Sweden Launches Global Sustainability Student Competition in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Today at the World Expo in Shanghai, Swedish innovation and sustainability initiative Down To Earth launches a global competition for young talent, mixing innovation, sustainability and space technology. The purpose is to develop new business opportunities for the global industry and to create new exciting jobs for the young generation.

The competition is launched during Sustainability Space Day, with top stakeholders from industry, academia and government attending to discuss how commercialized space technologies can create new growth opportunities, innovations and jobs.

Students from all over the world will be invited to submit their contributions for helping companies innovate sustainable products and services based an real problems and inspired by space. The competing teams base their contributions on a SWOT analysis presented by the particiating partner company, describing their market situation. The students engage in a process working in multidisciplinary teams on innovation plans in collaboration with the partners, using life-lines or umbilicals to access know-how.

The idea is that the winning team will get the chance to work with the partnering company and space technlogy experts in commercializing the innovative ideas.

- Down To Earth’s student competition is a way for us to mix real world problems with new business opportunities and talented students from different fields of academia to create concrete results. For us it is important to push these initiatives to ensure that the international business developers we educate understand these dynamics and can collaborate and act on the opportunities created, says Professor Niclas Adler, Dean and Managing Director of Jonkoping International Business School in Sweden.

Jonkoping International Business School, one of Europe’s most international business schools, is starting up the student competition together with Down To Earth co-founder Umbilical Design, Sweden’s first space design company. Down To Earth is an open innovation process for commercializing materials, technologies and solutions from space. The basic assumpion is that firms should use external as well as internal ideas and paths to market, as they look to advance their technology. Down To Earth sees great benefit in connecting young talented students to this process and are now inviting industrial partners to join.

- My own experience says that you don’t have to know everything for a creative process to produce exciting results. By partnering with Down to Earth’s student competition, companies have great incentives to communicate strategic challenges for the future and open up their innovation process. Integrating creative and entrepreneurial thinking among students will create exciting new business ideas and innovation plans, says Cecilia Hertz, space designer and Managing Director of Umbilical Design.

The competition kick-starts on November 20th, in celebration of the 10th year anniversary of The International Space Station, ISS. In a first phase, competing teams will work with Swedish companies and in the next phase the competition will be launched with companies in different parts of the world. Down To Earth hopes many participating students will join already from the start.

- For students, this is a competition targeting on of the most challenging topics of our time - how to generate a more sustainable world and develop more sustainable products and services while creating growth, innovations and jobs, says Professor Niclas Adler with Jonkoping International Business School.

About Down To Earth

Down to Earth is a 10-year global initiative founded in Sweden, with the overall objective to stimulate our industry to create new exciting jobs for young people based on sustainable concepts and technologies. Inspired from the knowledge on material, methodologies and solutions from the space industry, Down To Earth offers increased business opportunities for various business and industry sector. Through a multi-disciplinary innovation process, Down To Earth shows how space can be a catalyst for creativity and how space technology transfer have the potential of creating industrial renewal, in Sweden as well as globally. The project is a collaboration between Umbilical Design and Jonkoping International Business School, with partners from both industry and government. More information on

About Umbilical Design

Umbilical Design is a Swedish company in the area of design for space applications and for technology transfer from the space sector to other industries. Umbilical Design has worked with NASA, ESA and with projects across many industries. The company was founded in 2001 by space designer Cecilia Hertz. More information on

About Jonkoping International Business School (JIBS)

Jonkoping International Business School (JIBS) has since its origin in 1994 become the most international business school started in Sweden and one of the most international business schools in Europe. JIBS is today a recognized institution with world leading research and high ranked educational programs in business, economics and business law. JIBS work in partnership with more than 200 universities around the world and has more than 400 exchange students from about 80 countries taking part in JIBS educational programs every semester. More information on

Source: The Swedish Committee for Expo 2010 in Shanghai