ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
Øresund Environment is a regional eco-innovation forum bringing together researchers, businesses and policymakers to drive development of green technologies, mobility and cities.
Denmark and Sweden have long histories of environmental awareness and action to protect their natural heritage. They also share a region – Øresund – uniting Copenhagen in eastern Denmark with Malmö in southern Sweden. Together, the two countries have created Øresund University, a co- operation between 14 universities on both sides of the border that aims to be a world leader in scientific research.
Øresund University has been the driving force behind Øresund Environment, one of seven thematic clusters set up in the region to drive eco-innovation by bringing together stakeholders from the academic, private and public sectors. All three sectors help finance this venture, which benefits too from EU funds.
The environmental cluster started out specialising in water and waste management, driven by a focus on the marine environment – Copenhagen and Malmo are separated by a strait. More recently, it has launched projects on eco-building and eco-cities – an ‘Urban Transition’ project is in the pipeline – as well as on renewable energies such as wind, solar and biomass, and biofuels for green mobility.
The choice of topics is reinforced by the types of company involved in the project. These include: the DHI Group, which specialises in water, environment and health; Novozymes, which has an interest in biofuels; and Vestas, Denmark’s leading wind-turbine manufacturer.
To get involved, companies must pay a fee, have a base in the region and commit to intensive R&D. So far the forum boasts 70 corporate members, out of a total of 500 eco-technology companies in the region. Aside from the 14 academic members of Øresund University involving some 900 researchers, another 13 research institutes and several local authorities are members.
Øresund Environment is more about getting innovations onto the market than deciding on basic R&D, but its academic members clearly provide a solid foundation for its work. Around 500 students graduate from these institutions each year with an MSc in environmental technology.
Partnerships with some of the other six thematic clusters have been invaluable, notably those on materials, logistics and information technology – particularly smart grids. The cluster is working hard to maintain these links today, since it left the Øresund umbrella at the start of 2011 to begin operation as an independent unit administered by Lund University and Roskilde University.
Ultimately, the goal of Øresund Environment is to promote innovation and the dissemination and commercialisation of research on eco-technologies. But it also aims to offer stakeholders a platform to exchange information and be inspired. It works with regional incubators to bring innovations to market. Through synergies, Øresund seeks to secure its place as a world leader for innovation in environment, climate and energy.
Related information on the ETAP website:
‘Regional Policy contributing to sustainable growth in Europe 2020 - COM(2011)17’: