The Sweden US Technology Bond
good morning everyone my name is mong chang i'm the exec vice president at purdue university and the uh johnny everson dean of college of engineering on behalf of many parts and organizations of this university and the purdue research foundation would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you here in person and those watching online now or later to the first in the series of the ambassador distinguished lecturers at purdue and we are honored and privileged today to welcome madame ambassador olaf starter and dr bruggen to be the inaugural speakers in this new series here in particular we are absolutely delighted that uh purdue university the state of indiana are able to enjoy this growing relationship with many enterprises and universities from sweden and to welcome students here to welcome business here to welcome technology and economic development along with research collaboration here in the middle of this country and we are committed to be part of this utterly important and increasingly stronger bond between the kingdom of sweden and the united states of america through technology madam ambassador welcome so good morning good morning can you hear me yes thank you so much for having us here it's it's a true delight to leave washington dc haven't done that for for a long time now so good to see you all here i hope you've been doing okay during these particularly uh strange times maybe to be a student with kovid so it's good to see you all back back here i hope you i don't know if you studied at home or if you were here all the time but if you were home all the time i'm sure you're very happy to be in college so this is a great honor and actually i will give you a small history lesson today i don't know if you know very much about sweden i won't bore you with all our history from the vikings and onwards but talk a little bit about the fact maybe it's strange that a small country you can see us there uh up north where we are in the northern corner of or of the map why a small country like sweden uh establishing uh fighter jet trainer factory in lafayette indiana well it's a it's a quite long story actually uh it starts in 1814 but i will just tell you that the first swedes actually arrived in the united states in 1638 we established a colony in delaware and if we hadn't been beaten by the dutch in after 15 years and they eventually by the brits maybe you would all have been speaking swedish at this time but that's that's not the case anyway uh but um the swedish uh strong defense industry actually goes back to 1814. we then had to import a new king uh and because the dynasty that we had was uh was kind of over we had to to get someone new uh and then at the time they thought napoleon it would be good to have a french general as a swedish king so they imported marshall sean baptist bernadotte who became crown prince at the time so when he eventually inherited the throne in 1814 he realized his goal was to get norway back from denmark because we had lost norway we had lost finland and he did not at all side with napoleon he sided with the french to get norway back and then he looked at his empire and thought not so big um fairly big land but not many people very poor because we had been at war for so many many years so he decided that the union between sweden and and and and norway we should become neutral and he himself wanted to have an important role uh in europe as a mediator in all the wars you know there were constant wars at the time and so he wanted to be a prominent figure in europe mediating peace between different actors and so he thought it was good that sweden then became neutral itself because that would give him more credibility and i think in sweden at least sweden is not a member of nato we didn't join after the second world war and many think that we are uh are by default bunny huggers and peaceniks that's not the case so uh the the reason for him to do this was actually to give himself a prominent role and we were so poor this uh poverty that we had actually led to that one-fourth of our population or one-third even left for the united states in between 1850s and onwards so at the year 1900 chicago was the second biggest swedish city after stockholm and we have played quite a big role in the development of this country skyscrapers of chicago for instance were started to be built by swedes several household companies here in the u.s or swedish walgreens for instance greyhound carlson wagonly the travel company and others are swedish but anyway so one fourth of our population left because of poverty religious persecution and inequality and of course uh that eventually led to uh the creation of the swedish welfare state that we know today because of course the politicians at the time panicked one-fourth of the one-third of the population left and they had to institute schooling for everyone since the 1860s uh that and then we had some great innovations late 1800s like ericsson for instance telephone company skf ball bearing company which is also here in indiana and many other inventions so we became a country of engineers i think due to the fact that so many people left for america they went had we had mandatory schooling from the 1860s and then a strong engineering culture anyway then um you know it's all about location so we have a very big neighbor to the east so the neutrality that was then instituted in 1814 carried us through the first world war we stayed outside of that of course it was tough for us for sweden as well at the time uh same went for the second world war uh there we had a very tough balancing act to be neutral we uh for instance sold iron ore to to the germans during the war but at the time same time we provided the the brits with the ball bearings as i said before a swedish invention air protection military air protection from the swedish industry so we we tried to play both sides so um then after the second world war uh nato came about and the warsaw pact so the cold war was a fact sweden decided given our long history of neutrality to try to stay continue to stay neutral um so we did not join nato we were finland had to after the war have a friendship friendship pact with the soviet union so they were kind of left on their own uh in in the corner next to us so we then we decided as i said to be neutral or militarily non-aligned but to make this non-aligners trustworthy and believable we got a huge military industry going as i said country of engineers we had an air force already back in the 1920s but after the war our our military industry really boomed uh so since then we have you know uh created our own fighter jet plane and we are usually competing with the us on the international market i can tell you that the u.s wins more
often even though we think we have just as good a plane for a decent amount of money but so we also produce our own submarines i was just in washington at the huge army fair a usa where you could see a lot of swedish inventions together with bae we have one of the biggest companies when it comes to what you call it how you aim for with your weapons to to reduce casualties uh we have grenade launchers that used by the us army and so on so we're huge for being such a small company a country and the reason as i said why we did this why we got this big industry is to make our own neutrality credible and believable so the most of the production during the cold war was were for their own our own needs we had a very strong army during the cold war time but then when the soviet union fell and we all thought peace would come to earth and we changed our our doctrine military doctrines and we kind of not this dis assembled our military but we really scaled down we started selling and exporting and saab together with the that have you know created the grip of fighter jet has been quite successful and uh now as i said we are opening a huge facility today uh in lafayette to produce uh trainers fighter jets so it's airplanes but it's not the real combat ones but it's the ones you use for training so huge factory huge production and of course great for innovation and i know that saab together with the university in lean shopping where they are located will have a very strong tie to purdue university so that's another strong link so for those of you who are interested in aeronautics come and work in lean shopping for a while i think it would be great and we also have i think you have an exchange program with our with our university there so this is a long story of telling you why a small country in the north that is kind of a peaceful trying to have a peaceful existence in in a very tough area has a strong military industry that is actually going to indiana today we are increasing our defense spending quite a lot we see russia as an increasing threat when it comes to military activities we cannot anymore rule out a military attack from russia we see a buildup of the russian military forces we see much more activity in the baltic sea which you can see the ocean between the water between sweden and and finland and and russia we see much more present activity there of russian forces annexation of crimea in 2014 of course shows that russia does not respect international law and sovereignty of other countries and we are quite worried about the situation in our vicinity we are of course completely aware of the u.s focus on china we share that worry about china but of course we don't see a military threat from china in our area but we do see that from russia so very much about my work everyday work in in washington is you know telling the story that i just told you why we need to cooperate very closely with the united states as i said we're not a member of nato but we cooperate very closely with the united states when it comes to development of our military equipment when it comes to military exercises we have been in all nato even if we're not a member of nato we still have been in all um nato's military operations taking part in afghanistan alongside with american colleagues and so forth so for us it's paramount to our security that the u.s interest in europe is still there and that you show up at exercises show the russians that you the transatlantic link and and and the article 5 in nato is valid so that's what i try to preach every day in washington and i can assure you we have a very good cooperation but given the shift of focus which we completely understand towards asia and every government and every administration just has one bag of money and when that has to be divided uh when it comes to your security um we just want you to keep your interest in the baltic sea and in our region as well so so we can we can stay safe of course we don't only see military threats cyber hybrid is very much a reality and that's maybe where we are even more vulnerable i'm sure you have taken notice of the ransomware attacks in your country washington dc was out of gasoline this summer because the ransomware attack on a pipeline from texas we just had an attack on like our safeway so 800 stores could not sell food for a whole week quite serious so that's also things we need to take more seriously and i think u.s students at this fantastical technical university have all the opportunities to also get into those kind of technical issues how do we protect ourselves from cyber attacks in the future because maybe that's even more of a realistic threat to our societies than uh than an actual military threat so sweden is not just a military superpower we're also an innovative super power actually in the last ranking we were number two and the second most innovative country in the world after switzerland we are very proud of that as i said we're a country of engineers we're we're very innovative when it comes to all the new technologies that i've talked about stockholm is second place in the world when it comes to unicorns after silicon valley so now it's my great pleasure to hand over to maria brubaris who is the innovation counselor at the embassy to tell you a little bit more of what we are doing so thank you so much for attention thank you colleen and thank you purdue university for inviting us it's a real pleasure to be here i will broaden the scope from defense and security to to sustainability in in general and inviting you all to cooperation with sweden in in this area we have just launched this uh wording pioneer the possible to show that it's i mean sustainability and technology in to advance sustainability is it's really here so that's what i want to invite you all to collaboration with sweden so let's pioneer the possible together yeah sorry the sustainable development goals goals 17 goals that are due in 2030 it's only a bit more than eight years to go and we are not not on track with most of the goals so we need to really speed up what we are doing climate change really needs to be tackled sweden has quite ambitious climate targets and we were really happy when the u.s announced that you would rejoin the paris agreement that's really i mean good it's a message to the world that when the world's largest economy uh really commits to this it's really powerful and it mobilizes efforts from everywhere and i mean you could say that these are only i mean the dates here carbon neutrality in 2040 or 2050 it's just it's targets it's maybe just words but i'm here to to i mean to give some example on what's really happening in sweden and also in global cooperation because the green translation is really happening there are a lot of stuff going on green batteries for example in the end of this year the swedish company north vault will have start full-scale production of the world's greenest battery cells uh in the north part of sweden and that's an area which is really booming with new companies in the area of technology so these batteries it would be lithium-ion batteries using renewable energy and also in a closed loop process where all the materials will be recycled so using recycled materials as input and then having this closed loop and billions of dollar has been invested in this in this project another example is fossil free steel we have now produced the first steel with input of hydrogen from renewable electricity producing steel without carbon emissions and that has been delivered to the swedish company volvo for producing uh trucks and this is called a hybrid project so fossil free and also it says here fossil free from mine to steel and also the mining industry is making the shift towards fewer electricity driven machines with the help of engineers of course hybrid will have commercial scale production of fossil free or carbon free steel from 2026.
now it's only a pilot plant so far other new solutions are whatever you can make from wood for example you can make i mean of course uh high rises with wooden structures uh the picture in in the middle here clothing a new factory in sweden is starting now to produce cellulose and textiles from from wood and of course airplane fuel can also be made from from wood maybe saab will will run on that in the future yeah thumbs up over there yeah so a lot of things are really going on and also when it comes to technical innovations for human well-being for for quality of life there are also many things going on and as karen said we have a long tradition of engineers in sweden i'm really proud of that for example the marine propeller is a swedish invention invented in the uh by john erickson in 1850 and this propeller was actually used in the civil war ship monitor which beated the confederate ship what's it called yeah marimac so it proved that it functioned and corian also mentioned the ball bearing which we are proud that skf the swedish company invented in the early 20th century and now development of this technology is going on here at purdue and actually i heard that purdue has produced two and soon to be we hope three phd that is working at skf with advance in this technology so great cooperation there more recent modern inventions are for example bluetooth which is a swedish invention the pacemaker skype the free internet call service is a swedish invention spotify online music streaming more modern and popular inventions i guess you have heard of all of them but this is i mean it's not single individuals or single companies that drive this innovation it's it's cooperation of course scientists have a huge part in this making the foundation and breaking new i mean pushing the frontier of our knowledge but there also is business leaders who are that have the courage to invest and to make these inventions into real innovation and put them on on the market and investors that that are willing to to risk their money in helping the business leaders in sweden we find that politicians have been really important in in putting the long-term rules of the game in place in sweden politicians were really early out in establishing a carbon tax perhaps not not so popular but every by everyone at the time but that has really showed that we want to reduce the use of fossil fuel it's the carbon tax on on the content of fossil fuels in energy so that has had a crucial role in decreasing carbon dioxide emissions and you see at the same time we have increased gdp quite a lot so there is not i mean the economy did not suffer and what was crucial here is this long-term direction this is where we are going that was also the reason why sweden were one of the i think we were the first country to have this carbon neutrality goal to set the direction for businesses uh to to minimize risk and as coins said we're a really small country up in the north only a point 13 percent of the world population so we have always had to be open we have i mean we're also depending on our exports so that's sort of in our dna but although we're a very small country we are proud to have three percent of the world's top 100 universities so uh i mean far more than our sort of share of the top universities we have an innovative public sector we have had this triple helix cooperation between academia the public sector and business that is really also something that defines sweden uh which you value a lot but of course it's not only sweden we cannot we we cannot meet the sustainability goals ourselves so it's also a lot about cooperation and we already mentioned the ball bearing several times this is just a i mean it may seem like a small small example but what the ball bearings have done for the world is actually huge in saving costs and fossil fuels so those i mean give us a handful of those inventions and i mean it makes a difference so i would like to invite you all to connect with us and join us in the co-creation of a more sustainable society and technology to assist on that journey so just i mean you could come to sweden and study as an international student there are many different i mean we have a lot of different university and you can do a short period of time or you can stay longer and there are information at studying sweden.sc for example if you are a more senior researcher a doctoral student or or senior researcher there are also a lot of opportunities grants and we have this foundation swedish foundation for international cooperation in research and higher education that can guide you for example if you're interested my last invitation i mean i invite you all of course to cooperate with sweden uh a specific um event that we will host is in connection to the world expo in dubai we will host a virtual innovation event a four-day sweden innovation day days event to cooperate on co-creating and sustainable solutions and i speak two there will be four different sessions so i picked two here missions to achieve the global goals and co-creation for innovation which is more about how we know it if we can innovate the way way we innovate so uh you're all very welcome to join us in this journey to to pioneer the possible and i hope i was able to share some some of the inspiration i'm really inspired to to be here i will have a lot of interesting meetings during the rest of the day i'm really looking forward to that and thank you so much for listening and if you have any questions you are well welcome to to contact me i work at the swedish embassy in washington dc as a science and innovation counselor so please if you have any questions you're welcome thank you uh what do you see is the biggest industry going forward with cooperation on a technological level between the us and sweden thank you we see a lot of swedish investments here a lot of startups coming over to the us uh many of them do the mistake of going to new york and silicon valley first and realize it's too expensive but that's a big part we are creating lots of jobs with saab here for instance technology wise ericsson is putting a huge ericsson you know the it's swedish and it's putting up huge research facilities in the united states really growing strongly ikea is expanding so so there's lots of them actually but we are also trying to invite as many american companies to come to sweden as possible many of them have been in the uk for instance but now that they have left the eu we are actually good spot for american investments given as i said our technological level but also that most of us speaks english but the u.s is our fourth largest market we are the 13th largest investor in the united states uh and growing so as maria said we're when it comes to population we're like number 90 in the world so being the 13th largest investor here is huge so this is a very attractive market for for suites so in all sectors i would say i don't know if you want to add any special sectors in technology i mean we are pushing the green transition now so that's what we um really i mean also defense but i would say that the green transition is it's really a priority for the swedish government for cooperation also life sciences i'm jay gur i'm a professor in school of mechanical engineering also faculty member in the maurice mauricio zukro laboratories where the saab enterprise is growing across the street one of the large recent projects i received was to help a traditionally coal burning 1300 megawatt power plant make transition uh while operating and not losing large number of jobs and the exergy-based efficiency doubling as well as retraining of the workforce in the information technology areas in the i will simply say the phrase artificial intelligence area we have progressed i have colleagues at lund university who i interact with in sweden but could you comment on information technology and the advent of artificial intelligence and more importantly pathway to green while not losing jobs well i think one of the things that we are very proud of in sweden is how we have transformed our society uh when it comes to you know we have all lost industries over the years so for instance malmo used to be one of the biggest ship building places in sweden and also in europe i don't think they hardly build any ships anymore uh so that society was transformed we have a program uh that uh the employers association together with the trade we're very highly unionized country 80 percent are unionized uh but so the employers association together with the trade unions have a program where uh if for instance if you work at an industry that is is going out of date and not being replaced they will actually put you in a program where they will ask you so what is your dream job and let's say you say florist and there's a need of floyds they will retrain you so within one year 80 percent of the workers are actually in new careers so from i would say for 40 50 years we've had this kind of program uh to to shift people's focus and also as i said after the cold war we not dismantled but but made our military force our armed forces much smaller so we had lots of military regiments for instance that had to close down we have to retrain those who many officers actually became teachers which they have been very successful so we have we have a long tradition of of transitioning workers from industries that are not we don't save industries in sweden we save workers so the government will never go in and for instance you remember saab the car that had never got any help from the government to survive uh but we retrain the workers so so that's how we do it that's the business has to be sustainable in its own right but then we will have to help the people to transition into something else but when it comes comes to iai that's of course a highly important political area where the politicians are now i just read a paper yesterday trying to to figure out how they should be able to coordinate their efforts better to support the development of ai technology in many sectors of both the public sector but also the private sector i think the our politicians are a bit have been a bit late but industry is going for forward and i know the wallenberg foundation that was mentioned here are doing putting a lot of money into research for instance at the swedish universities when it comes to ai no okay so hi john anders manson today i'm primarily swede but i'm also professor here at purdue i know you have a lot of great program with great university around the world now we have a wave here we can write we can surf on with this hop coming here do you have any good recommendations for how we can get more of these young people in the exchange program with sweden and swedish universities i think it i think as students you have to think a little bit out of the books i think many don't think about sweden as a country to go to because i guess many would like to go to germany or or france or the uk or or ireland or english-speaking countries but as i said in sweden as maria said lots of programs in english we are as also being said we have lots of universities there are world leading in many many ways so i think for you if you decide to come you would have an experience that you wouldn't have anywhere else our society is also very different given the welfare system of sweden and actually if you decide i don't want to pull you away from purdue but you can get an engineering education in sweden for half the price or one third of the price at a very good quality so that's also interesting so um if you want to experience something totally different really do come it's huge we there are lots to experience lots of fun young young people and good universities but maria can add yeah i also want to add now i'm looking at miguel anderson over there that the swedish american chamber of commerce is putting an a mobility program in place for student exchange but also for for internship at companies so it's it's a two-way mobility program so you can i mean if you you do your studies here they can have your internship in sweden and and vice versa and i think that's i mean that that will be a very strong create a very strong bond between the u.s and sweden
and also you can go to a bar when you're 18. good morning thank you for those comments i just wanted to add and uh you know george's here uh but before the pandemic there were we had a significant increase in the number of students who were going to sweden i mean we have partnerships of course in many universities but including internships in scania uh and you know many other universities study abroad but we also had interestingly faculty who led faculty that study abroad programs all the way to kiruna so you know we read the news see what's happening and those of you who don't know about the the kiruna story it's a pretty amazing story as well and our faculty pivot and lead students to see what sweden is doing so just wanted to add all that was going on well before the pandemic is really exotic you know it's over the arctic circle they have actually just moved the whole town because it was sitting on the big mine kiruna is a mining town and they felt that they were worried that the city would actually sink because of the all the hollowness underneath so they moved the whole city uh no it's a fantastic experience it's a fantastic town and there's also the technical university of lulu which is really on the forefront of technology as well so please do come i think you would really enjoy it