Germany looks to Arctic Circle for regional strategy
When coal mines are closing in the Rhenisch area in Germany, eyes are turned to the Arctic Circle and the business development company LTU Business. “Northern Sweden is an excellent example where research and business cooperate successfully in this type of change,” says Aarti-Mona Sörensen at the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) at RWTH Aachen University.
It is now official that LTU Business will be commissioned by RWTH Aachen University in western Germany to support building a sustainable, regional innovation system in connection with the closure of coal mines in the Rhenisch area. The region is facing fundamental economic changes over the next two decades in connection with the decommissioning of lignite-based power production and thus lignite production.
“Lignite production and power production play a significant role in the region’s economy. Many SMEs as well as individual employees depend on it. We are now facing the challenge of carrying out a major structural transformation and given Sweden’s experience from this type of project, where research,business and the local communities are collaborating successfully for many years, it feels good to now get help from LTU Business, ”says Aarti-Mona Sörensen, scientific research assistant at the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies at RWTH Aachen University and project coordinator.
Business developers specialized in regional innovation
When asked why RWTH Aachen University chose to collaborate with LTU Business, Aarti-Mona Sörensen says: “LTU Business has extensive experience in evaluating innovation potential, conducting thorough regional analyses and innovation strategies that create growth,which is valuable to us in the Rhenish area. In addition, we would like to learn how to build a successful innovation ecosystem engaging a variety of stakeholders in the region. We look forward to starting the collaboration. ”
“LTU Business has extensive experience in evaluating innovation potential, conducting thorough regional analyses and innovation strategies that create growth, which is valuable to us in the Rhenish area.”
“Northern Sweden’s innovation system is seen as a precedent around Europe and Luleå University of Technology functions as an engine where – thanks to close collaboration with the business community – clusters of specialist knowledge and innovation have been developed. Our region has come pretty far in the green transformation which means we are being able to help others with their journey, says Pär Johansson, chief strategist at LTU Business.
Project manager Jan Abrahamsson from LTU Business agrees: “It’s great that we have experience and expertise that can benefit other countries and regions. I look forward to getting started on this project together with the Human Technology Centre (HumTec) and the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) at RWTH Aachen University,” he says.
Ever since the foundation of Luleå University of Technology in 1971, industry and research have collaborated to promote innovation and development taking into account regional specifications and engaging local stakeholders. This has led to Northern Sweden today being a leading example for large innovation projects, including in the mining industry where LTU Business together with Luleå University of Technology and a number of Swedish industrial companies jointly drive investments, innovations and regional economic development.
THE MINE REWIR PROJECT
Mine ReWir is coordinated by RWTH Aachen University, with the goal to build on the region’s know-how and human resources within mining through creating an innovation network connecting businesses and local government. The first phase of the Mine ReWIR project will begin in September 2020 and end in May 2021, with a potential extension to 2024.
LTU Business is a business development consulting firm and subsidiary of Luleå University of Technology, working to promote partnerships between academia and the surrounding society, with primary focus on the business community and public sector in northern Sweden and Europe. LTU Business operates in over twenty national and international innovation initiatives within the European mining sector.