Major research initiative to improve data-driven innovation

The Knowledge Foundation has granted the University of Borås SEK 12 million to conduct a research project on data-driven innovation. Giving the project a total budget of SEK 26.5 million, a further SEK 14.5 is to be provided by twelve companies. These will be working with the university researchers involved in the project, which is scheduled to run for four years.

- When the business world and academia jointly define a research issue and carry out the research, we know that the right conditions have been created for the research to lead to increased competitiveness for companies and benefit for academia. We have great expectations of the University of Borås establishing a profile in this field, comments Madelene Sandström, CEO of the Knowledge Foundation.

A synergy project with three subprojects

Data-driven innovation revolves around the strategic use of data and analyses to improve or promote new processes, products, services and markets. Led by Stefan Cronholm, project manager and professor, the University of Borås is to study how socio-technical resources improve data-driven innovation in organisations.

- Few organisations have fully succeeded with data-driven innovation. Despite obstacles, organisations invest heavily in collecting and analysing data from various data sources. We want to improve the opportunities for companies to: create new innovations using unexploited data sources; find tools (in the form of methods, strategies and algorithms) that help companies to eliminate or by-pass obstacles; and, develop competitive edges, states Stefan Cronholm.

This four-year “synergy project” comprises three integrated subprojects.

- An important part of the project centres on comparing and integrating the approaches of the subprojects. This is where synergies will be found, explains Stefan Cronholm.

National and international companies

- We will be collaborating with twelve companies in this project. We have worked with some of them before. I think that companies wanting to work with us again is a mark of confidence. It shows that what we do is relevant. The companies with us this time are both national and international, for example, the world-leading IT company, Tata Consultancy Services from India. To see how various enterprises use data-driven innovation, we have consciously chosen to mix large and small companies, reveals Stefan Cronholm.

The University of Borås is now undertaking several important initiatives that, in various ways, concern digitalisation and its consequences for private and public operations as well as the individual citizen.

- The Knowledge Foundation granting this synergy application is a milestone in the university’s history. It strengthens the relationship with one of our prioritised research financiers. The research activities that, with the support of the Knowledge Foundation and the participating companies, can now be conducted in the field of data-driven innovation are a very important element in the university’s endeavours to concentrate impetus around research into digitalisation. Furthermore, this is being done in a western Sweden perspective and in a way that is both nationally and internationally critical, says Jenny Johannisson, assistant vice-chancellor for research at the University of Borås.

The Knowledge Foundation in brief

With the mission of strengthening Sweden’s competitiveness, the Knowledge Foundation is the research financier for universities. It finances research and continuing professional development that, in collaboration with the business sector, is conducted at Sweden’s new universities, colleges and special colleges Amongst other things, the Fund works towards higher education institutions: building internationally competitive research environments; concentrating long term on strategic profiling; and, increasing collaborations between academia, the business sector and institutes. 

Read more about the Knowledge Foundation