WASP has a new WARA Director, Torbjörn Lundahl. As having been part of the initial planning of the research arenas within WASP, he is looking forward to develop this strategic instrument even further.

From January 1, 2020, Torbjörn Lundahl is Director of WASP Autonomous Research Arenas (WARA). The appointment was formally decided by the WASP board at February 12, 2020. He replaces Gunnar Bark who has moved on to other challenges outside of WASP.

Torbjörn Lundahl has a brief history as a researcher on fractal models for picture categorization. Through a Fulbright Scholarship he went to the US to develop mathematical models for analyzing grades of osteoporosis of astronauts.

“My time as a researcher was such a short period, I usually do not even mention it. But since I’m in this context now, I actually also did receive a Wallenberg scholarship. Maybe this is my chance to give back to the Wallenberg Foundations.”

For the last 30 years Torbjörn Lundahl has been employed at Ericsson where he has had several management positions. Currently he holds the position as Research Director at Ericsson Research. In this role, Torbjörn Lundahl has gained a lot of experience in cooperation between industry and academia.

And he is not new to WASP. He was involved already in the early stages of planning of the WASP Autonomous Research Arenas.

“I was sitting by the drawing table together with Mille Millnert, Lars Nielsen, Sara Mazur, Pontus de Laval and Gunnar Holmberg. We had this idea, that research collaboration in a for industry relevant context, should be beneficial for both the research as well as for industry to adopt new break through results. It took us one year to make up a plan for the research arenas and luckily the plan was accepted funding.”

He has since then been a part of the Demonstrator Management Group and one of the major results he has seen is the development of WARA-Public Safety (WARA-PS).

“The WARA-PS arena in Västervik has really taken off. There is so much cooperation, engagement and positive energy going on, it gives a boost to the WASP-identity. The research has gained a lot of exposure and with new organizations, such as the Swedish Sea Rescue Society and Räddningstjänsten joining, it helps us reach outside of the WASP-community.”

Torbjörn Lundahl will now investigate further how other research arenas within WASP can be developed to engage more WASP PhD students and researchers.

“An important experience from the first years of research arenas within WASP is that one model does not fit every research area. I think we have to open our minds to the idea that a research arena can be set up in several different ways. We now have to listen, and learn to understand how we can create environments where researchers and industry from different scientific fields can cooperate and test research ideas in a natural setting.”

Published: February 18th, 2020

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