WASP Research Arenas

Greater research impact and industrially relevant breakthroughs, two of several expected outcomes of the WASP Research Arenas (WARA). A unique opportunity for testing and developing scientific theories outside the lab in industrially relevant settings.

The main objectives of the WASP Research Arenas (WARA) are to increase the value and relevance of research and to shorten knowledge transfer between academia and industry. The arenas offer technical support combined with a friendly and collaborative environment that strengthen and facilitates collaboration between WASP researchers and industry partners.

Through the research arenas, system-level platforms and testbed scenarios far beyond the reach of individual university labs, are made available for research. The networks around the arenas are also incorporated in other parts of WASP such as in the PhD project course and other research initiatives.

The Two Concepts of Research Arenas

WASP Research Arenas are built up around either a scenario or a general-purpose technology.

Scenario arenas are focusing on an industrially relevant scenario covering one or several defined research challenges. An example is the WARA-Public Safety, known for its research demonstrations on autonomous search and rescue operations in the Swedish archipelago, in which several interesting research challenges are addressed.

An industrial partner should take ownership of such an arena and at least three industrial partners and three research groups should be involved.

General-purpose technology arenas take their starting points in one or several defined research challenges but can except from investigating their own questions, also serve as infrastructure supporting other parts of WASP, including other arenas.

At least three industrial partners and three research groups should be involved and either one of the partners could take the ownership.

Examples of this type of arena is the WARA Ops and WARA Media and Language.

Values of Engaging in WASP Research Arenas

Engaging in WASP Research Arenas improve research impact and can be an important component for dissemination. There are however some specific key benefits for the different participants:

WASP PhD Students

  • Validate the potential of your research results and improve impact
  • Gain access to state-of-the-art resources
  • Grow your network with others in the WASP community and Swedish industry

WASP Faculty

  • Collaborate with leading industrial researchers
  • Inspiration and well-grounded sense of relevance when formulating new research challenges
  • Support WASP Graduate School Project Courses


  • Influence research agendas
  • Gain access to research results
  • Visibility to brilliant WASP PhD students

Propose a New WARA

Proposals for starting new arenas can be initiated either by industry or academia. Ideas can always be discussed with the WARA Director, please see contact information in the bottom of this page.

An arena is initially approved for two years with possible prolongation by a maximum of two years each time.

Research Arenas in WASP

There are, up to this date, four active WASP Research Arenas.

WARA Operational Data (Ops)

Ops is an ambitious research arena that seeks to bring together Swedish industry and academia to solve state-of-the-art challenges in data-driven operational research. It will develop an advanced data storage and processing infrastructure that will enable users to interactively store, annotate, process, and visualize large operational datasets, and – importantly – will provide a collaborative environment that will allow users to interact, share data and results, and set challenges and research questions.

WARA Media and Language (M&L)

The mission of WARA Media and Language is to build a multidisciplinary ecosystem around Media AI, connecting scientific fields and a diversity of industrial segments. WARA-Media and Language addresses research topics related to the generation and analysis of media data, and extrinsic effects of the same. It provides data management and benchmarking, together with engineering support and legal consultation on IP matters. The arena is horizontal, viewing Media AI as both an area for research and as an enabling technology that intersects with the scenario arenas WARA-PS and WARA-SW.

WARA Public Safety (PS)

The WARA-PS focuses on heterogeneous system-of-systems in joint operation to handle complex scenarios around public safety. This includes unique autonomous vehicles and sensors in true multi-domain; in the air and space, on ground, on water and underwater. Collaboration between experienced engineers, researchers and real users ensures important use cases for industry and society as well as challenging research to be tested in real environment.

WARA Robotics

The WARA Robotics will include a multitude of manipulation tasks to give a rich set of research problems in an environment that enables robots to navigate and perform manufacturing-relevant manipulation tasks. Under realistic deployment conditions this require robots to autonomously understand the world around them, to build knowledge incrementally, learn new skills, perform them safely and reliably, and adapt to changes in the environment and in humans’ behavior.

Contacts for WASP Research Arenas

Torbjörn Lundahl

WARA Director

Jesper Tordenlid

Project Manager WARA-PS, Adj. member AMG, Saab AB

Johan Eker

Co-Project Manager WARA Ops, Adj. member AMG, Ericsson Research

Johanna Björklund

Project Manager WARA Media, Adj. member AMG, Assoc. Professor, Department of Computing Science, Umeå University, Co-founder, Adlede and Codemill

Jonas Larsson

Project Manager WARA Robotics, Adj. member AMG, Senior Principal Scientist, ABB Corporate Research
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