The following is an excerpt.

«A world-leading center. Business sector relevant research of high international quality. Effective bridgebuilding over the technology gap». SFI CASA´s Scientific Advisory Board declares that the Centre has achieved its goals. Also, the panel points out several possible research areas for the future.



Group photo of seven board members
SFI CASA´s Scientific Advisory Board. Sitting in front from left: Stefan Hiermaier (University of Freiburg and EMI, Germany), Norman A. Fleck (Cambridge University, United Kingdom), Ahmed Benallal (CNRS, ENS Paris-Saclay, France), Standing from left: Jonas Faleskog (KTH, Sweden), Patricia Verleysen (Gent University, Belgium), Professor Stefanie Reese (Aachen University, Germany), John. W. Hutchinson (Harvard University, USA). (Photo: Ole Martin Wold)


Seven months before doors close, SFI CASA´s Scientific Advisory Board‘s (SAB) states that everything indicates that the Centre´s industrial partners are satisfied.


 Seven of the Scientific Advisory Board´s members met in Trondheim on November 8th and 9th. On the first day, they participated in the presentations on the activities carried out during the second term of CASA (2019-2022). Then, on the next day, they had a general discussion and an assessment of the results. This was the 3rd – and last- time that the SAB gathered to report on CASA’s activities. Chairman of the SAB, Professor Ahmed Benallal from CNRS, École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay, presented the conclusions.

READ MORE: Advisors Saw Jaw-dropping Presentations


The report states, “CASA has achieved its objectives in conducting long-term, business sector relevant research of high international quality. It says that CASA is world-leading, with influential papers in leading journals. There is a focus on high-quality and relevant research on identified problems. CASA has met its objectives in educating many researchers (Masters, PhDs) who have conducted work well-aligned with the partners’ interests. «The quality of the PhD students is high, and the Board was impressed by the clarity of their presentations». Also, the Board notes that the Centre has managed to attract national PhD students.


When presenting the report, Professor Ahmed Benallal stated that frequent meetings to discuss research issues have paid off. He said that the Centre and the partners have established mutual trust through continued collaborations. Further, the SAB acknowledges the effective working relationship with the industrial partners. They find «clear evidence that the industrial partners are keen to continue the collaboration (….)», and that CASA continues to be responsive to the partners’ needs and to align with the program’s objectives. Experiments, theoretical and numerical approaches is an optimal mix for the Centre´s objectives – according to the SAB.
The final report describes an excellent balance between basic research and industrial implementation, stating that the Centre bridge the technology gap effectively. «These efforts take time and resources, and CASA has managed to keep a focus on relevant fundamental problems».

READ MORE: Professor Stefanie Reese has Joined the Scientific Advisory Board of CASA
READ ALSO: «They manage to find innovative and daring solutions».


The SAB supports CASA’s view of innovation, as they state that «It is not the role of CASA to design and innovate new products». Further, they say that «innovation is best done by the industrial partners, based upon the research output of the Centre». The SAB also points out that senior researchers are journal editors engaged in the international scientific community. Also, the prominent board members declare that the leadership team is very strong and effective. They applaud that the Centre has succeeded in establishing a younger group of researchers.


The Board highlights the following examples proving that CASA continues to work on relevant problems in a responsive manner: 

  • Significant progress has been made in applying ductile fracture concepts to design in automotive, security, and energy sectors.
  • A wide range of projects in polymers has reached a high level of maturity.
  • There have been successful activities in multiscale problems down to the nanoscale.
  • Recently CASA has worked on joints, steels, and additive manufacture.
  • There has been significant progress in understanding the stochastic nature of castings and the failure of glass.


The Board suggests several possible new research areas that may require additional competencies:

  • Resilience engineering of critical infrastructures, such as energy supply systems and transportation, in the face of extreme events such as climate change.
  • Failure mechanisms such as fatigue in components and in joints.
  • CASA has much data at its fingertips. A mechanism is needed to ensure that the data survives. There is an opportunity to manage the data and explore new ways of exploiting it, for example, by machine learning and other techniques in artificial intelligence. The current approach of assessing the relevance of neural networks to upscale is encouraged.
  • Mechanical behaviour including crashworthiness of batteries, fuel cell systems, and recycled materials in automobiles.
  • Sustainable (recyclable) production of automotive parts that can be disassembled or repaired. Controlled tearing to separate parts: tear-off mechanisms.
  • Expansion of efforts in additive manufacture.

The members of the SFI CASA’s Scientific Advisory Board:

Professor Patricia Verleysen, Gent University, Belgium
Professor Stefanie Reese, Aachen University, Germany
Professor John. W. Hutchinson, Harvard University, USA
Professor Norman A. Fleck, Cambridge University, United Kingdom
Professor Stefan Hiermaier, University of Freibourg and EMI, Germany
Professor Jonas Faleskog, KTH, Sweden
Professor Ahmed Benallal, CNRS, ENS Paris-Saclay, France
Emeritus Professor David Embury, McMaster University Canada