Research in Sweden
The sky is the limit!
Research and development have had a high priority in Sweden in recent decades. Sweden is one of the countries investing the largest percentage of its Gross National Product in R&D. The high standard of Swedish research is internationally recognized. Independent evaluations consistently give high marks to Swedish researchers and show that Swedish research pursued as part of European Union common programs is of high scientific quality. Read more in The Swedish Research Barometer 2016, published by Vetenskapsrådet (vr.se)
The public sector finances R&D through grants paid directly to higher education institutions (HEIs) and through support for research councils and sectoral research agencies.
The Swedish Parliament grants R&D funds in all of the ministries' spheres of responsibility. The Minister for Higher Education and Research is responsible for overall coordination of research policy in the Government Offices. By far the greatest share of publicly funded research in Sweden is conducted in HEIs. Research institutes account for only a small share, which distinguishes Sweden by international comparison.
The research councils mainly support basic research. Sectoral research agencies fund R&D aimed both at meeting the knowledge needs of individual sectors and at fostering the development of society. County councils and municipalities also fund research, mainly in health care and social services.
In addition to public sources of funding, Sweden has private funding sources, foundations, and fundraising organizations. Several are major stakeholders in the research sphere and provide substantial grants for research in their respective fields.
The Minister of Enterprise and Innovation is responsible for the Swedish innovation strategy and for the national funding of competitive development, innovation, regional growth and entrepreneurship.
All in all, Sweden has 28 universities (incl higher education institutions) and about 20 sectoral research agencies with resources for R&I. Read more at UKÄ (The Swedish Higher Education Authority) http://english.uka.se/higher-education-system/higher-education-institutions.html
More information about education and research published by the Swedish Government.
Research councils and agencies
Among the public bodies that fund research are a number of research foundations such as:
- Stiftelsen för strategisk forskning, SSF, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
- Stiftelsen för kunskaps- och kompetensutveckling, KK, the Knowledge Foundation
- Stiftelsen för miljöstrategisk forskning, Mistra, the Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
- Stiftelsen för internationalisering av högre utbildning och forskning, STINT, the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education
Another major source of funding is
- Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, RJ, the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation which mainly finances research in the humanities, theology,social sciences and law.
Private foundations and academies
In addition to these public sector financiers, there are private actors, some of these are:
- the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, which provides substantial funding for scientific equipment in particular.
- the Swedish Cancer Society is an independent non-profit organisation that raise and distribute money for cancer research.
- the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation is a charitable fundraising organisation that distributes money to heart, lung and vascular research.
Many organisations act as promoters of research within the research community, such as:
The most important central government financiers outside the direct state contributions for research and postgraduate education to higher education institutions are the research councils, the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems and other research-funding agencies. Funding for research also comes from research foundations, the EU, municipalities and county councils
The four major research councils and agencies in Sweden:
1. Vinnova, Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems
Our research grants are open for all applicants – as long as the applicant is/will be employed by a Swedish Approved Administrating Organization co-signing the application. There are a few grants that more specifically promote mobility or international cooperation.
Some grants are open for researchers in all fields, others are linked to one of eight areas of science:
- Artistic research
- Clinical Therapy Research
- Development Research
- Educational sciences
- Humanities and social sciences
- Medicine and health
- Natural and engineering sciences
- National Coordination of Clinical Studies
All grants are regularly announced on the web site: www.vr.se. The web site provides instructions for applying as well as forms, contacts and the Research Council’s general terms and conditions.
Grants explicitly promoting mobility
Grants for Distinguished Professors
This grant is part of a programme to enable long term planning and secure prominent researchers the conditions to focus on their research. The Council plans to launch this grant every two years.
The Swedish Research Council's calls on visiting professorships are: Kerstin Hesselgren Visiting Professorship; Olof Palme Visiting Professorship; and Tage Erlander Visiting Professorship. The purpose of the visiting professorships is to enrich and develop the work of Swedish University departments in a manner that benefits the department's own activities, and can lead to continued international cooperation.
Grants promoting international co-operation
Research Network Grant – Swedish Research Links
The purpose of the Swedish Research Links programme is to support the development of long-term research partnerships between Swedish researchers and researchers within low income and lower middle-income countries. The program is open to researchers from all academic disciplines, covering theoretical as well as empirical, basic as well as applied fields of research. The countries eligible for these forms of collaborative research are on the OECD/DAC list (columns Least Developed Countries, Other Low Income Countries and Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories).
The Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (NOS-HS) invites proposals for funding series of Nordic workshops. The aim of the grant is to promote research collaboration and development of new research areas and programmes within the humanities and social sciences in the Nordic countries.
The GROW programme
The Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) enables NSF Graduate Research Fellows to gain international research experience and establish collaborations with counterparts at Swedish university departments, by working in Sweden for a shorter period of time. This grant is the result of cooperation between the American National Science Foundation and the Swedish Research Council.
3. Forte – Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Funding opportunities 2016-2017:
At present, Forte provide no funding opportunities dedicated for incoming research fellows. However, researchers who hold a Ph.D. and an affiliation at a Swedish university, higher education institute (HEI) or at another research organization that has been approved as an administrative organization by Forte, are eligible to apply for funding in Forte´s regular calls.
4. Formas, Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning
Below is a list of other research-funding agencies:
- Institute of Medicine
- Nordforsk (coordinating and funding Nordic research)
- Scanbalt (network of networks)
- Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
- The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation
- The Mittag-Leffler Institute
- The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
- The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education
- The Swedish Rheumatism Association
- Wenner-Gren Foundations