tomohiko Sakao (2024) Supporting the Transformation to Access-Based Business Models in a Circular Economy with a Practical Model for Calculating the Costs of the Provider Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering. Volume 52: Sustainable Production through Advanced Manufacturing, Intelligent Automation and Work Integrated Learning, p. 532-542 Continue to DOI


Tomohiko Sakao, Cheryl Desha, Ilija Djekic, Claudio Favi, Olawale Emmanuel Olayide, Magdalena Ziolo, Jussi Kantola, María Jesús Muñoz-Torres, Ubiratã Tortato, Jordi Segalas, Krzysztof Urbaniec, Ernesto D. R. Santibanez-González, Maria Francesca Renzi, Stefan Seuring, Rodrigo Lozano (2023) Scoping good papers for organizations' sustainability in management and engineering research Frontiers in Sustainability, Vol. 4 Continue to DOI
Tomohiko Sakao, Paulina Golinska-Dawson, Johan Vogt Duberg, Erik Sundin, José Hidalgo Crespo, Andreas Riel, Jef Peeters, Aaron Green, Fabrice Mathieux (2023) Product-as-a-service for critical raw materials: challenges, enablers, and needed research Going Green: CARE INNOVATION
Tomohiko Sakao, Wisdom Kanda, John Laurence Esguerra, Anthony Shun Fung Chiu (2023) Beyond the global north: Adopting a global perspective for sustainable consumption and production Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 193, Article 106965 Continue to DOI
Paulina Golinska-Dawson, Tomohiko Sakao, Erik Sundin, Karolina Werner-Lewandowska (2023) Challenges and research issues for remanufacturing in PaaS from theory to industry perspective



Autumn at the Campus Valla and bikes.

Research at IEI holds a high standard

Stanford University has recently released an updated list of the top two percent most cited researchers globally, and it is gratifying to note that once again, several distinguished researchers from IEI are represented on the list.

Digital threads built on AI in a new research project

Linköping University, Volvo Construction Equipment, Bosch Thermoteknik, Mälardalen University, and Addiva are joining forces to advance resource efficiency and promote a circular economy in the Swedish manufacturing industry.

A figure.

Five LiU projects on the IVA 100 list

Five research projects from Linköping University are included in the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), 100 list this year.

Coworkers at the PSI unit