In a recent guest editorial article in SvD about the climate threat and the impact of its counter-measures on our economy it is argued that we are facing huge costs (in the range of thousands of billions of dollars) while still not even coming close to the 1.5 degree target. This is not surprising given the fact that 81,4% (2015, source www.iea.org) of the global energy production is based on fossil fuels. Adding to this that the positive trend of electrification still suffers from the fact the 66% (2015, source www.iea.org) of the global electricity supply comes from fossil fuels. The climate change is obviously a threat but we must view it as a challenge for education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Even though the huge cost estimates above are very imprecise they also imply a huge need and room for innovation and entrepreneurship. And for sure digitalization will – if wisely utilized – be an important tool in this necessary societal transformation towards sustainability.
Education and research at ITM is broad and of course not all activities are directly related to sustainability but if you start to categorize what is actually being done it will become clear that a lot of what we do has elements of and relations to the different sustainability goals. This is a good basis for realizing the ambitious plans manifested in the ITM Development Plan 2018-2023 (intra.kth.se/itm/dokument/handlingsplaner). As usual, the School has during the fall proposed new initiatives and “negotiated” with KTH management about these initiatives. For KTH as whole based on discussions with and between all five Schools, the result is documented in the “Verksamhetsplan för KTH 2019”. More specifically for ITM, the School has identified four thematic and interdepartmental areas where a larger part of the negotiated resources will be spent. These are:
- Industrial transformation through digitalisation, renewable energy and circular economy
- Integrated mechanics, components and materials design including additive manufacturing
- Sustainable energy systems: Technical and business perspectives
- Innovation eco-systems, innovation management and entrepreneurship
During an ITM management meeting in December it was decided how these areas will be operated and led. Early 2019 more information will come.
Finally I conclude that education and research is always, and for obvious reasons, communicated as our core activities. However, without professional administrative support we would not be able to deliver according to what society expects. I wish everyone Happy Holidays, but this year with a little extra emphasis to all of you who are providing support to our teaching and research staff/students.
Let´s meet in January 2019 with new energy and fresh ideas!