We meet up with Anna Hall, Program Director for Big Science Sweden, an organization that recently moved in to Ideon.
Hello Anna, can you tell me about Big Science Sweden, who are you and what do you do?
“Big Science Sweden is the official Swedish ILO-organization, helping Big Science facilities across the world find Swedish suppliers. We help Swedish companies to become suppliers of advanced equipment and qualified services for research facilities across the world. We are an arena where people meet, networks are created and business is being done. We build relationships with procurement officers and people who work with technology development at research centers around Europe.”
“The goal is to get more companies to invest in Big Science. We are working hard to understand the challenges of the facilities, and then enable Swedish industry as potential suppliers and partners to solve the challenges. We organize workshops to discuss challenges that industry and academia have, and here we also have representatives from research facilities present. We are like a connector between industry, academy and facilities.”
“It is unique that Vinnova, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth have joined forces to fund a venture. We are a consortium that works nationally, where Teknikföretagen (the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries), IUC Syd, Chalmers, Lund University, Uppsala University, Luleå University, RISE, Swerea and Region Skåne are involved.”
When you say Big Science, what do you mean?
“Large scale research facilities. An example is CERN, which was created in the 50’s as a European cooperation project. It was at CERN that the world-wide web was invented in 1989 because they needed to structure their data. This is an example of a spin off-effect that came from a large-scale research facility. Who knows what will come from MAX IV and ESS?”
There is much talk about exciting research that can be done at MAX IV and ESS, but what benefits can the industry have from the facilities?
“We usually talk about upstream and downstream. Doen-stream is about using the facility, where the results are owned by the researchers. Up-stream is about the work in and around a facility, such as designing, building and upgrading a facility. This innovation force has now come to Lund.”
“Many times, groundbreaking technologies are needed in order to make the research facilities work. One example is ESS, which will have 1.7 million checkpoints. This may require artificial intelligence and machine learning to control the facilities. We need to find the right processes to take advantage of the facilities and what we learn from building them in Lund and to make the most of the innovative power here. We want to find ways to take an innovation and commercialize it. Ideon has an important role in this work.”
You have moved into Ideon Open, what was the reason for moving in here?
“Ideon and Lund are a natural place for us to be located in, especially as ESS and MAX IV are here. We can use the premises at Ideon Open to host meetings and workshops near the facilities. Both ESS and MAX IV work a lot with in-kind deliveries and we want to see how it can be transferred to local suppliers, so we build national knowledge.”
“Lund is an attractive place and Ideon is an important arena where companies and people can meet and grow together. Ideon has four focus areas, where smart materials are an important part. Ideon also has the task to drive business development and to support companies that want to develop innovative materials, so we see many opportunities for cooperation. Beyond (Ideon Open’s corporate accelerator) where they run innovation projects is also interesting to us. One of our goals is to drive high technology development and innovation projects, here we can get support from Beyond and Ideon Open.”
What are you working on right now?
“At the moment we are working closely with the facilities to understand their challenges, so that we can match them with the right industries. We are a new organisation and are setting up our processes. We do many study visits, even to other facilities. On April 10-11, we are planning for a study visit to DESY / EXFL in Hamburg. Let us know if you are interested in joining!”