During the week of March 30, 2015, Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of Saab AB, and Lennart Sindahl, deputy CEO, met the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff and the Brazilian Minister of Defense, Jaques Wagner. They delivered a gift letter outlining a new initiative in the existing partnership between the aerospace industries of Sweden and Brazil.
The gift, dedicated to Swedish business leader Peter Wallenberg, Sr., provides a chair, including three Swedish aeronautical professors, for Brazil's Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA). These professors will stay in Brazil between two and six months per year, in order to deepen bilateral cooperation in research projects, education and innovation in aerospace technology – an area of interest for both countries.
This new initiative is part of a long-term strategy for close cooperation between the Sweden and Brazil, as the letter states:
The ambition with this agenda is firstly, to extend the aeronautical technology cooperation beyond the Gripen system, and secondly, to provide inspiration to, and share experiences with, the surrounding innovation society in areas like sustainable energy, environmental technology, defense and security, transport and logistics, and urban development."
Saab and CISB (Centro de Pesquisa e Inovação Sueco-Brasileiro) stand behind the gift with Chalmers University of Technology, the Royal Institute of Technology, and Linköping University.
The initiative is also a part of INNOVAIR, Sweden's national strategic innovation program for aeronautics. INNOVAIR aims to strengthen Sweden's aerospace sector through increased collaboration, research and information dissemination. The organization coordinates and supports stakeholders from industry, universities, institutes, associations and government agencies.
Innovation in Sweden and at Saab
Sweden's innovation efforts are top rated, and it ranks highly among countries with the most global companies per capita. Export success is largely due to sustainable investment in research and development, cooperative efforts by government, industry and academia (a triple helix), an open innovation culture, and a strong global industrial presence.
R&D is crucial for Saab in maintaining a competitive edge; we spend 27 percent of turnover on R&D. This allows us to commercialize our high-tech innovation efforts, and we are proud to have pioneered many products and solutions that are now industry standard.
Milestones in the overarching Sweden/Brazil innovation initiative
The overarching partnership between these two countries, which began prior to the Gripen negotiations, aims to find new ways to collaborate in aeronautics and innovation:
- 2009: Sweden and Brazil sign MoU for cooperation in high-tech innovation
- 2010: Vinnova starts funding Swedish-Brazilian pre-study projects
- 2011: CISB is founded by Saab and partners in Sao Paulo
- 2012: CNPq, CISB and Saab launch Industrial Guest Researcher Scholarship Program
- 2014: Swedish and Brazilian Ministers of Defence sign framework agreement2014: ITA proposes a bilateral research initiative
- 2014: CISB & ITA arrange first workshop in aeronautics and defence, with more than 500 participants
- 2014: CISB initiates 27 Sweden/Brazil pre-studies to develop aeronautics research and innovation projects