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The Swedish Energy Agency's maritime program ends

27 January 2022

SEK 83 million in six years. There will not be more money for maritime research from the Swedish Energy Agency - at least not from the maritime program, which will not receive an extension.

All funds are now spent on the shipping program, which runs according to plan until the end of 2023. What happens next is unclear, says Magnus Henke at the Swedish Energy Agency.

"The Swedish Transport Administration has increased its funding for shipping in several rounds in recent years. When the Swedish Energy Agency made a strategic analysis around 2015 that pointed to the need for a shipping program, then it was 50 million annually from the Swedish Transport Administration while it is 100 million now. So the context of the outside world has changed, and even though shipping has received much more attention in recent years than before, you have to think about what is justified. How much can the industry receive? What does the industry need to change? Can we complement the Swedish Transport Administration's efforts in a better way? These are the kind of issues we need to think about", he says.

But the industry's needs are expressed in the national agenda for shipping R & D & I, which was presented last year and which the Swedish Energy Agency was involved in producing?

"Of course, but that does not mean that we accept it outright without thinking for ourselves from the perspective of our mission. The agenda is an industrial truth, but we are guided by what we can do according to our regulation letter."

The maritime program is relatively small and costs a lot to administer in relation to what comes out in research grants. Therefore, the Swedish Energy Agency is considering creating a new program structure that includes several types of traffic.

"Nothing is ready-made. We will try to have some strategic discussions soon, but it's about shipping, aviation and maybe rail. But it depends a bit on political decisions. If we are going to have a high-speed railway in the country, it requires a lot of research efforts. The Swedish Transport Administration will certainly make some of them, but they do not have much vehicle issues and technology on their table. So the question is whether there is an industry that can receive research funding for relevant issues in the field of railways. An analysis is required."

But what does this mean for shipping? Do one need to worry that there will be less money for maritime research?

"Yes, at least for one or two years. I do not think we have time for both a strategic analysis and construction of a program that will be announced in 2022”, says Magnus Henke.

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