Bio4Energy’s work on developing sustainability metrics for innovative business has been acknowledged by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), on its 100 List for Sustainable Competitiveness 2020.
The scheme entails four steps, in which the system analysis researchers start by examining an innovation’s environmental and competitiveness credentials using life-cycle assessment and cost-benefit analysis and end by offering easy-to-use indicators, based on which investors can make their decision to invest or not.
The IVA 100 List for Sustainable Competitiveness 2020 highlights academic research that “has a bearing on sustainability, in technical or economics sciences, which can create value for business or society in terms of knowledge, processes, products or business development”.
“We published a [scientific article] in 2018 that talks about how to make the sustainable decision-making process easy—or rather the financial decision-making process easy—for investors, venture capitalists and industries, to bring right and sustainable technologies to the market”, said Upadhyayula, who is an assistant professor at UmU.
“Because when a new innovation concept is developeded, that will enter into the Technology Valley of Death—which sits between TRL 5 to 7, in the technology readiness levels—where you have to put in lot of investment finances to demonstrate the proof of concept. So our idea is to develop some kind of sustainable innovation business metrics, to actually support the correct sustainable technologies to bring into the market”, he went on.
Today, one and a half years after publishing the nuts and bolts of the sustainability metric scheme, it has been much refined and tried on range of innovative research and development (R&D) projects tied to the research group at UmU and bridging several of the Bio4Energy R&D platforms.
Upadhyayula said he expected the scheme to have the potential to ease industry and investors’ task to select academic innovations that would be competitive on the market, as well as deliver sustainability benefits.
“I see researchers in academia develop a lot of sustainable game-changing innovations, but because this kind of framework concept is actually missing in academia, it is very hard for investors to see in the decision-making process whether they are investing in the right or sustainable technology or not”, according to Upadhyayula;
“This exact framework is something that [has been] really missing in academic research”.
While having one’s project on the 100 List is an honour in itself, in a second step the IVA will select the most promising projects and invite their owners to present and meet with business and industry representatives at a Research-to-Business Summit 18 March in Stockholm.
The Bio4Energy researchers' award-winning article, Advancing game changing academic research concepts to commercialisation: A Life-cycle Assessment (LCA) based sustainability framework for making informed decisions in Technology Valley of Death (TVD), was published in Resources, Conservation and Recycling. Links to and information about their work are available on this website and on the research group's pages at the UmU website, called the Sustainable Resources and Innovation Platform.
For those wishing to read in Swedish about the announcement of the 100 List, UmU issued a press release.