I can say right away that IVA is an ambitious and highly efficient organisation, thanks to the great work and commitment of my predecessors. Björn O. Nilsson generously shared his knowledge with me and introduced me to his network this past autumn. I am very grateful to him.
Today our world is highly turbulent and uncertain; both old and new challenges need to be solved. IVA focuses on how science, expertise and technology can tackle difficult issues. What are the main challenges of our time that could jeopardise our future competitiveness? Digitalisation is without doubt one such force. It presents fantastic opportunities but is also a threat if we don’t take advantage of them. IVA’s new project “Digitalisation for Increased Competitiveness” has gathered experts to explore how digitalisation can create maximum benefits in our society. The themes of talent supply, infrastructure, security and integrity are in focus.
IVA also has several new projects in the pipeline that will focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. We continue to ask the question of how researchers in academia and industry can work together to commercialise the seeds of innovation. This was also a focus of my previous job as President of Aalto University where we achieved an increase in quantity and quality in collaboration between the university and industry. As we together take a long-term and open-minded approach to our joint challenges, we can learn from and inspire each other towards new ways of thinking and creative solutions. When we succeed, we advance the front lines of research.
Education and integration are among the global challenges that constantly require fresh approaches and practical solutions. IVA’s Tekniksprånget internship programme aims to increase youth interest in science and technology, particularly among young women. IVA is working on improving equality in the workplace so that the skills of women and men will be respected on equal terms. Diversity is also an important factor in the job market. We need all kinds of talent to handle the global competition. IVA’s Jobbsprånget programme has successfully matched newcomers to Sweden who have a university degree with job opportunities. A full 75 percent of those completing the programme are now employed.
IVA is the world’s oldest academy of engineering sciences and will soon turn 100. We are in full-on preparation mode – both in terms of a scientific programme of activities and for the festivities in 2019, the anniversary year. IVA is also introducing two new initiatives with future themes: World-class Knowledge and Entrepreneurship for the Future. Regardless of which sector of society we look at, our competitiveness is entirely dependent on excellence throughout our education system – from preschool all the way to university and lifelong learning. New enterprise will also be an important factor in revitalising and strengthening industry. New jobs will be created, replacing traditional industry jobs.
As we celebrate past successes, we also need to look towards the next 100 years. This spring we will start the task of renewing IVA’s strategy and I’m hoping for broad-based involvement in the process among the academy members and our networks. I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!