Taking industry collaboration to a global level

In this interview with Jan Grahn, Director of GigaHertz Centre, he shares his experiences on how academia in general, and the GigaHertz Centre specifically, build succesful collaboration with industry, and the value for Chalmers.

New high-frequency components and techniques for future communication and sensor systems are being developed at the GigaHertz Centre at Chalmers; from radio transmitters in base stations for mobile networks, to microwave components in scientific instruments sent out into space.

The GigaHertz Centre is a joint research venture between Chalmers and industry partners, and their mission is to bring scientific advances at university faster to industrial exploitation.

The Centre started in 2007 and has recently entered into the final 4th stage which will end in 2016. We took the opportunity to ask the Centre Director Jan Grahn a few questions.

What is your most important conclusion or experience of GHz Centre so far?
– GHz Centre belongs to the second generation of competence centres between Chalmers and industry. If I compare with what we achieved 2006 in the first generation of centre, two large differences stands out: (1) Much larger involvement from industry at Chalmers, not only in its contribution to the centre but also in how it works together with our researchers and students. As a result, co-publication in scientific literature between Chalmers and industry has surged and the impact in industry from the research at Chalmers has become much more evident. (2) The globalisation of our centre. In the past, research collaboration between academia and industry was seen as a national or even regional project. Today, GHz Centre is an international research centre with world-leading companies from six countries.
How does industry, and society, benefit from the work in GHz Centre?
– We have collected a number of success stories on www.chalmers.se/ghz which gives concrete evidence in how our research produces patents, industrial contracts, contribution to wireless standardization, component models for industry and not at least, new products and more jobs for Gothenburg and Sweden. I wish to highlight Chalmers’ and MC2s’ research on gallium nitride (GaN) during more than ten years which now is paid off in a new generation of radar products from Saab, also involving several other company partners in the supply chain. Recently, Saab was announced as Aviation Week Laureate Award Winner for its acceleration of the new GaN electronics to industrial system level. It is good to know that we also contributed to that increase in Swedish global competitiveness.

What with GHz Centre is especially valuable to Chalmers?
– The most important is that we glue several different actors in ICT around one common agenda. In particular, GHz Centre is building on the strong local industry tradition in telecom, space, and defense & security industry. After more than twenty years of research collaboration between Chalmers and industry, I am convinced that this type of centre collaboration between academic and commercial actors is by far the most efficient for all involved, including Swedish tax-payers. And despite the applied nature of a research and innovation centre, the research projects in GHz Centre are surprisingly long-term which produces many outstanding publications and PhDs.

What can we expect from GHz Centre stage 4?
– Two things: First, we see a very interesting launch in mm-wave technologies for 5G where we in one project even (for the first time) carry out a bridge research activity between GHz Centre and the antenna system centre CHASE. The quality of the ingoing partners is terrific. Second, we now face a strategic discussion on how we wish to set up microwave and antenna research between Chalmers and industry for the 2020’s. We are foreseeing interesting discussion between MC2, S2 and Chalmers new President in how we can make this in the best way for the researchers, students and industry.
Professor Jan Grahn, contact information and short bio >>

GigaHertz Centre (GHz Centre) is a ten-year agreement between Chalmers University of Technology, research institutes, company partners and the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) to carry out research and innovation in wireless communication and sensor technologies. All partners jointly invest resources in the GHz Centre in order to carry out research projects along a common plan. The projects are selected from common needs among the industrial partners. The GHz Centre is administered and hosted by Chalmers, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience - MC2.
Read more at www.chalmers.se/ghz

Page manager Published: Wed 29 Apr 2015.