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Innovation an even greater focus when universities are compared internationally

One always relevant question is what is a university with a high reputation measured on. Research and education are the main tasks of a university and naturally the first things that are compared. Collaboration is something we like to talk about here in Sweden, not least from a political direction.

One very common assertion is that universities should increase the optimisation of their research in particular and that this should be enabled by greater collaboration. This should absolutely not be underestimated and valuable initiatives are performed, but sometimes it would seem that collaboration in itself is more important than what it actually results in, however. Being able to measure the value of collaboration in some way is also difficult, if perhaps not even possible.

How do things look internationally? There too, education and research weigh heaviest, but one tendency that appears to be growing ever stronger is a sharply increased focus on the innovation capacity of a university. This is a recurring theme in association with international meetings where different approaches are compared and university managements almost compete to be successful.

As Vice President for Global Relations, I take great pride in KTH’s ability in this respect. KTH is not the biggest but is one of the very best and I always include a couple of images in my presentations of KTH. We have an innovation support system that works very well and successfully that is aimed at all KTH people, from researchers to students and that each year provides support to over 300 new proposals to develop their ideas. KTH Innovation is quite simply world class.

It is therefore incredibly pleasing that the KTH Innovation Award has been established with the support of several of our most successful innovators. This genuinely underlines KTH’s high ambitions when it comes to innovation. The award winner will receive SEK 500,000 and there is still time to nominate candidates at One requirement is that candidates must have a connection with KTH.