The appointment comes at a pivotal time, since Bio4Energy is coming up to the close of its second programme period in 2020. Its funder, the Swedish government, is expected to decide this year whether to renew the funding for Sweden’s Strategic Research Environments (SRE), of which Bio4Energy is one.
It will be up to the newly appointed threesome to lead Bio4Energy into the future.
“We hope that wise decisions will be made and that the SRE initiative is allowed to continue. We will have to await the arrival of political decision to know more about this”, said Jönsson, professor of Chemistry at UmU.
Three different areas of expertise
Jönsson is an expert at biochemistry and biotechnology, specialised in forest industrial processes, as well as leader of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies since the start of the research environment in 2010. He divides his professional time between Umeå and Örnsköldsvik, both in northern Sweden; since he is active both at the UmU Chemical Biological Centre and at the Domsjö Development Area, home to Sweden's largest biorefinery.
Jönsson will be sharing his new role as programme manager with an equally long-standing member of Bio4Energy, Christoffer Boman, who is an associate professor at UmU, specialised in thermochemical conversion of biomass; such as combustion and gasification; its processes and their environmental impacts.
“We will be working this year to make sure the [Bio4Energy] initiative continues. I feel that it is important to strengthen Bio4Energy’s role as northern Sweden’s hub for knowledge creation about bioenergy and the forest industrial sector. We want to be part of the transition to a green economy", Boman said.
“Bio4Energy’s research is even more relevant today than at the start in 2010. The importance now is to preserve and build on the strong foundation that has been laid, as well as to keep its cross-disciplinary approach", Jönsson filled in; "In Bio4Energy we place equal importance on biochemical and thermochemical conversion technologies and on research on biomass and environmental aspects".
LTU associate professor Elisabeth Wetterlund, appointed deputy programme manager, is expected to be an asset in the management team because of her knowledge of Bio4Energy’s research across the board, as an expert on system analysis research with a specialisation in gasification of biomass technology. She also holds a position as guest research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria.
“I want to continue the work for an even deeper integration of the platforms in Bio4Energy. The Bio4Energy Strategic Collaboration Projects are an example of this. We also have the [biannual] Bio4Energy Researchers’ Meetings and I want to create more meeting places like this. Every type of research is enhanced by being placed in broader perspective”, she said.
She added that she would continue her role for now as Bio4Energy's coordinator for the f3 Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels, to keep the broader perspective of that umbrella for system analysis research on advanced biofuels.
“I am looking forward to getting more involved and representing the LTU perspective in Bio4Energy. My role will be to engage the LTU researchers who are part. It feels like an inspiring mission at a special moment in time”, according to Wetterlund.
Boman said that he felt "honoured" to be given the role, while Jönsson said that it was an "important assignment”.
“Bio4Energy is an important initiative for Umeå University and our partner universities SLU and LTU, as well as for biorefinery-related research in Sweden and the region”, Jönsson concluded.
For those wishing to read in Swedish, Umeå University issued a press release and the Luleå University of Technology published a news article.
Bio4Energy får nya föreståndare, Bioenergitidningen
Bio4Energy får nya föreståndare, Expertsvar
Ny vice föreståndare för Bio4Energy, Energinyheter.se
Lulea University of Technology: New Deputy Programme Manager of Bio4Energy, Targeted News Service (Print Edition)