For Mistra, one important event in 2017 was our move to new premises. We rest firmly on our history and our Statutes, but we also want to be part of modern society — and have tried to create a setting that reflects this. We have purchased second-hand classic Swedish furniture, used products made from recycled materials and renovated furniture instead of buying new items.

Among research initiatives launched during the year was Mistra Geopolitics, which took its place in security policy and geopolitics from the start. Once a platform has been created, the research results generated subsequently will be in demand. Another programme that has been established is Mistra Carbon Exit, which links directly to the new Swedish Climate Act and the net zero emissions target by 2045. The programme will cover sectors such as transport, infrastructure and construction, to see how these can help achieve net zero emissions.

Mistra TerraClean, also launched in 2017, builds on Sweden’s existing lead in materials research. Finding more applications in the environmental sector is important for purifying gas or water streams, for example. Finally, Mistra Sustainable Consumption is a new initiative that addresses one of our major challenges for achieving a sustainable society: how our consumption can change so that we reach key climate targets.

In our asset management, we have focused on corporate governance. We invest in funds and engage in a close dialogue with their managers. During the year, we developed a structured process for this dialogue, based on an in-house analysis of our investments. The return has been good and exceeded the benchmark index. Today, our assets total SEK 3.1 billion, while we have disbursed SEK 4.1 billion to various initiatives since the start. In 2017, SEK 200 million was spent on research aimed at favourable conditions for life and solving high-priority environmental problems.

 

Åke Iverfeldt, VD Mistra

Åke Iverfeldt, VD Mistra

 

Mistra’s environmental review initiative under scrutiny

A panel of experts, including Maria Wetterstrand, identified success factors at Mistra EviEM.

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Mistra moves to new premises

Since December, Mistra’s new address has been Sveavägen 25, in a building with the international LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold ecolabel.

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New centre for research on sustainable investments

The Stockholm Sustainable Finance Centre is a new knowledge centre for sustainable investment. Mistra is one of the participants that have worked to bring about the Centre.

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Bioeconomy and the forest: call for research proposals

Mistra is to start a programme on bioeconomy, focusing on forest resources. The programme will have a budget of SEK 83 million over four years.

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Mistra joins climate summit in Bonn

Two Mistra programmes held side events at the major UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, for example presenting an action plan to reverse upward emission trends and reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.

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Lessons from success in combating acidification

Fifty years of European measures to combat acidification were highlighted at an international seminar, where Mistra was one of the organisers.

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Mistra’s initiative on sustainable development in the Arctic completed

Mistra Arctic Sustainable Development presented its conclusions after four years’ research. In its efforts to understand the history of the Arctic, the programme has looked both back and forward in time.

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Mistra gets new website with more search functions

Mistra’s website has undergone a complete makeover. The idea is for it to be both better-looking and easier to use.

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Workshop on how to create a greener financial market

Mistra contributed to the discussion on whether hedge funds that manage large-scale assets can become more sustainable in their investments.

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A quarter-century of Royal talks on environment and development

At the Royal Colloquium, celebrating its 25th (silver) anniversary, Mistra’s CEO Åke Iverfeldt joined in discussing climate change and the importance of cooperation.

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New initiative to reduce environmental load of drugs

The Swedish Government wants to spread knowledge of the environmental impact of drugs, and improve wastewater treatment to remove medicine residues. These measures are both based on research in MistraPharma.

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High volume of Mistra research aimed at exerting influence at Almedalen

A buffet of genetically modified (GM) foods and discussions on improved clothes recycling and Swedes’ outdoor recreation were among the programme items to which Mistra contributed during the 2017 politicians’ week in Visby, Gotland.

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Future Forests wants to move debate forward

Although concluded, the Future Forests programme continues to feature in debate. Five films on the choices ahead for Swedish forests have been produced.

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Extended initiative to bring more refugees into research traineeships

The Mistra Refugee Programme was extended by one year. The initiative is intended to give refugees a chance of getting traineeships or trial jobs in Mistra’s research programmes.

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Åke Iverfeldt elected to general assembly for SNS

Mistra’s CEO was elected as a member of the highest decision-making body, the Board of Trustees, of the Centre for Business and Policy Studies (Studieförbundet Näringsliv och Samhälle, SNS). He wanted to use this position to exert influence, not least in the area of sustainability, but also to be influenced by other members of the Board.

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SEK 49m for new programme on infrastructure maintenance

Delayed trains and leaking water mains are examples of shortcomings in Swedish infrastructure, Mistra issued a new funding call for a research programme on maintenance of infrastructure.

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Research to combat fact resistance gets Mistra programme heads involved

Getting involved in public debate without jeopardising one’s credibility was discussed when Mistra’s programme managers met to create synergies among their research fields.

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Women active in Mistra among the economy’s most powerful

A list of Sweden’s most powerful women in terms of their capacity to transform society included several women connected with Mistra.

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Youth workshop contributes to Mistra’s global monitoring

Digitisation and technological development, as well as more individualisation and health, were the themes addressed when upper secondary students shared their views on sustainability.

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Visiting environmental minister’s emphasis on benefits of research

Even more environmental research along the lines of Mistra’s initiatives was the wish expressed by Karolina Skog, Sweden’s Minister for the Environment, on her visit to Mistra.

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SEK 45 million for programme on sustainable consumption

A research programme headed by KTH Royal Institute of Technology began investigating which tools politicians can use to steer society towards sustainable consumption.

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Research on non-toxic barley cultivation flourishing

New results on the inherent capacity of barley to protect itself against pests were based on research in the PlantComMistra programme.

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European innovation prize for Mistra Urban Futures

Mistra Urban Futures started the year as the winner of a European competition on responsible research and innovation.

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Solving environmental problems

Solving environmental problems

Through its programmes, Mistra helps to address climate change and other environmental problems requiring scientific research of strategic significance. The research undertaken combines knowledge from different fields and involves relevant stakeholders from the outset, with a view to delivering practical benefits.

Strong research environments

Strong research environments

Mistra promotes the development of strong, world-class research environments that will contribute to sustainable development. Its research programmes and centres generate unique inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge, as well as developing entirely new areas of research.

Competitiveness and applications

Competitiveness and applications

Mistra’s research strengthens Sweden’s competitiveness. It enables companies, public agencies and other users to develop new products, services and methods of working that will promote a better life and help achieve the transition needed in society to meet the challenges of the future.

Meet the Researchers

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More meetings on Arctic issues wanted
According to Annika E Nilsson, discussions are a key tool for development of the Arctic.
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Pinning hopes on improved potato
Researcher Erik Andreasson wants the ban on selling GM crops to be lifted for environmental reasons.
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Piecing together a climate-neutral Sweden
Sweden’s new Climate Act requires restructuring of society, says Lars Zetterberg.
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Teaching avoidance of mistakes
Scientist Neal Haddaway travels worldwide to teach procedure for systematic reviews.
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Working to give new life to our textiles
Åsa Östlund wants to end the current situation in which most clothing we buy goes to landfill.
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Demonstrating connectedness of various threats
Malin Mobjörk classifies security risks that are arising in the wake of climate change.

Five questions to Thomas Rosswall, who after many years’ of work in Mistra’s initiatives leaves for a postponed retirement

  1. You’ve been involved in the Stockholm Resilience Centre, as well as Mistra Biotech and Mistra EviEM (the Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Management). In 2017, you left the Board of Mistra Urban Futures. You’ve reached the age of 76. Is it time to slow down?

    No, not quite yet. I still have a commitment as chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). We‘ve recently taken on the role of advisor to the whole of Sida on issues relevant to research. I think it’s wonderful that research issues have gained a more distinct profile in foreign aid activities.

    In my spare time, I’ll read all the fiction I buy but never get round to reading. And I’ll travel, see friends and go to the opera.

  2. The need for outreach of research results in society is a key issue for Mistra. How relevant is environmental research turning out to be?

    Most policy decisions in the environmental sector are based on knowledge and research results. But it’s very difficult to measure the effects of research and give concrete examples of how political decisions may be connected with research findings.

    Discovering the hole in the ozone layer was brilliant atmospheric chemistry research, but the causes were few and relatively easy to identify, so agreeing on policy decisions and measures was simple. Still, it’s taken 30 years to see results. Many other environmental issues are considerably more complex and call for both scientific and social science research. Here, Mistra has led the way and played a key role in making it relevant, by creating broad interdisciplinary programmes based on given ways of formulating problems.

  3. Can you give examples of how you personally have worked on research relevance?

    Mistra Urban Futures, where I chaired the Board until last year, is an excellent example of relevance. We worked on sustainable urban development in five cities and regions around the world, in close cooperation with the authorities. Municipal, city and regional officials alike sat down with researchers to identify key issues. It’s an unusual new way to work. It enhances people’s understanding of one another’s situation and, not least, lets researchers know what to expect from the political process.

  4. How does the research community regard the concept of relevance?

    ‘Relevance’ is a buzzword and many claim to be achieving it, but unfortunately most researchers don’t take the matter seriously. A closer look shows that it’s mostly a Potemkin village. When I was helping to evaluate some major Swedish research programmes a few years ago, the requirements were, first, that they should become world-leading within five years and, second, that the research should be socially relevant. All the programmes were world-leading, but only one programme management in five even understood the issue of relevance and was able to respond. The researchers had reflected on relevance in their applications, of course; but later, in doing the research, they hadn’t borne it in mind.

  5. There’s more and more talk about relevance, and demands from politicians are increasing. Are we heading towards an excessive focus on the usefulness of research?

    No, I don’t think so. Curiosity-driven research and relevance are concepts that overlap. What’s crucial is to support high-quality research. My perception is that young researchers today are generally much more interested in social relevance than they used to be. Take the Stockholm Resilience Centre, where I also worked: right from the start, it devoted great efforts to making the research socially relevant. Lots of young PhD students went in for this kind of research, because it was an exciting new way of working, although it didn’t fit into the traditional academic structure.

     

Mistra in figures

Funds disbursed by Mistra: 0 Mkr

Total to Swedish recipients, SEK m
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Total to foreign recipients, SEK m
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Disbursements in SEK m, by recipient

Disbursements in SEK m to the five largest recipients

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Five largest recipients’ share of total funds disbursed.

Six questions to Mette Morsing, holder of the new Mistra Chair of Sustainable Markets at the Stockholm School of Economics

  1. What made you move from Denmark and Copenhagen Business School?

    My reasons for taking the job and moving to Sweden were that the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) offers a prestigious education of a high international standard and that its management has such a clear focus on sustainability issues. It’s hard to find anything similar elsewhere in the world.
    What’s equally important is that every part of SSE is working actively on long-term development. At Copenhagen Business School (CBS) too, where I used to work, there was a great commitment to sustainability. With one exception, the Department of Finance was not in the least interested in the issue, unfortunately.

  2. What bearing have Mistra’s initiatives had on a more sustainable financial market?

    Mistra has systematically, and with great steadfastness, promoted research in the field, spreading interest in sustainability, and not only in the Swedish business and research communities. Today, almost all companies, banks and fund management firms are involved in the issue. Since the Government also launched the Stockholm Sustainable Finance Centre initiative, Sweden has had an even stronger platform for sustainability research.
    We have a unique opportunity to highlight the subject, thanks to Mistra giving us a free rein to develop the research area. On the wish list now are resources that would enable us to invite international researchers to work with us for varying periods.

  3. How do you want to develop your research and focus?

    I want Misum [the Mistra Centre for Sustainable Markets] and SSE to focus on international development. This doesn’t mean that we should drop the Swedish perspective. Rather, we’ll take some of the lessons from Sweden, and test and develop our country’s solutions in collaboration with researchers from other parts of the world. That way, we can gain insights and knowledge that may be advantageous to Sweden.

  4. How is the SSE research on sustainable finance seen abroad?

    What we do attracts the attention of many internationally active researchers, who are keen to cooperate with us. For example, the University of Oxford has invited us, along with 14 other universities, to collaborate on research in the field.
    We’re now also establishing research collaborations with various other international universities, such as New York University. It’s interesting to see different countries’ attitudes to the topic. For instance, the New York financial markets aren’t quite as interested as Swedish financial stakeholders in integrating sustainability into their management.

  5. Do you get a hearing for sustainability ideas among SSE students?

    Most of them understand the thinking, which may come to exert a great impact because many of the students will eventually have high positions in Swedish society and business. If they’re well informed about and committed to sustainability issues, it could have significant effects. But giving them an understanding of the pitfalls on the path to sustainability, not least in terms of politics and economics, is important too.
    Not all students agree with us on how best to manage sustainability issues, of course. And that’s good because it creates stimulating classroom discussions and demonstrates to the students that no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions exist.

  6. Can financial services be lucrative in a sustainable economy?

    It’s certainly possible to make profits in a green economy as well. The difference is that you should have a slightly longer investment perspective. The other advantage of a more sustainable approach is risk reduction. After all, for a company, one implication of not caring about the environment or human rights may be the risk of losing clients’ confidence.

Mistra’s staff

Åke Iverfeldt
Executive Director
ake.iverfeldt(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 10 24
Mobile: +46 70 732 03 17

Johan-Edman-16

Johan Edman
Programmes Director
johan.edman(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 10 28
Mobile: +46 70 732 40 73


Birgitta-Jonsson-Palmgren-16

Birgitta Jonsson Palmgren
Chief Financial Officer
birgitta.jonssonpalmgren(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 34 80
Mobile: +46 70 344 54 66

Chris-Folkeson-Welch-16Christopher Folkeson Welch
Programmes Director
chris.welch(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 10 26
Mobile: +46 70 732 30 74


Malin-Lindgren-16

Malin Lindgren
Communications Manager
malin.lindgren(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 10 27
Mobile: +46 76 112 37 00

Thomas-Nilsson-16

Thomas Nilsson
Programmes Director
thomas.nilsson(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 10 22
Mobile: +46 70 629 88 12


Linnea-Kassmo-16Linnea Kassmo
Office Coordinator
linnea.kassmo(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 10 23
Mobile: +46 70 659 09 60

Josefin Lönberg
Economy
Josefin.lonberg(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 10 25


asa-moberg-2_94x94Åsa Moberg
Programmes Director
asa.moberg(at)mistra.org
Phone: +46 8 791 10 21
Mobile: +46 70 732 46 02