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Denise McCluskey will manage the IRIS project

Published Nov 11, 2020

Hi Denise McCluskey, new program manager in the overall school initiative IRIS (Research Initiative on Sustainable Industry and Society). Tell us about IRIS, what is it?

“ In short, it is about meeting the challenges within industry and society when switching to sustainable alternatives, and the topics might include anything from new business models to new materials. At KTH, and especially at ITM, there’s a lot of technology and research that can accelerate the transition and solve its challenges. The IRIS initiative will compile the departments' knowledge and build a holistic view where we work together across departmental and research boundaries.”

Why do you want to project manage this?

” I like big and complex tasks. Here I get to gather expertise and different perspectives and try to get them to solve problems together, I like that kind of challenge.”

Denise McCluskey, new Program Manager for IRIS

Tell us a little about your background

” Right now I am head of the Center for X-Rays in Swedish Material Science (CeXS), and I have a degree in applied physics.”

What will you do as a Program Manager?

” This initiative is divided into four research areas, each involving 2-3 units at the ITM school and led by one or two coordinators. My job will be to work together with the coordinators to get an overall picture of what is going on and connect activities, industrial projects and research, and ensure that what we do turns into societal benefits.

In addition, I will be a support in administrative matters. Initially, IRIS will take up 60% of my time, and when work routines are more established, I’ll go down to 40%.”

Your strengths in this role?

” I have a broad understanding of technology and have a way of systems thinking to benefit from. Among other things, I understand how to connect technology with organizational theories and innovation and connect it to a fruitful whole.”

What will be your first task?

” IRIS started last year, so first and foremost I will meet all the coordinators to see what’s going on, map out their challenges and see what I can help with.”

Do you see any challenges in this role?

” The challenge is about bridging the research areas. It is a challenge but also the big opportunity here. I look forward to see how it develops. Digitization in industry, for example, has only just begun, there is a lot to do here. Nothing changes overnight, but it is important to move forward.”

Text: Anna Gullers


The goal of IRIS is to create strong research environments at the ITM school, and to stimulate new collaborations within and outside the school. IRIS represents a unique opportunity to establish the school at the forefront in research on sustainable industry and society.