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New evaluation shows: Great results from Strategic Innovation Programs

The investments in Strategic Innovation Programs have led to broad collaborations, strengthened international competitiveness and focused efforts in areas important to Sweden. This is highlighted in a new major evaluation of Drive Sweden and four other programs that have been running for six years.
Someone writing on a white board. Photo: Kvalifik on Unsplash.

Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas fund 17 Strategic Innovation Programs for collaboration in research and innovation in areas that are important to Sweden. The programs will contribute to creating the conditions for sustainable solutions to global societal challenges and increased international competitiveness.

Five programs in the third round, that started in 2015, have now undergone a major evaluation: Drive Sweden (sustainable mobility solutions), InfraSweden2030 (transport infrastructure), Medtech4Health (medical technology), Smart Built Environment (community building) and RE: Source (sustainable material use).

The evaluation shows that the programs have contributed to broad collaborations and strengthened international competitiveness for participating actors and to the mobilization and renewal of their respective areas. The evaluations of the previous rounds of Strategic Innovation Programs in the initiative have shown similar effects.

"It is gratifying that the Strategic Innovation Programs so clearly contribute to renewal and increased competitiveness in their areas. There are many experiences and lessons to be learned from the six-year evaluations that will be valuable in the work with the next generation of innovation programs", says Darja Isaksson, CEO of Vinnova.

"It is great to get such a positive confirmation of the work we have put in together with our fantastic partners over the past six years. I am very proud of how we over the past six years have navigated in a dynamic and changing environment and further strengthened our commitment to sustainable mobility", says Jan Hellåker, chairman of Drive Sweden.

"The transport sector is facing major challenges to achieve our societal goals. Therefore, it is gratifying that the transfer of knowledge within Drive Sweden so successfully has contributed to new solutions becoming realities. With great respect for what the program has achieved so far and with the recommendations we have received in mind, we now aim for six new productive years", says Malin Andersson, Programme Director of Drive Sweden.

The evaluation, which has been carried out by Faugert & Co Evaluation in collaboration with Technopolis Ltd and Sweco, forms the basis for the authorities' decision on continued financing of the programs.

Collaboration and strengthened competitiveness

The evaluation shows that research and innovation projects within the programs have contributed to broad collaborations between companies, public organizations, universities and colleges as well as research institutes. Follow-up projects and development of prototypes are common effects. Companies, universities and colleges as well as research institutes have strengthened their international competitiveness and expectations of future commercial effects are high among the participating companies. Research within universities and colleges and research institutes has been focused on increasing relevance for business and the public sector, while public organizations have strengthened the quality of their activities.

National gathering of forces and mobilization

The programs have achieved national concentration and have mobilized actors to work together according to a common agenda in their respective areas, not least through the participation of many small and medium-sized enterprises. The programs have also addressed challenges and needs that are common to each area, among other things to support future research and innovation projects and facilitate the implementation of innovations, which may be some of the most important effects of the programs in strengthening the innovation system. The programs have also contributed to the transfer of technology between industries.

Facts about strategic innovation programs

Strategic Innovation Programs are an investment by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas in actor-driven programs through collaboration in areas that are important to Sweden. They must contribute to the conditions for sustainable solutions to global societal challenges and increased international competitiveness. It is a government investment of a total of SEK 8 billion in 17 programs that can receive funding for up to 12 years, where the business community and other actors contribute the same amount. All programs undergo a comprehensive evaluation after six years

Read the evaluation here (in Swedish)