Last autumn, Lighthouse and the Swedish Transport Administration formed a reference group to promote Swedish maritime interests and R&D needs in the EU context. After three initial “information meetings”, it is now time to make an impact – for example, providing input on what research and innovation will be funded through the EU Horizon Europe program.
Exactly one year ago, Lighthouse was inducted into Waterborne – the EU’s research and innovation platform for Waterborne industries.
“There are two different ways to go about bringing forward Swedish shipping interests in Brussels: one official that goes via Vinnova and a one more unofficial that goes through Waterborne, a platform representing industry and other stakeholders”, Åsa Burman CEO of Lighthouse, says.
The Swedish Transport Administration is also represented in Waterborne. Anna Ryrfeldt is responsible for shipping issues at the Authority’s CEF Secretariat:
“Both Åsa and I have been to Swedish industry meetings where there was talk of a reference group should, but no one took hold of it. When we both joined Waterborne it seemed natural that we did”, she says.
“It is important that we, from the Swedish side, pursue the right matters within the EU. We must provide a clear, common basis and be proactive. Often, questions come at short notice and then we want to be able to give elaborate and good answers.”
Åsa Burman agrees and says that the work is currently focusing on the content of the Horizon Europe research and innovation program.
“This system is based on making statements about what you think is important to invest in. So we must stay on guard.”
“European shipping also wants to form a partnership – Zero emission Waterborne Transport – something that we want Sweden to support. Here it is also important to monitor Swedish interests and to ensure that the partnership is designed in a way that suits us. This also applies to the work on the Waterborne Strategic Research Innovation Agenda, a document requested by the European Commission and aimed at focusing on the R&D that the technology platform should run”, Åsa Burman says.
Anna Ryrfeldt says that the initiative is also appreciated by Vinnova.
“By gaining control over which areas are prioritized by Swedish shipping we facilitate the work for Vinnova, which otherwise may have to balance the different organizations’ data.”
The Swedish EU reference group is open and welcoming stakeholders from across the industry. So how to do if one wish to attend meetings?