The Bridge

The Bridge is a unique long-term and strategic investment in research and education with a focus on forestry, innovation and sustainability through a partnership between Linnaeus University, Södra and IKEA. Together we want to create a common platform for challenge-based knowledge development for sustainable competitiveness.

Globally, we are facing challenges that must be solved to create a sustainable society for the future, where we are innovative and smart with how we use resources and find ways to work together.

The Bridge partnership builds on common values, a strong connection to Småland and combining strengths and different areas of expertise, with the aim of achieving a dynamic exchange between the academic world and the business arena. The ambition is to bring new perspectives, breakthrough innovations and mutual benefit and thereby strengthen the regional competitiveness and increase international visibility. This is our way to create new knowledge. Our way to bridge the academic and the entrepreneurial world. It is our way towards a sustainable future.

At the core of our collaboration

  • High quality education with a close relationship between students and industry.
  • Innovations and research for new applications of wood in order to reduce the use of virgin, fossil materials and replace them with renewable bio-based alternatives.
  • Development of innovative technologies in order to utilise wood in sustainable ways.
  • Broad perspectives. We combine social, economic and environmental aspects to bring solutions to mitigate climate change and making our forests resilient to a warmer climate.


The collaboration The Bridge supports Linnaeus University's unique master's programs in both Forestry and Innovation with strong connections to the wood-based industry in order to bring a real business perspective into the studies and prepare for future career opportunities. The involved partners contribute among other things to lectures, master thesis opportunities and hands-on projects, which enable students to complement the theoretical part of the studies by applying the theory on real working–life situations.

Learning platform

Based on a common learning philosophy, we are bridging the academia and business perspectives to incorporate industry visits, case studies, lectures, mentorships and provide subjects for master thesis. Theory and real-life experience hand in hand. The intention is both to nurture the need for future talents and to further develop competence with tailor-made programs and learning opportunities for the organisations and their partners.


To move towards a more sustainable and circular future innovative and ground-breaking research is needed. By applying multidisciplinary perspectives and working close to the business arena, we get a broad take on current and future societal challenges.

Partnership management

Principal group

Peter Aronsson, Linnaeus University
Fredrika Inger, IKEA
Lotta Lyrå, Södra

Collaboration group

Ulf Johansson, IKEA
Henrik Gunnerling, IKEA

Christer Thörn, Södra
Catrin Gustavsson, Södra

Johan Bergh, Linnaeus University
Mathilda Tham, Linnaeus University

Magnus BrattLinnaeus University (partnership manager, co-opted to the collaboration group)



Södra and Linnaeus University have a long history of collaboration. The first time the two organisations joined forces in research, development and education was as early as 1996 in connection with the development of forest industry research and education at the former University of Växjö. Since then, they have, among other things, conducted research studies in forest fuel, the forest carbon cycle, digitization of forestry and enabled a professorship in wood construction technology. The collaboration also includes opportunities for students to get close to the business world both through degree projects and guest lectures, but also by Södra being able to continuously contribute to the development of courses and programs.

Since 2009, Linnaeus University and IKEA have successfully collaborated in a strategic partnership called ‘The Bridge’. The purpose of the collaboration has from the start been to design the future creative knowledge environments for the good of the many – focusing on life at home, entrepreneurship, innovation and production. For the last 5 years, under ‘The Bridge’ collaboration, many students have completed the Innovation Master Program, where IKEA supports with competence and engagement around design and product development.

Since 2020, Södra is also part of The Bridge, expanding the partnership to also gather expertise in forest management, ecology, social sustainability, economics and the raw material’s properties and uses under one roof.