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Published: 2023-05-26

Research projects from Umeå on prestigious IVA 100 List

NEWS The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, IVA), has announced this year's 100 list of research projects. Two of the projects are located at Umeå University: Intelligent Human-Buildings Interactions lab and LunaLEC.

Text: Sara-Lena Brännström

This year’s list gathers research projects that address technology in the service of humankind in the fields of climate transition, energy supply, welfare technology, cybersecurity and crisis preparedness.

“There is incredibly good research in Sweden with the potential to improve the world with the aid of new technology. For this year’s 100 List, IVA’s selection committee has chosen the most promising research projects that are considered to have great potential for commercial and societal benefits,” explains IVA member Marianne Dicander Alexandersson, chair of the steering group.

Two of the 79 listed projects originate from research at Umeå University.

One of them is Intelligent Human-Buildings Interactions lab, IHBI, at the Department of Applied Physics and Electronics.

”In my research, buildings are more than just structures composed of inanimate building materials. They actively respond to the external environment, exerting influence on and being impacted by the behavior of occupants who reside or work inside. At the core of my research lies a fundamental aspect: the recognition of the localized nature of the external environment, the diverse characteristics exhibited by buildings, and the inherent variations in people's behaviors and needs,” says Weizhuo Lu, professor and director of the IHBI lab.

To comprehensively investigate this complex interaction, this innovative IHBI lab provides a platform for occupants to actively experience alternative energy-efficient measures, experiment with different adaptive behaviors, and develop personalized resilient strategies in response to climate change and their specific building contexts.

”Given that individuals typically spend about 80 to 90 percent of their time indoors, the research at the IHBI lab holds significant implications for developing occupant-centric energy efficiency and climate adaptation measures. We firmly believe that the IHBI lab will create meaningful impacts on stakeholders and has immense potential to generate value for both society and industry”, says Thomas Olofsson, professor and Head of the department.

Eco-friendly light source inspires

The other project to receive a prestigious place on IVA's 100 List is LunaLEC.

LunaLEC is a spin-off company from the Department of Physics at Umeå University, which is developing an innovative and environmentally friendly light source called a light-emitting electrochemical cell, LEC.

A LEC can generate light, with virtually any color, from flexible and thin films when driven by an electrical voltage of a few volts. LunaLEC has developed and patented printing methods for the energy and cost-effective production of LEC films similar to how newspapers are made and established functional principles for designing such LEC films to emit light with record energy efficiency.

“It is stimulating to see that research conducted at Umeå University for a long time is now being recognized by IVA. Developing new advanced technology is an exciting and demanding challenge. But the fact that our LEC light sources today are environmentally friendly throughout their entire life cycle, and promise to enable meaningful applications in, for example, medical technology and disease treatment, is inspiring,” says Ludvig Edman, professor at the Department of Physics and one of the founders of LunaLEC.

About the IVA 100 List

The 100 List is compiled by Research2Business (R2B), an IVA project that works to ensure that Sweden is at the forefront of translating academic research in the domains technology and economics into commercial innovation and competitive advantage. The 100 List was launched to celebrate IVA’s centenary in 2019, hence the name. The selection committee consists of some 40 members of IVA’s network of representatives from academia, industry and the public sector. The project is a collaboration with Vinnova, the Swedish Intellectual Property Office (PRV), the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, the Knowledge Foundation, Almi and the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions.

Read more about the Umeå projects on the list (in Swedish)

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