Systems for Innovation

In 2019, a government inquiry was appointed to review innovation support within the university. The inquiry was finalized in September 2020. SFS believes that the aspect of innovation support that most affects students concerns the innovation offices.

SFS believes that innovation offices can increase the usability of many educations. Different educations have different conditions. Some educations respond to a greater extent to well-known needs in the labor market. Others instead create the conditions to create new jobs. In order for students to have as good opportunities as possible to put their knowledge into practice outside the academy, the innovation offices can play an important role, but there is reason to develop the innovation offices' assignments.

The innovation offices' collaboration with the educations should increase. Today, students often have to turn to the innovation offices themselves to take advantage of the innovation offices' services, often in addition to full-time studies. In many cases, the innovation offices' knowledge could be better utilized if they were more integrated into the training. This may, for example, be about offering lectures or shorter courses within the framework of other educational programs. It can also be about giving support to teachers so that they themselves can increase the promotion of innovation in the educations or to help e.g. companies enter the training in a constructive way.

The innovation offices can become more regional. Innovation offices are currently located at 13 universities. In Gothenburg, Stockholm and the Öresund region, there is more than one innovation office per region. At the same time, there are universities in these regions that do not have innovation offices. There are advantages to instead giving the innovation offices a clearer assignment to be available to all higher education institutions in the region. Not least, more students and researchers would have access to them. The exact distribution of innovation offices between the higher education institutions is not an issue that SFS touches on, but it is obvious that the higher education institutions can benefit from each other to a greater extent than today, and this is clearly noticeable in the innovation activities. Innovation often arises when several different fields of science and educational backgrounds meet and this can be facilitated to an greater extent than today.

The innovation offices should also turn to alumni. At present, the innovation offices are mainly accessible to active students and researchers. At the same time, we know that most innovation takes place after graduation, when the student has the opportunity to test their academic knowledge in new situations in working life and the rest of society. As it looks today, however, alumni do not have access to the innovation offices' support. SFS believes that the innovation offices should target alumni to a much greater extent than today, but that the support available for active students must not be completely removed. 

Opening up the innovation offices can with advantage be part of a more general development around the view of alumni. The image that the student is fully educated at the moment they graduated is not true. To promote lifelong learning and collaboration between academia and the surrounding society, higher education institutions can work more actively to ensure that students see the relationship with higher education and academia as something ongoing and not as something that ends when they graduate. 

Regarding the holding companies and their organization, SFS believes that the higher education institutions that are interested should be able to provide holding companies. However, the same principle does not apply to innovation offices where SFS believes that all the country's students who request it should have access to at least one innovation office. 

Finally, SFS believes that the innovation offices should collaborate more with each other across the country. At present, it is difficult for students from different parts of the country to meet and find each other to spur innovation. This increases differences between city and country and loses the creative potential that exists when students from different areas meet. If the innovation offices are also to be further integrated into the education, there is great potential for collaboration regarding how this is best done.