One-year old TECoSA creates new spaces for collaboration
The Vinnova Centre TECoSA (Center for Trustworthy Edge Computing Systems and Applications) was officially started almost exactly one year ago. Director Martin Törngren and chairman Catrin Granbom tell more about TECoSA’s first year, and about working during unusual circumstances.
You started almost at the same time as the pandemic broke out. What has it been like to establish a centre completely digitally?
Martin: In summary, it has been both exciting and challenging. The pandemic has forced us to be creative in starting up and shaping our consortium. The extreme level of digitalization has, of course, accelerated the shift towards new ways of working and we have learned a great deal.
What do you think has become different because of the circumstances?
Martin: On the positive side, we have learned to work with digitalization and are now well prepared for better conditions, allowing both digital and physical meetings. The big challenge has been to get people to get to know each other. But on the other hand, this led us to create TECoSA Research Forum in order to make informal meetings possible. It involves interactive sessions with a lot of ”breakout” exercises on themes such as culture, communication and ”researchers' DNA”. The forum is now open to the whole consortium.
How has the collaboration between KTH and partners worked during the year?
Catrin: It has worked very well, with good planning from KTH's side. We solve common problems that arise, such as how to support small and medium-sized companies. Vinnova's leadership program has also been rewarding, with ”best practices” from other competence centres. Overall, there has been a positive and innovative spirit.
Is there still something you would like to improve?
Catrin: We want to become better at spreading information about our activities, and at understanding who we reach that way. We have many very large participating organizations. How we make TECoSA and its activities visible, in order to achieve a broader commitment, is something we must work on both within KTH and with industry. The past year has been special, so this should be easier in the future when we can meet.
Have you had time to get any results?
Catrin: Yes, we have. About 10 research articles have already been accepted and we have launched a special initiative for small and medium-sized companies. And – perhaps above all – we have built the consortium, much thanks to our Research forum.
What are you planning next?
Martin: We want to involve new members. Several companies have shown interest in becoming members in TECoSA, and we will now follow up with them. We also want to get our testbeds in place.
Text & illustration: Alexandra von Kern