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Pia Sandvik, CEO RISE

Working together for sustainable transformation

When society is exposed to crises such as pandemics, climate change and geopolitical tensions, it becomes increasingly important to work together to make the transition to a more sustainable society. The need for RISE has never been greater than it is now. RISE CEO Pia Sandvik gives a summary.

How would you summarise the past year?

‘An eventful year during which we adapted to new ways of working and developed offerings to support Swedish industry and the public sector under the new circumstances brought about by the pandemic. There is no doubt that there is an urgent need for a green, digital transformation to promote sustainability and competitiveness. RISE has an important role to play in this regard.

‘During the year, we implemented measures to rationalise and strengthen RISE’s ability to meet challenges and be the driving force that the transition requires. For this reason, I am particularly proud that these activities have borne fruit, and that out of the difficulties of the pandemic in 2020, which led to a negative historical result, we have managed to turn the business around and can now present a positive operating profit of SEK 22 million.

‘As 2022 begins to unfold, it is in the shadow of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an event that naturally concerns us at RISE. For this reason, we have decided to immediately suspend all ongoing cooperation with Russian and Belarusian customers, suppliers and partners.’

Resilience and security of supply are words that are increasingly being brought to the fore. How can RISE contribute?

‘In recent years, RISE has invested in developing our ability to support society’s and industry’s ability to handle crises, for example through the strategic reinforcement area of Societal Security and Resilience. Through long-term building of knowledge in areas relevant to Swedish national defence, we want to ensure that our technical expertise, test and demo environments, and industry networks can support Sweden’s security of supply and national defence. Under the leadership of MSB and in collaboration with the Swedish Armed Forces, ABB, AB Volvo, SAAB and Mölnlycke Health Care, RISE is participating in a feasibility study concerning a model for flexible production aimed at strengthening Swedish security of supply.

‘In 2021, we saw how crises gave rise to a demand for RISE’s expertise to analyse everything from innovation and production capacity for vaccines and biopharmaceuticals to strategies for the semiconductor industry. The shortage of semiconductors in 2021 forced the Swedish manufacturing industry to halt production.’

RISE is in a unique position to accelerate the development of cybersecurity

RISE has created a Centre for Cybersecurity. What is its purpose?

‘We need to strengthen the ability to protect Swedish business and society. We have recently seen a global increase in attacks on critical infrastructure such as industry, public authorities and individuals. Digitalisation is in many ways an enabler for sustainable transformation, but it also increases the risk of infringements in the form of cyberattacks. With the Centre for Cybersecurity, we want to strengthen applied research and develop cybersecurity expertise in Sweden. Both industry and the public sector need a neutral partner that supports research, innovation, testing, networking and market development, from a European and international perspective.’

‘Another important asset is the new Cyber Range testbed, which enables us to simulate large-scale cyberattacks. Due to the increasing threat society is facing, we are now opening the testbed to selected actors, such as state companies and public authorities. Among other things, we will offer these actors a crash course in cybersecurity.’

More new testbeds were added during the year. Can you tell us about them?

‘Scaling up and testing new technologies is crucial for the industry to be able to change. In April, AstaZero opened the world’s longest indoor track for testing active safety systems and autonomous technologies for all types of vehicles. Another important milestone in the automotive industry’s transformation efforts was passed when the first phase of the construction of SEEL (Swedish Electric Transport Laboratory) began. SEEL will increase the Swedish automobile industry’s competitiveness, and contribute towards Sweden remaining at the cutting edge with regard to innovation within the transport sector.

‘As regards materials, we have established a unique facility for producing sustainable composites. Together with our investments in testbeds for biorefinery, this will accelerate the development of tomorrow’s sustainable products, and contribute to a renewal of Swedish industry. During the autumn, we also inaugurated an application centre for additive manufacturing to support the industry’s transition to sustainable production.’

How will RISE continue to strengthen the transition in business and society?

‘As new technologies emerge and society faces new challenges, competences and offers that are currently important for business and the public sector can quickly become obsolete. For this reason, we are continuously reassessing our investments and trying to anticipate the future needs of business. For example, we see an increasing need for efficient permit processes in order for Sweden to achieve the climate goals. With our broad and deep expertise, we have an important role to play in this regard and are now taking strategic initiatives. We are also working to establish strategic collaborations to promote skills development in key areas.’

‘Our 3,000 employees, with their high level of expertise and commitment, are the main key to success in achieving our important mission. I would like to say a big thank you to them and all our customers and partners who are working together to create new solutions for a sustainable future.’

Pia Sandvik, vd RISE

Published: 2022-04-01
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