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Research projects

Advancing Sustainable Solutions
Below is a list of current research projects at the IIIEE.

Behavioural economics for energy and climate change policies and the transition to a sustainable energy system

The objective of the project is to develop knowledge on, and methods for the modelling of, people's economic behaviour in response to (ambitious) climate and energy policies aiming for the transition to sustainable energy systems. The project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (STEM).

Researcher: Luis Mundaca

Funding agency: Swedish Energy Agency

Closing the loop Phase II

The project aims to explore the development of circular economy models for mixed and multi-material recycling in manufacturing. It is quite a conceptual and exploratory project that primarily seems to aim at understanding the dynamics of such recycling, as opposed to developing practical examples of such recycling. It is essentially a synthesizing project of 4 individual case studies. The applicants state that they will link the project activities to other projects but it is not clear what is proposed here and what originates from other projects (for instance demonstration plastics processing and recycling). It is not clear what the "umbrella thinking" or the overall vision should be.

Researchers: Naoko Tojo, Thomas Lindhqvist

Funding agency: MISTRA

Future Fashion

The Mistra Future Fashion programme is intended to induce a development towards Mistra ultimate goal presented within the call for this programme in 2010 a systemic change of the Swedish fashion industry leading to sustainable development of the industry and wider society, while at the same time strengthening the competitiveness of this industry . The Mistra Future Fashion programme will during its 2nd Phase (June 2015-May 2019) have the vision towards Closing the loop in fashion and clothing -systemic change in the Swedish fashion industry leading to sustainable development of the industry and society.

Researchers: Naoko TojoÅke Thidell

Funding agency: MISTRA

GUST - Governance of Urban Sustainability Transitions: Advancing the role of living labs

European cities face a pressing challenge to provide economic prosperity and social cohesion while achieving environmental sustainability. In response, new ‘living labs’ – sites devised to design, test and learn from social and technical innovation in real time – are being formed. Individual cases have been studied, but limited work has been done to understand how they work across different national contexts and how we can scale-up their impact or share lessons across European cities.

Researchers: Kes McCormickYuliya VoytenkoOksana Mont

Funding agencies: JPI Urban Europe, FORMAS

See more: Governance of Urban Sustainability Transitions

Lighting Metropolis

This three year project is a new strategic partnership between Sweden and Denmark with a focus on innovative light to create regional growth and make the Öresund region a leading living laboratory for light. This cooperation is important for the region to benefit from the interdisciplinary core competencies and thereby create a common international profile. 20 demonstration projects will be carried out in, for example, schools, parks and hospitals, where the project partners can show how light can help ensure security, accessibility, health and learning for citizens.The project began on 1 October 2015 and ends on 30 September 2018.

Researchers: Mikael BackmanThomas Lindhqvist

Funding agency: European Commission

See more: Lighting Metropolis

Malmo Innovation Arena

Malmo Innovation Arena is a collaborative effort between government, business, non-profit sector and academia who are working to promote innovations in sustainable urban development. Until 2019, Malmö Innovation Arena focus on testing and realize innovations that sustainably and cost-effectively increase the number of residential units in Malmö, especially street from Östervärn, through Rosengård, to Lindängen. Malmo Innovation Arena will contribute to these areas in the long term become the leading example of sustainable urban development.

Researchers:  Lena NeijKes McCormick

Funding agency: European Commission

See more: Malmo Innovation Arena

NATURVATION: NATure-based Urban innoVATION 

Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) have the potential to respond to climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality while contributing to economic regeneration and social well-being. Yet there is a substantial gap between the promise of NBS and their uptake. To unlock the potential of NBS for sustainable urban development, NATURVATION will take a transdisciplinary, internationally comparative approach to: Advance assessment approaches to capture the multiple impacts & values of NBS to deliver a robust evidence base for decision-making; Enable innovation to identify the most promising governance, business/finance and participation models and how to overcome the systemic conditions that currently limit their use to support systemic integration; Generate momentum to realise the potential of NBS through co-design, co-development & co-implementation of new partnerships, knowledge, recommendations, processes and tools required to build capacity, enable replication and foster cultural change.

Researcher: Kes McCormick

Funding agency: European Commission Horizon 2020

New business models and commercial opportunities in lightning: the importance of policies and organization of procurement

Policies and business models will be decisive for the development of new solutions in lighting. This project focuses on 1) how different policy instruments interact in order to provide incentives for eodesign in firms 2) whether the current structure for public procurement is well designed in order to havelow life-cycle costs and optimal lighting quality in public facilities 3) how different policies and procurement initiatives canprovide incentives for new function-oriented business model.

Researchers: Thomas LindhqvistNaoko TojoAndrius Plepys, Mikael Backman

Funding agency: Swedish Energy Agency

Policy instruments and business models for closed material loops

The shift to energy-saving lamps has made effective collection and treatment of discarded lamps a priority to reduce mercury emissions. Knowledge about today's systems and experiences from similar products are limited and scattered. This project gathers relevant experiences by a large number of case studies in Nordic and West European countries. The aim is to gather knowledge about various policy instruments to guide authorities and other interested parties.

Researchers: Thomas LindhqvistNaoko TojoJessika Luth Richter

Funding agency: Swedish Energy Agency

See more: Project Blog

Promoting ecodesign for advancement of innovation, competiveness and environmental improvements: assessing the potential of the Ecodesign Directive in a dynamic setting

The European Union´s Ecodesign Directive is a unique piece of legislation, including 1) it is built on the concept of life cycle thinking, 2) it is one of very few successful policies for energy efficiency and CO2 reductions, 3) it is one of the few possible policy options at the EU level for achieving resource efficiency objectives. In the light of this, there are several areas that need more research.

Researcher: Carl Dalhammar

Funding agency: Swedish Energy Agency

REES - Resource Efficient and Effective Solutions

REES – Resource‐Efficient and Effective Solutions based on circular economy thinking is a 4‐year programme run by a consortium of leading Swedish universities, large and small companies and societal actors, and is funded by MISTRA. The programme’s vision is to advance the transition of the Swedish manufacturing industry towards a circular and sustainable economy. IIIEE will have the main responsibility for research related to business models and policies.

Researchers:  Oksana MontAndrius PlepysCarl DalhammarLeonidas MiliosJulia NussholzKatherine Whalen

Funding agency: MISTRA

See more: REES on Mistra website

                 REES - Resource Efficient and Effective Solutions

Renewal of Manufacturing

This project adopts the concept of a circular bioeconomy – referring to the efficiency in and reuse of bio‐based resources, and explores the implications of circular bioeconomy for the renewal of manufacturing.

Researcher: Åke Thidell

Funding agency: VINNOVA

Sharing and the city

Sharing of goods, services and skills is seen as one solution to urban sustainability challenges. However, its sustainability potential and institutional processes have not been systematically scrutinised. To develop evidence base and support sustainable sharing, a systematic and comparative analysis of the role of cities in sharing is needed. The project aims to examine, test and advance knowledge on the role of city governments in the initiation, implementation and institutionalisation of sharing organisations across cities in Europe.

Researcher: Yuliya Voytenko

Funding agency: FORMAS

Sustainable Products’ Chains for Plastics (SUSPLAST)

The aim of SUSPLAST is to advance knowledge about the transition to sustainable plastic product chains. This will be achieved through innovative forms of stakeholder engagemant and co-production of knowledge (e.g. co-creative workshops, mobile labs et.). SUSPLAST will develop transition pathways and assess them in several dimensions, intergrating technical, economic, social and policy perspectives. SUSPLAST will develop and provide research-based advice for policy-oriented and industrial strategies towards a sustainable plastics system.

Researcher: Charlotte Leire

Funding agency: the Kamprad Family Foundation

Swedish-Polish Sustainable Energy Platform

The Platform establishes a framework for the development of bilateral contacts in the field of sustainable energy systems. The desired outcomes are to expand the transfer and use of the relevant knowledge in both countries, to mitigate environmental degradation and climate change, to enhance the security of energy supply, and to maintain or improve energy affordability. The scope of cooperation covers promotion of sustainable energy technologies, work to implement the European Union climate and energy package, and following of the developments on alternative clean technologies.

The Polish secretariat of the Platform operates at PIMOT and the scope of its activities includes tasks related to the transfer of knowledge and to the recruitment of new Platform members in Poland.

Researcher: Mikael Backman
See more: Swedish-Polish Sustainable Energy Platform


This inter-disciplinary project addresses the question of how transition in the transport sector can bring about a more efficient and sustainable use of energy - critical to reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and overexploitation of common natural resources. Lately a trend has been recognized where individual ownership of cars are replaced with collectively shared vehicles. There is an emergent need to explore and estimate how these transformation in car used mobility come about, and its potential to change travel habits and reduce energy in the transport sector. This project will focus on this emerging transformation relying on innovation system theories, and a triangulation of different methodological approaches.

Researchers: Tareq Emtairah, Peter Arnfalk

Funding agency: The Research Council of Norway

Transition governance - a critical review of methods for the evaluation of research and policy instruments

In this project we intend to develop cross‐border knowledge regarding methods and evaluation of research and policy instruments. Several methodological approaches will be critically analyzed and evaluation strategies that support "transition governance" will developed. Within the project, these strategies will also be tested.

Researchers:  Lena NeijSofie Sandin

Funding agency: Swedish Energy Agency

Urban Arena

The IIIEE is coordinating a network within LU of approximately 170 researchers engaged in research on sustainable urban development. Each year Urban Arena arranges internal and external seminars on various topics such as sustainable construction, public transport, urban governance etc.

Researcher: Lena Neij

See more: Urban Arena

Urban Nature

Nature based solutions (NBS) are defined to be inspired and supported by nature and have recently been proposed by practitioners and policy makers, as solutions to urban challenges such as urbanization and climate change. The overall aim of the project Urban Nature is to investigate the ability of NBS to simultaneously meet different urban challenges such as climate change and public well-being. This five-year old project takes a transdisciplinary approach, utilizing a broad expertise of various research disciplines and a reference group of stakeholders from Swedish municipalities, national and regional authorities and other organizations.

Researcher: Kes McCormick

Funding agency: FORMAS  (Agricultural Science and Spatial Planning)

See more: Urban Nature - Nature-based solutions for urban challenges

Urban Reconomy: sharing for circular resource efficiency

This multidisciplinary project aims to advance Urban Reconomy by analysing how sharing and collaborative production schemes are organised, what is their contribution to circular economy and how it can be harnessed through innovative institutional constellations and entrepreneurial processes in diverse urban contexts.

Researchers: Yuliya VoytenkoOksana Mont

Funding agency: FORMAS

See more:  Article: Sustainability framings of accommodation sharing

Urban Sharing: From excess economy to access economy

Urban sharing of assets, spaces and skills has emerged as a prospective solution to sustainability challenges faced by cities. However, its sustainability potential and institutional processes to harness it have not been systematically scrutinised. This research programme aims to examine, test and advance knowledge about design, sustainability of practices and institutionalisation processes of urban sharing organisations across 8 cities from 5 continents. The research conflates studies on sustainable consumption and production with organisational theory and the neo-institutional field.

Researchers: Oksana MontAndrius PlepysYuliya VoytenkoMatthias Lehner, Lucie Zvolska and Steven Curtis 

Funding agency: Riksbankens jubileumsfond (The Swedish foundation for humanities and social sciences)

See more: Urban Sharing

                 Website Urban Sharing

                 Article: Urban sharing - A promising future solution to sustainability

                 challenges in cities                

When Municipalities set the Research Agenda ‐ Models for Municipal Provision of Competence and Knowledge for Sustainable Building and Planning

Swedish municipalities play a key role in sustainable building and planning. Research has proven to be difficult to transfer from universities to practice. From 2014, four universities located in Scania have a joint effort to offer their research competences to municipalities. The ambition is to support the municipal strategic challenges in relation to sustainable building and planning activities. The project has its basis in the Skåne Association of Local Authorities recently initiated certification program Research Municipalities. The project will develop new forms of competence and knowledge dissemination and cooperation from research to and with the municipalities.

Researchers:  Lena NeijKes McCormick

Funding agency: FORMAS


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