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Andrius Plepys

Andrius Plepys


Andrius Plepys

Kartläggning av svensk FoU inom området IT och miljö


  • Peter Arnfalk
  • Andrius Plepys
  • Chris van Rossem

Summary, in English

Swedish R&D activities in the field of IT and the

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

Publishing year







VR 2009:13

Document type





  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Sverige
  • forskning och utveckling
  • IT
  • miljöpåverkan



Report number

VR 2009:13


  • ISSN: 1650-3104
  • ISBN: 978-91-85959-65-5