22 September 2020

New office will maximise Sweden’s benefit from ESS and MAX IV

The Swedish Research Council and Vinnova have set up a joint office to coordinate national inputs to the research facilities ESS and MAX IV in Lund. The office has been set up at the request of the Swedish Government, and will work towards maximising Sweden’s use of, and benefit from, the facilities.

Mikaela Rapp, in charge of the new office, took up her position in March. Mikaela has a background as a researcher in biochemistry, both in academia and the pharmaceutical industry, and has experience of several large-scale research infrastructures. Like many other people, she is currently working mostly remotely, but the new office is at the Swedish Research Council in Stockholm, where she has colleagues from both the Swedish Research Council and Vinnova.

“The office has been given an extensive and broad task, a real challenge… but an enjoyable one,” says Mikaela Rapp. “It’s so incredibly important to increase Sweden’s benefit from ESS and MAX IV, and to disseminate knowledge about the importance of the facilities for Sweden and for the work to establish Sweden as an internationally recognised Big Science country. The whole world will know about the fantastic opportunities on Swedish soil.”

Implementation plan: What does Sweden want? What is to be done first?

Various initiatives are already in place to increase the opportunities for Swedish industry to conduct business with the facilities, and to give Swedish researchers in academia and industry a high level of access to experiments and research. Work is also under way to improve utilisation of the technological development taking place at the facilities.  The office will coordinate these and other initiatives, and a national implementation plan is now under preparation.

“The implementation plan is a stage in our work to formulate what Sweden wants and to describe specific initiatives,” continues Mikaela Rapp. “Information and communication will be vital. What information is important, for who, and when? What is to be done first? Which bodies should collaborate? How can the office contribute to the work already being done? A start is the collaboration at public agency level, between Vinnova and the Swedish Research Council, and that’s working really well.”

Natural collaboration with Big Science Sweden

Over a few years, Big Science Sweden has built up knowledge, expertise, and networks to support Swedish companies that want to conduct business with research facilities all over the world.

Mikaela Rapp gives her view on its importance:

“Big Science Sweden is a natural collaboration partner for us. Making it easier for Swedish suppliers to win orders from ESS and MAX IV is part of our broad remit, and we can benefit from Big Science Sweden’s experiences, both from their work in Sweden and their international contacts. We have regular meetings, and are looking forward to good collaboration.”

Anna Hall, Director, Big Science Sweden:

“We welcome this initiative, which turns the spotlight on the importance of ESS and MAX IV for Sweden as a Big Science country. We will have natural collaboration with the new office, not least in the work to build up a sustainable national ecosystem relating to the research facilities.”