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New research areas for a more sustainable future

Published: 5 November 2020

For a more sustainable future, it is necessary that both the trade and Industry and the society at large change. Two new cross-border areas at Luleå University of Technology – Creaternity and SUN – will contribute to the transformation required for sustainable industry and social transformation.

Creaternity - sustainable material usage
in a connected and circular economy

The transition to a sustainable industry provides opportunities to think new and thus develop the whole society. The research area Creaternity sees the latest technology in artificial intelligence, telecommunications and sensor technology as an opportunity to connect and connect people, products and processes. The researchers study the technology needed to follow a material through the circular flow, and how humans are affected by it. Creaternity wants to use digitalisation to achieve a circular use of materials and thus reach a carbon dioxide- and resource-neutral society.

Scientific leaders for Creaternity will be Karl Andersson, associate professor of Pervasive and Mobile Computing, and Roland Larsson, professor of machine elements. They have gathered researchers and competencies from about 25 different research topics from both the the Faculty of Science and Technology and he Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Thanks to the broad competence, it is possible to take a holistic approach to the industry's sustainability challenges, which in turn leads to new innovations. The researchers met in September for a Creaternity workshop. Lectures were given by Victoria van Camp, development manager at SKF, Anders Lundqvist, municipal councilor in Piteå, and Thomas Sundqvist from Boden Energy Symbiosis, who told how they work with circular economy and digitalisation within their organizations. Two of Luleå University of Technology's researchers, Jan Johansson and Jerker Delsing, lectured, among other things, on the role of humans in the connected circular economy.

SUN - natural resources for sustainability transitions

SUN focuses on sustainability transitions and on the natural resources that Sweden and upper Norrland offer. The UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) constitute an ambitious agenda for sustainable development; they demand a comprehensive societal transformation with focus on economic, ecological and social sustainability. The SDGs also largely presuppose technological development wich for Sweden means, for example, electrification based on fossil-free energy, efficient energy storage, resource and energy-efficient production processes, increased use of residual products, and a substitution in favor of renewable materials and natural resources.

- We believe that Sweden's and upper Norrland's natural resources in the form of ore, forest and water are of central importance for realizing such a social transformation, says Christina Wanhainen, professor in Ore Geology, scientific leader for the area.

The area creates an excellence environment for multidisciplinary research on the utilization of natural resources and the sustainability challenges and opportunities that are linked to this. The research's focus is on the areas of ore, wood and water as these areas have several common challenges, such as permit testing and environmental legislation, as well as digitization, automation, modeling, and AI applications. The areas of ore, wood and water also have a strong connection to industry. One of the research area's objectives is to - on human terms - contribute to the fulfillment of several global development goals.

– Luleå University of Technology will, through world-leading research, make it possible for Sweden as a nation to develop new technology that strengthens competitiveness, reduces negative environmental impact and increases the legitimacy of the transition to a sustainable society, says Patrik Söderholm, professor of economics, deputy scientific leader for the area.