Interview with Inger Gustafsson, new chair of the JPI Urban Europe Governing Board

Inger Gustafsson succeeds Ingolf Schädler, from the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, who chaired the Governing Board since the inception of the programme in 2010.

Inger who works for Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova, starts the chairmanship with reassurance and gravity: “I sincerely believe in the importance of research and innovation collaboration among the European member states to meet societal challenges, including the transformation of cities”.

Vinnova has identified systemic transformation in cities as a prioritised area. Combined with the fact that two other Swedish funding Agencies, Formas and SWEA, are also part of JPI Urban Europe, Inger considers it natural that Sweden takes on more responsibility in the initiative, where these issues are central.

Inspired by JPI Urban Europe
Inger has been part of the Governing Board since the start and she concludes that JPI Urban Europe has grown in importance, from an small scale initiative into a respected knowledge hub with influence in important European policy contexts as well as a funder of research that provides evidence based policy advice to cities: “I am inspired by the fact that JPI Urban Europe plays an important and distinct role in the implementation of EU Urban Agenda and the New Urban Agenda and the global sustainability goals.”, says Inger.

I am inspired by the fact that JPI Urban Europe plays an important and distinct role in the implementation of EU Urban Agenda and the New Urban Agenda and the global sustainability goals.

Stakeholder involvement as key to reach goals
Next year a central focus of programme activities will be the definition of a new research and innovation agenda (SRIA) for the programme from 2019 and onwards. JPI Urban Europe offers an experimental zone and strives to lay the ground for a new way of collaboration amongst researchers, practitioners and politicians. Projects that JPI Urban Europe finances, shall contribute to the transformation of cities in Europe into more sustainable ones, and to strengthen the capacity of key actors to prompt this development. In this context Inger is convinced that we need not only new technology but also better governance models and decision making processes, not the least concerning public involvement.

She sees the New Urban Agenda is an important reference – JPI Urban Europe shall support the implementation of the agenda via research and innovation. “In the SRIA consultation process we will put a lot of effort in involving representatives of those actors that can use the outcomes of research and innovation, and therefore need to be part of the experimentation and knowledge production in cities together with the researchers.” Inger concludes.

Stay in tune with JPI Urban Europe in newsletters, on website and in social media to get updates on the SRIA consultation process. More information will be available beginning of January. 

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