In April 2019, the government doubled the allocation to the Swedish Transport Administration's shipping portfolio. This has led to more actors getting involved, collaborations, more stable research environments and, not least, to larger projects that can significantly affect the transformation of shipping.
There is a difference between 55 million and 100 million. Ask the Swedish Transport Administration. The investment in has been successful, the authority writes in a final report for the government commission on expanded and broadened support for maritime research. "The number of applications has increased strongly, strategic investments in more extensive projects have been able to be implemented and new players have taken an interest in the area. Among the executors are actors such as authorities, institutes and consultants but also academies and the business community, for example in the form of transport buyers, ports, shipping companies and marine engineering companies.
The research performers also testify that the increased investment has had great significance for Swedish maritime research. Within the industry, the research institutes and the academy it has led to an increased level of knowledge, increased cooperation both horizontally and vertically both on a national and international level, more projects, more assignments and new hires.
In total, the Swedish Transport Administration, between September 2019 and August 2022, has received 223 applications and 79 projects have been granted research grants. This means an average grant rate of approximately 35 percent during the extended assignment period.
But it will not stop there. The need for research in the maritime area is greater than ever. "This applies to the entire area of sustainability, but perhaps especially within challenges linked to environmental and climate issues," writes the Swedish Transport Administration. "In order to achieve a more sustainable shipping, continued energy efficiency, strengthened maritime safety and strengthened competitiveness of shipping relative to other types of traffic are needed. Important means and areas for achieving success are investments in, among other things, digitization, technological development, business models, logistics and policy.”
The Swedish Transport Administration therefore recommends that "long-term stable conditions regarding research areas and available funds" be created, which is crucial for the industry's long-term investments. "Through these, Sweden can consolidate its position at the forefront of research regarding more sustainable shipping. Stability is also beneficial for knowledge building and the supply of skills to business, academia and the public sector."