Research council and government agency under the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Forte, has allocated 120 million SEK to support two research programs tackling the challenges posed by adopting electric vehicles and integrating computerized instructions in the workplace.

The funding for the research programs comes from Arbetslivets utmaningar 2023, part of Forte’s ten-year national program for working life research.

Anna-Karin Florén, program manager at Forte, highlighted that the six-year programs offer researchers a chance to immerse themselves in socially relevant issues.

According to Florén, the expected outcome of these programs is the generation of substantial new knowledge in areas crucial for both the present and the future.

Study on Volvo’s Green Transition Funded

One of the supported research programs is being conducted by Professor Tomas Berglund and his colleagues at the University of Gothenburg. Their research focuses on studying the regional green transition of Volvo Cars and the Volvo Group.

Both companies have established ambitious targets, as Volvo Cars plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030, while the Volvo Group aims for a fossil-free truck fleet by 2040.

Berglund and his team have set out to investigate the effects of changes in the car industry on various cities and communities in Western Sweden. They aim to assess whether all regions will experience equal benefits or if certain areas might be disadvantaged.

The research program also delves into the potential consequences of increased unemployment in regions facing challenges, particularly if new skills become necessary.

The study will examine how cities like Mariestad, where a battery factory is set to be established, will handle the potential influx of people resulting from the industry’s changes.

The research program comprises four sub-studies investigating various aspects of the industry’s transformation. One sub-study will closely examine the corporate strategy of the Volvo Group to gain insights into their thinking and actions during this journey.

To understand their strategies and actions, the researchers will analyze the responses of other regional organizations, such as Business Region Gothenburg and Business Region Skaraborg.

The program will also evaluate whether universities and colleges are creating specialized courses to adapt to the changing demands.

“The entire Västra Götaland region’s ecosystem around skills supply will be affected,” Berglund said.

Per Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova, the automotive sector employs approximately 140,000 people in Sweden, with a significant concentration of 40,000 in Västra Götaland county, where Volvo is headquartered and operates its production facilities.