“Research in industrial engineering can be linked to much of what is happening at RISE”


Petter Forsberg has one foot firmly planted in the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering at Uppsala University and the other in the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE). The fact that he has two roles has many advantages – both for himself and for his employers.

Portrait picture of Petter Forsberg.When Petter Forsberg gained his PhD in the Division of Industrial Engineering and Management almost three years ago, he was offered the chance to stay on and teach. At about the same time, he was also offered a post as a researcher at the System Transition and Service Innovation department at RISE. Instead of having to choose one of these workplaces, Petter was able to accept both posts.

“Both employers were open to the possibility that I divided my employment between them. I could see clear synergies between research carried out in the Division of Industrial Engineering and Management and the work (and research) in my department at RISE,” says Petter. 

Today Petter allocates about 20 per cent of his working hours to Uppsala University and 80 per cent to RISE. At the University, Petter teaches and supervises, mainly thesis projects in the Master's Programme in Industrial Management and Innovation. He also spends time writing research grant applications and looking for projects that may be of interest to research colleagues in the Division.

Contributing to Sweden’s transition to a sustainable future

In his research post at RISE, Petter participates in a variety of projects. The projects span a wide range of industries and sectors – from food to the development of Sweden’s governance and administration as well as the energy sector. Often the emphasis is on analyses of new innovations or technologies – always with the aim of increasing the pace of a sustainable transition.

“Having two roles has many advantages – for me and for my employers. The strong research within the Division of Industrial Engineering and Management has turned out to be easy to link up with much of what is happening at RISE. This includes, for example, degree projects, grant application opportunities, seminars and contacts.”

Both employers involved in exciting projects

One of the most obvious examples of what Petter’s two roles have contributed to is the formation of FINEST – a national centre aiming to create the conditions for innovations that lead to an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable food sector in Sweden. A project that involves both of his employers. FINEST stands for Food INnovation for Sustainable System Transition and is working to achieve a sustainable transition of the food system. This is being done through engineering and social sciences research in active cooperation with the business community.

“Last autumn at RISE, together with both Uppsala University and Chalmers University of Technology, we issued a very big call for grant applications amounting to around SEK 50 million. For four years, we will be researching and driving the transition of Sweden’s food system by studying and helping to develop the food sector,” says Petter and continues:

“I believe that the connection between Uppsala University and RISE that I can contribute was one of the success factors behind this opportunity.”  

I’ve heard that you also have an exciting idea about a systems innovation lab – can you tell us a little about that?

“The systems innovation lab, which has just started, is one of the unique elements of the FINEST Centre. We are trying to take a completely new approach to transitioning systems by focusing on understanding and developing systems thinking. This comes out of the fact that a sustainable food sector is a challenge that no single actor alone can achieve.”

The aim of the systems innovation lab is to create an arena for the transition to sustainable systems in practice. It is intended to offer a context, a scope and a way for different stakeholders to participate jointly in a process to solve very complex challenges.

“Basically, it is a matter of trying to formulate new solutions that can make a system more sustainable. Within FINEST, we focus on the food system, but the concept can be applied in any sector,” concludes Petter.

Caroline Holmbom

More information

Read more about the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering

Read more about the Division of Industrial Engineering and Management

Read more about RISE

Read more about FINEST


Last modified: 2022-06-27