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Increased attention towards responsible internationalisation

On 2 April 2024 an interim report was published in Sweden addressing how to promote responsible internationalisation in higher education, research and innovation.  

Given the country’s significant reliance on international collaborations and exchanges for development and prosperity, guidelines on how international collaboration can be fostered while safeguarding national interests is of high relevance. Mandated by the government in June 2023, the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) (ACA member) produced, in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova), this interim report outlines a proposal for a system for responsible internationalisation with three levels of responsibility. 

The intention is to support actors in conducting international activities as openly as possible, while ensuring necessary security measures. Within this system, the responsibility for ensuring a responsible approach to internationalisation is distributed across three interconnected levels: 

  • Policy – providing an overarching strategic approach, determining the direction for responsible internationalisation, to be decided by the parliament or government; 
  • National guidelines – including assessments to be considered in the context of responsible internationalisation, including detailed descriptions, and; 
  • Local guidelines – developed by higher education institutions, other stakeholders and research funding bodies, based on the national guidelines. 

The interim report proposes a design for the national and policy guidelines, with the national guidelines divided into five dimensions and related considerations: the Swedish (1), local (2) and international (foreign) (3) contexts in which collaboration takes place, as well as the processes of gaining knowledge about the collaboration partner(s) (4) and the actual planning and organisation of international collaboration (5). 

The collaborative work of the three agencies will continue throughout the year, with a deeper investigation of the needs for a national support system in Sweden. The final report is expected to be published by 15 December 2024.  

Responsible internationalisation is also a priority topic for ACA’s Thematic Peer Group Global Developments in 2024 (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, March 2024), the Swedish developments informing further discussions and activities within the association. 


Read more in English: 

The Swedish Research Council news 

Vinnova news 


Read more in Swedish: 

Regeringskansliet pressmeddelande 

UHR, Delrapportering av ett regeringsuppdrag: Ansvarsfull internationalisering (interim report)