Lund plays a key role in Sweden in offering ‘Creative Futures’ grants
Lund University is the lead among Swedish institutions participating in a large European consortium seeking funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The bid aims to secure funds to establish a new Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) focused on the creative and cultural industries.
The winning consortium, selected by the European Commission, will receive up to SEK 800 million ($85 million) per year for up to 15 years in combined EU and partner contributions.
The EIT has a mandate to strengthen innovation capacity in Europe and is an important element of Horizon Europe. The KIC concept saw the creation of eight KICs focusing on areas such as climate, sustainable energy and digitalisation.
The offer, coordinated by Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, is known as “Creative Futures” and was filed on March 24. Involving years of preparation, it brings together 50 major partners from 20 different European countries representing companies, municipalities, universities and research institutes.
A “national engine” for the cultural sector
Lund University is Sweden’s only lead partner institution.
Kristina Eneroth, Professional Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement at Lund University, said the Swedish university was happy to accept the role of “national engine” for the cultural sector.
“A CCI in the cultural field brings together all of our university activities. Our ambition for this project is to see a strengthening of our own work and that of our collaborating partners in this area. Sectoral creativity and innovation are needed for the benefit of all of society,” she said.
Anna Lyrevik, Chair of the Project Group for Lund University Contribution and Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of Lund University, said that by working “strategically and across borders between the academy, the region, large and small companies, the municipality [municipality]and actors in the cultural fields, we will contribute to a sustainable future for all of society”.
She said some of the areas of innovation Lund has worked in include “fashion tech”, “gaming and tech meet archaeology”, and “humanity and nature”.
Culture as “heart and soul” of Europe
Lund University Vice-Chancellor Erik Renström described the cultural sectors as “the soul and heart of Europe” in his March 25 blog.
“This is a historically huge investment,” he said of the offer. “In these times, with war in Europe threatening democratic rights followed by existential worries that many now carry in the shadow of war and after a pandemic that has only just subsided, this effort is very timely.
“What is needed now is creativity, innovative solutions and investment in the cultural sector and industries. These sectors and industries are the soul and heart of Europe.
He said that all the faculties of the university had contributed for an extended period to the Creative Futures consortium through education and research in the fields of arts, music, theater, film and film. literature.
“Today, the university trains many graduates who work in the cultural sector as architects, designers, publishers, game developers, lawyers and others. They are important drivers for sustainable development and operate at local, regional and national levels across Europe,” said Renström.
Explaining the background of the KIC project in a 2018 publication, Future by Lundproduced by Lund Municipality and Vinnova, the Swedish Innovation Agency, Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth, KICs Project Manager, said that the KICs have brought Europe together ‘around potentials and strategic areas that are important for the development of Europe.
“Previous KICs focused on the natural sciences. Cultural and creative activities contribute significantly to GNP [of European countries] and there are many small businesses in this sector. I consider these cultural “industries” as being part of the specialties of the European Union and as a great competitive advantage on a global scale”.
Support for the inclusion of cultural sectors
Lena Adamson, associate professor of psychology at Stockholm University, board member of the Royal Swedish College of Music and former EIT contract expert, said she strongly supports the move into the cultural sector.
“EIT’s mission is both about creating new innovations and businesses, but equally important through its educational activities is its contribution to a skilled workforce with a new, more entrepreneurial mindset. .
“EIT educational programs are delivered at KIC universities by their faculty, but with the EIT-specific learning outcomes and other quality criteria required for the EIT label, which the original educational group of the ‘EIT, of which I was a part, formulated back in 2011-2012, as well as the EIT Quality Assurance and Learning Enhancement Model, still in use after small revisions.
“I strongly support the entry of the EIT into the cultural sectors. The timing is very good considering the heavy toll this sector has taken during the pandemic.
“I also hope that the music sector will be strongly engaged since it is one of the faculties, at least in Swedish universities, which is financially neglected compared to other fields, even within the faculties of arts , but where, despite this neglect, Sweden enjoyed enormous international success for a number of years.
Sylvia Schwaag Serger, professor of economic history at Lund University, former pro rector 2018-21 and former director of Vinnova, said Academia News“In times of turbulence, transformation and existential threats like these, the humanities play a vital but often overlooked role in understanding the state of the world. I am glad that this initiative helps raise awareness of the relevance of the humanities in academia, society and the interaction between the two.