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LTH: a lively 60-year-old continuing on a creative path to benefit the world

Students, researchers, alumni, collaborative partners, innovators and innovation support representatives. Everyone in LTH's problem-solving community is needed as LTH brings together curious questions and the highest quality research to improve living conditions and find answers to challenges of all kinds. This is what LTH's Dean Annika Olsson writes in response to LTH's 60th anniversary lecture "A place for dreams and discoveries".

– Published 13 October 2021

A group of people talking and smiling behind a green glass wall. Photo.
X-Lab, where students and staff can meet and work on simple prototypes, is an example of how LTH is working to promote innovation journeys. Picture from October 2020, when LTH's "makerspace" was inaugurated. Photo: Charlotte Carlberg Bärg

At the weekend, we had the pleasure of celebrating LTH’s 60th anniversary, and I must say that LTH is a vital 60-year-old with the future ahead of it. In one way it feels like a long time has passed since the first students were enrolled, as so much happened during LTH’s first decades. At the same time, there is a feeling that time has just rushed by, and that it is hurrying on, given the rapid developments that we are in the midst of, and in which we are an important part. 

A lot has happened since 1961; not least, I am struck by the developments that have taken place in the campus area that was once fields known as Pålsjö ängar: from the emergence of the classic buildings designed by Klas Anshelm to a neighbourhood characterised by innovation and growth.

This growth has depended
to a large extent on outstanding, leading research and a creative innovatory spirit that permeates LTH – and, of course, LTH’s central location near Ideon and Medicon Village. Many of the start-ups here, as well as new ventures by large companies, were based on or closely linked to research from LTH.

Acconeer, BeammWave, Cognibotics, Gasporox, Genovis, Immunovia, Spectracure, Speximo, Veg of Lund – these are just a few of the companies that have been launched due to LTH’s research.

Naturally, the innovative ability of our researchers also permeates LTH’s teaching, so that through their education the students can take a step towards becoming innovators and entrepreneurs.

So, what is it that makes LTH such a hotbed for innovation?

I would contend that it’s about good opportunities for interdisciplinarity, not least because we are part of a complete University with nine different faculties. Other factors are successful basic research, advanced research infrastructure, strong collaboration with industry and a well-developed innovation system just around the corner. We have LU Innovation, Ideon and Medicon Village and several other actors that are passionate about ensuring innovations can go from idea to market.

Other names that LTH
can proudly highlight are Ooble, Påhoj, Hövding, FoPo Powder, Rescued and Orbital Systems, which all originate from our students. You can find a longer but still incomplete list of innovations and companies with links to LTH links here.

LTH students can get help on their innovation journey, as Lund University has its own incubator for students – Venture Lab.

In the teaching at LTH we stimulate innovation through programme content – several programmes include courses that concern prototyping and product development – and through role models (as Professor Lars-Erik Wernersson, Acconeer’s founder, pointed out in Saturday’s panel discussion, many on the LTH teaching staff have made innovation journeys).

At LTH we now also have X-Lab, which gives students and employees from the whole of Lund University the chance to be creative and produce small scale prototypes.

During Saturday’s anniversary lecture I was glad to hear that innovators with an LTH background perceive LTH as a place for dreams and discoveries where we can “be ourselves”. It was also pleasing to hear that innovators in uncertain times think of their education as a source of security: if everything they have aimed for goes down the drain… they have their education to fall back on.

It was also an inspiring
thought that LTH’s high-quality advanced research can meet companies’ needs to an even greater extent – that together we are to work on a “summons” to ensure that more interaction and innovation will arise here in Lund, Malmö and the Copenhagen region.

I would like to thank LTH’s honorary doctor Johan Wester, who was moderator of the discussion, for asking about this – I will get back to you about the summons!

At LTH we will continue in a curious, investigative spirit to use experimental and creative approaches – to benefit the world. In our problem-solving community, we need all those involved in LTH: students, researchers, alumni, collaboration partners, innovators and representatives of innovation support.

I hope that over the next 60 years we will continue to host many meetings in which “naive” questions co-exist with the highest quality of research in order to improve living conditions and find answers to a range of different challenges. Together, we will continue to form knowledge and find solutions – to benefit the world. 

Annika Olsson

Dean of LTH