Kartläggning av svensk FoU inom området IT och miljö
Summary, in English
environment - a mapping related to indirect
environmental effects and effects at system level
Feb 2009: Peter Arnfalk, Andrius Plepys, Chris van Rossem, The
International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)
at Lund University has, in autumn 2008, been commissioned by Swedish
Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) to investigate
Swedish research and development (R & D) scene in the field of IT and the
environment. The survey was conducted with the help of Blekinge Institute
of Technology and the company Exido, a reference group with
representatives from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Linköping
University (LiU), Interactive Institute, as well as the Swedish IT & Telecom
Companies (a part of Almega). The purpose of the survey was to provide a
current review and understanding of research activities in Sweden to assess
how to best design and fund R & D efforts in the field for Swedish growth.
The mission was to survey the area, analyze results and to draw conclusions.
The mapping was limited to R & D projects related to indirect
environmental effects and effects at system level from the use of IT, which
means that research on IT’s own environmental impact along its life cycle,
so-called direct effects, was not targeted. Information collection was made
primarily with the help of a web-based questionnaire, through interviews,
literature search and searches in various databases.
The results show that there is a wide range of different projects in Sweden
in this multidisciplinary field. Most R&D projects could be linked to the
energy, environmental informatics, transport, process and manufacturing,
buildings, as well as products and services.
Many projects focused on our attitudes and behaviour surrounding the use
of IT, an issue that was researched in 42 % of the projects. Furthermore,
many of the reported projects are related to areas such as energy efficiency,
environmental analysis, environmental monitoring, intelligent transportation
systems, surveillance and control, process optimization and ‘smart houses’.
Other areas of research concern are dematerialization, telework, urban
planning, IT in energy production and distribution, virtual meetings,
simulations, and eco-design of products.
We found R & D projects at many universities and institutes around the
country, but a certain concentration was found mainly around Stockholm
(Stockholm University, KTH, Kista), Gothenburg (Göteborg University,
Business School, Chalmers), Linköping (Linköping University, including
the Linköping Institute of Technology), Lund / Malmö (Lund University,
Lund Institute of Technology and Malmö University College); and
Karlskrona / Ronneby / Karlshamn of Blekinge Institute of Technology
(BTH). Around these areas a number of research institutes can be found,
which also carries out projects in the IT and the environment.
We found that none of the national grant organizations for R & D projects
have any explicit strategy or established grants program for interdisciplinary
research in the field of IT and the environment. This may partly explain the
fact that relatively few researchers characterize their projects in this field.
Another reason may be that the area is not clearly defined and difficult to
The findings of this study highlight the fact that IT offers a range of
preventive solutions to environmental problems. Hence, IT solutions should
to a greater extent be considered and included in the environmental
technology toolbox, and its applications promoted when considering
environmental measures. The concept of Green IT is currently mainly
interpreted as IT with a relatively low direct environmental impact. The
concept should preferably be expanded to also include indirect and systemic
effects, to stress the fact that this is where the technology’s major
environmental potential is found.
- The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
- forskning och utveckling
- ISSN: 1650-3104
- ISBN: 978-91-85959-65-5