Södertälje secures sustainable industrial expertise
Södertälje will deliver engineers and doctors who have sustainability in their DNA. With two new education programmes starting this autumn, KTH’s southernmost campus is now fully equipped to produce graduates who will be the workforce of the future.
– Sustainability is critical to all of us, but it’s still a word that can have no substance. Those of us who educate and conduct research in the field of sustainable production must make the concept tangible so that we can contribute to the necessary transformation, says Monica Bellgran, one of KTH Södertälje’s three new professors in Production.
– Those who will graduate from our campus will have sustainability in their DNA, regardless of whether they develop products, processes or new production technology. With climate as our biggest global challenge, engineers are a part of the solution.
Just over a year has passed since KTH’s new campus in Södertälje was officially inaugurated. Research under the three professorships has taken off, and doctoral students and senior researchers are starting to take their places. The common theme in Södertälje is “sustainable production”. As the term suggests, the idea is to use education and research to make manufacturing industry more sustainable.
– What attracts me to Södertälje is the opportunity to build something completely new and to work in close collaboration with Scania, AstraZeneca and other companies in the region on production research. For me, it’s motivating to see industrial needs becoming industrial benefits, says Monica Bellgran.
There is plenty of production in Södertälje and sustainability is something no company can afford to overlook. Everyone wants to produce their products more efficiently, more energy- and resource-effectively and with a higher quality – a good foundation for KTH’s ambitions.
The idea of a campus in Södertälje is also about securing the supply of skilled labour for the two world-leading companies AstraZeneca and Scania – both masters in production and with a substantial focus on sustainability in their business models. The companies have more than 20,000 employees in Södertälje.
– Together they account for 5-10 per cent of Sweden’s exports. It goes without saying that it will be important for the entire Swedish economy that these companies can recruit competent employees if they are to continue to be competitive.
Lean Centre (Leancentrum) in Södertälje also operates under KTH’s umbrella. It is a competence centre that collaborates with and educates small and large companies as well as municipalities and county councils in their ‘Lean’ concept and in other production-related courses. The Lean Centre’s activities attract all industries – Sandvik, Rosendals Trädgård, Stora Enso, Distriktsveterinärerna and Saltå Kvarn are just a few examples of their clients since the start.
– The courses are very much appreciated and a good showcase for KTH. We can package our knowledge and get it out quickly via the Lean Centre. It is yet another way of working closely with our local and regional communities.
With a new international master’s programme in sustainable production development and the launch of combined education of graduate engineers/teachers in the autumn, additional pieces of the puzzle are falling into place in the expansion of KTH’s Södertälje initiative.
– There is a very positive pioneering spirit in Södertälje that I like. Everyone involved wants it to succeed and understands the importance of strengthening both the area itself and contributing to the long-term supply of competence for the industrial sector. It is crucial both for the region and Sweden.
Text and photo: Anna Gullers