Special Report: Real-time research

Mälardalen University’s Professor Mikael Sjödin on how applied and basic research into embedded systems has resulted in international recognition.

Mälardalen Real-Time Research Centre (MRTC) is the preferred partner for industries and research organisations that desire to deepen their competence in embedded and real-time systems research. We have a proven track record in areas including academically excellent research, industrially relevant research, research commercialisation and the management of large international and multidisciplinary research project.

The success of MRTC is strongly attributed to our unique mix of applied and basic research. This has allowed us to gain both academic and industrial recognition, and, indeed, this forms the basis for our proven ability to attract external research funding – over 70% of our research funding is awarded from external sources, often attained in strong competition with other national or EU research institutes.

MRTC is the leading research direction at Mälardalen University (MDH), and the Swedish leader in embedded-systems related research. Internationally, MRTC has extensive co-operation worldwide, and is reputed for its research in real-time systems and industrial software-engineering, as well as its strong industrial co-operation. Industrial partners include global companies, such as ABB, Bombardier, Ericsson, Scania and Volvo, as well as many SMEs, including several spin-off companies.

Stimulating environment

MRTC provides a stimulating international research environment, characterised by its co-operative atmosphere, openness, and team spirit – a great environment for a researcher to grow in; with a mix of established and young researchers, including 12 full professors, four adjunct professors, 30 additional senior researchers, and 50 PhD students (several of which are employed or funded by industry).

Research at MRTC has a dominating focus on embedded software, with a particular emphasis on component-based and model-based software development. MRTC’s mission is to provide research excellence that enables industry to take advantage of the opportunity provided by software in products and production systems. The research is organised into ten mutually-supportive and co-operating research groups, with research on various aspects of embedded systems software engineering, real-time systems, data communication, and circuit design.

International recognition

Our strong standing with embedded-systems industries is illustrated by our large portfolio of Artemis and Itea2 projects, including Atac, Chess, Mbat, SafeCer and Timmo-2-Use. Artemis and Itea2 are EU-organisations that sponsor large, industrially-driven, research projects with the explicit goal to establish state-of-the-art research results as commercially viable technologies. Our participation, as a core member, of the EU network of excellence (NoE) Artist Design illustrates our international recognition within the academic community.

MRTC’s nationally leading role is manifested by several large and prestigious research grants including frame-projects from the Swedish Research Council (Arrows and Contesse) and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (Synopsis and Ralf3). To take a nationally leading role in educating top-talents in Swedish embedded industry, MRTC has launched several industrial graduate schools (e.g. SAVE-IT and ITS-EASY) where industrial experts are given a chance to pursue PhD degrees. In the last few years, these schools have enrolled over 30 students, some 50% of whom have now passed their exams.

Malardalen University




Professor Mikael Sjodin

Mälardalen Real-Time Research Centre