LiU to host centre for Swedish aeronautic research

Swedish aeronautic research is now gathered in a common centre, SARC – the Swedish Aeronautic Research Center. The centre will be hosted by the Department of Management and Engineering at LiU. Top of its list of priorities is to establish a joint graduate school.

Kick-off SARCKick-off SARC Photo credit: Ingo StaackSARC, which was recently opened in a joint ceremony between Linköping University and the Swedish Air Force Museum, has a budget of SEK 12 million for the coming four years. The financing is from Innovair, one of the first strategic research initiatives set up by the Swedish government.

Innovair in turn receives its financing from Vinnova and the Swedish Armed Forces.
The money is to be used to operate the centre and to start several joint activities, one of these being a graduate school.

Closer collaboration

“It is our goal to strengthen academic collaboration. We want to present a united image to those who provide the financing and to our international partners. We want our different research areas to work together more closely, and closer collaboration with industry”, says Dan Henningsson, professor at the Royal Institute of Technology and director of the centre during its first year of operation, 2018.

Dan HenningssonDan Henningsson Photo credit: Ingo StaackIn particular, the research centre is to be an arena for greater academic collaboration with, for example, Brazil and Great Britain.
Dan Henningsson points out that one factor of Sweden’s competitiveness in the field of aviation is the fact that the complete innovation chain is intact, from basic research to commercial products. Closer academic collaboration can further increase our competitiveness.

The improved collaboration has already given results. In an opinion piece published in the Swedish national daily Dagens Nyheter at the start of June, researchers from the three universities show that intermediate landings are an effective way to reduce emissions from the aviation industry, and a more eco-friendly alternative than an aviation tax.
“We could have written that article a year ago”, says Dan Henningsson.

Rotating directorship

The post of director is to circulate around Dan Henningsson, Royal Institute of Technology, Tomas Grönstedt, Chalmers, and Petter Krus, LiU. The chair of SARC’s board of directors is programme director at Innovair, Anders Blom from FOI, who told those assembled for the opening why he believes that an aeronautical research centre is necessary:

Anders BlomAnders Blom Photo credit: Ingo Staack“SARC is to be an arena for Swedish academic aeronautical research, open for all interested parties within the academic world. The centre is to support and facilitate relationships with others who are working in innovation systems for aviation, and will give Sweden a strong voice in international forums, both within and beyond the EU.
The centre is also needed to ensure the supply of expertise in some high-priority areas.”

High expectations

Innovair has placed high expectations on SARC. The centre is to:
• work to develop competitive programmes of education at all levels
• establish contact with all relevant parties and enter into stable collaborations. Further, it is to create teams that can collaborate with others to compete for EU-wide research grants.
• work together with cluster leaders from Saab and GKN (previously Volvo Aero, which was purchased by the British concern GKN) and arrange meetings between the relevant parties in the clusters
• contribute surveys of research and propose orders of priority for aeronautical research programmes in the future. (The National Aeronautics Research Programme (NFFP) is now in its seventh round, 2017-2022, and was responsible in the first call for proposals for the distribution of SEK 180 million).
• play a role in the international activities of Innovair.

Per-Olof BrehmerPer-Olof Brehmer Photo credit: Ingo StaackOthers were quick to welcome the foundation of the centre: Stefan Andersson from Saab in Linköping, Patrik Johansson from GKN in Trollhättan, Per-Olof Brehmer, head of department at the Department of Management and Engineering at LiU, and Carl Rosén from the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.

A long-awaited initiative

The opening ceremony of SARC was attended by around 100 people from the academic world, industry and the armed forces, together with researchers from Brazilian universities and collaboration partners. It was followed by a two-day workshop with discussions of not only the graduate school but also joint projects and industrial collaboration.

Petter KrusPetter Krus Photo credit: Ingo Staack“We’ve been waiting a long time for this centre. We hope that it will improve the structure of research collaboration in Sweden, in particular by the creation of a network for doctoral students. And, of course, it’s very gratifying that LiU is host for the centre”, says Petter Krus, professor in the Division of Fluid and Mechatronic Systems, and organiser, together with his colleagues from the division, of the first SARC workshop.

Petter Krus will take the position of centre director in 2020.

Translation George Farrants

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