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Swedish investments in ESS are producing good effects

Swedish companies have done well in the competition for orders from ESS, and thousands of jobs have been created in Sweden and the EU because of the facility. This is shown in a new report with an analysis of the socio-economic effects of Swedish investments in ESS.

In May 2009, it was decided to build the international facility European Spallation Source ERIC (ESS) in Lund, with Sweden and Denmark as host countries. Since then, Skanska has constructed all the buildings for the facility, and the thirteen member countries of ESS have designed, manufactured, transported, and begun installing the facility’s scientific equipment. The investments that Sweden has made and is making in the facility are very large.

In 2021, the Council for Research Infrastructures (RFI) at the Swedish Research Council asked Professor Lars Håkansson and Professor Ari Kokko, both active at the Copenhagen Business School, to do an analysis of the socio-economic effects of the Swedish investments in ESS during the period 2010–2020.

“Following up the effects of these investments, not just for research but also for society as a whole, is incredibly important for us to understand how we best can benefit from the Swedish hosting of ESS,” says Lisbeth Olsson, Secretary General of the Council for Research Infrastructures.

Swedish companies successful in ESS procurements

The report shows that Swedish companies have been successful in the competition for the procurements carried out by ESS. From October 2015 up until the end of 2020, Swedish companies have received orders to a value of just over 8.5 billion SEK (excluding VAT). This is considerably more than Sweden’s cash contribution during this period, which amounted to approximately 5 billion SEK. During the period 2010–2020, the investment in ESS is estimated to have created around 37 000 annual work equivalents throughout the EU, of which around 16 000 were in Sweden.

Important to continue working for future socio-economic gains

The overall conclusion of the report is that the investments in ESS during the build-up period has generated positive socio-economic effects for Sweden. The major gains will, however, only arrive when the facility comes into full operation, at the beginning of 2028. To realise these potential socio-economic gains, Sweden will have to create a functioning ecosystem around the facility, incorporating companies, higher education institutions and research institutions, funding bodies, the relevant public agencies, and other actors. All these will together contribute to ensuring that, with ESS, Sweden becomes a leading nation both within research and also within innovation and industrial use of ESS technology.

“The report provides an excellent overview as well as a number of useful recommendations for what Swedish actors can do in the future to optimise the effects of the investments that have been made and will be made in ESS,” says Lisbeth Olsson.

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