Christmas Greetings from SAFER!
Dear SAFER Friends,
This year has been special in many ways due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. To fight the virus, our homes have been our war zones and our patience has been our weapon. But despite the worldwide pandemic, activities at SAFER and our mission to bring people together to create research and knowledge that save lives and prevent injuries have nevertheless developed in a positive way. We have not been able to meet in person as much as we use to, but with some creativity we have found new means and tools to collaborate without meeting physically. And we are growing! Four new partners joined SAFER during the year, our project portfolio has grown by another 37 projects and we will start 2021 with as many as 50 projects in the portfolio. The number of researchers involved in the network has increased by almost 100, from around 350 to close to 450 people.
It is also with great pleasure that we look back on the global UN conference on road safety, which was held in Sweden in February. In addition to the exchange of knowledge and experience, the conference resulted in the Stockholm Declaration, a strategic agenda on how to improve road safety globally. The Stockholm Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to a UN resolution in August, a major step for improved road safety all around the globe. At SAFER, we are now looking into how we in the best possible way together can utilize the outcome from the UN Conference. We see a great opportunity to take advantage of our strengths to both contribute to the global sustainability goals and to be inspired and guided in our research to meet our common challenges and needs. SAFER was also highly involved in the UN-conference by hosting a pre-event “Borderless research to save lives – an experience on how Vision Zero can be addressed by collaboration”. This also gave us a good opportunity to meet all SAFER partners and exchange ideas and knowledge. The event was well-attended, and we would like to thank all SAFER partners who were involved and contributed to this work.
It is not only the UN conference that has engaged us, we have also been active in the formation of the EU's new research programme, Horizon Europe. SAFER has continued to be a strong speaking partner in the processes shaping the upcoming research programmes in Sweden and the EU. For instance, in the formation of the CCAM (Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility) partnership in Europe, several SAFER partners have been instrumental in safeguarding the road safety aspects in the strategic research and innovation agenda. The result of this work is now evident in the draft work programme for Horizon Europe with several calls based on this input. A main focus for our collaboration in 2021 is to start forming strong contributions from SAFER partners for participation in applications to the first calls.
Our SAFER-pre-study program is launched and finally, we have an effective measure in place to get started with strategic knowledge creation that can be leveraged e.g. by using a unique, new competence as a basis for national funding or an entry ticket to new international collaborations. No less than seven pre-study projects have been granted in 2020 and several of them have already generated results for a second step and applications for larger projects.
At SAFER, we see great potential to take advantage of AI as a tool to improve our road safety research. During the year, we have therefore carried out a number of activities and three prioritized areas have been identified that we now would like to explore further and create opportunities for the partners to turn these areas into concrete projects and other activities.
Our focus on knowledge building has also continued through new competence networks that we have started up; Perception, sensing and communications and also Structures and materials, which have been without a leader for some time.
We have continued to work with the strategy to make even better use of the ecosystem around us through even better collaboration with closely connected initiatives and centra, we have for example started up a closer collaboration with knowledge sharing and project creation together with the K2 centre in Lund and Cykelcentrum at VTI. We are also proud of the positive development of the recently started collaboration with India through the SITIS platform. Through this collaboration, we do not only share our knowledge about road safety to a country where many people lose their lives in the traffic every year, but we can also learn, for example about accident data and road user behavior that in turn will contribute to valuable knowledge in our future research.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead together with all of you!
Magnus and SAFER’s Management team