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Sweden: 10-year research plan to take on societal challenges & innovation

Sweden’s government this month released its newest research policy bill that, in a 10 year perspective, will direct research to take on societal challenges, strengthen competitiveness and promote innovation.

Focusing on measures to impact the nearer future in the period 2017-2020, key priority areas include ‘increased basic appropriations for higher education, initiatives in research linked to societal challenges and increased resources to strengthen Sweden’s innovative capacities’

To strengthen Sweden in its endeavours to be a “ leading knowledge nation’’,  government has increased the research and innovation budget by 3 billion SEK (about EUR 307 million) till 2020, of which higher education will see a much awaited 1.3 billion SEK (about EUR 133 million).

Concretely, key objectives that government takes to support this long –term strategy for the future role of research, include:

  • Raise the quality of research by creating better and long term conditions for researchers.
  • Increase the number of researchers, raise attractiveness of research careers and improve career paths with greater mobility opportunities for young talent. Including the recruitment of talent from outside institutions, through open competition at national and international level.
  • Safeguarding free research and prioritising research of global and national relevance in areas of climate, health, life sciences and digitalisation.
  • The Swedish research Council’s funding shall be increased to focus on research in the humanities and social science disciplines
  • Higher education institution will gradually see increases in funding both for research and third cycle studies, that will take into account the display of collaborative aspects.
  • Gender equality is to be significantly strengthened including ambitious recruitment targets, that see half of all newly recruited professorships to be occupied by women by 2030.

This new bill is to capture government’s vision for research in the coming decade, reflecting in its title- ‘’collaborating for knowledge – for society’s challenges and strengthened competitiveness’’- ambitions to ultimately meet contemporary challenges in a globalized setting  through enhanced interdisciplinary collaboration between higher education, business and society at large.

Government Offices of Sweden – Press release