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 (

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)

More information about education and research published by the Swedish Government.

Research councils and agencies



Vinnova is a Swedish government agency working under the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and acts as the national contact agency for the EU Framework Programme for R&D. Vinnova is also the Swedish government’s expert agency within the field of innovation policy.

Vinnova’s vision for Sweden is to be a world-leading country in research and innovation, an attractive place in which to invest and conduct business. Vinnova promotes collaborations between companies, universities, research institutes and the public sector. This is done by stimulating a greater use of research, by making long-term investment in strong research and innovation milieus and by developing catalytic meeting places. Vinnova’s activities also focus on strengthening international cooperation. In order to increase the impact by interacting with other research financiers and innovation-promoting organisations. Every year Vinnova invests about SEK 2.7 billion in various initiatives.

Vinnova is a Swedish government agency working under the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and acts as the national contact agency for the EU Framework Programme for R&D. Vinnova is also the Swedish government’s expert agency within the field of innovation policy




The Swedish Research Council is a public agency under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Research.

The Swedish Research Council has a leading role in developing Swedish research of the highest scientific quality, thereby contributing to the development of society. The Council is the largest state funding agency for basic research at Swedish universities, colleges and institutions. The Council funds research within research infrastructures, medicine, clinical therapy research, humanities and social sciences, natural and engineering sciences, development research, educational sciences and artistic research. The bulk of the Council´s research grants goes to projects which have been initiated by researchers themselves and assessed as being the most promising by other researchers during the peer review procedure. All grants are regularly announced on the web




Formas, the Swedish research council for sustainable development, promotes and supports research within the areas Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. The research comprises basic research, need-driven research and innovation.

The international activities of Formas are intended to contribute to knowledge development of high scientific quality and relevance to sustainable development. Sustainable development is a mutual international challenge and the UN sustainable development goals set defined requirements for increased international partnerships, not least in the areas of knowledge acquisition and dissemination.

We live in a world of increasing globalization, where competition for skills, creativity and capital is becoming successively tougher. This creates both opportunities and challenges for a relatively small country such as Sweden that has a reputation for having a strong knowledge-base. Active international research collaborations are therefore essential in ensuring access to global knowledge, to promote Swedish innovative skills and competitiveness, and to contribute to sustainable development.




Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Forte is a government agency under the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Forte funds research for people's health, working life and welfare – research that concerns everyone and provides the basis for the development of the individual and society at large. Forte funds and initiates both basic and needs-driven research, which means that the results benefit both research and society. We continuously evaluate and analyse our initiatives to improve and increase quality.

Main areas of research

The research funded by Forte deals with different aspects of people's lives. Forte supports research in a number of areas, for example: Work and health, Work organisation, Labour market, Public health, Welfare, Social services and social relations, Care sciences, Children and young people, Ageing and health, International Relations and Ethical Relations (IMER) and Alcohol, Narcotics, Doping, Tobacco and Gambling (ANDTG).

International collaboration

Forte’s research areas are attracting growing international interest, on both the European and global arenas. Forte cooperates with organisations in other countries at different levels and in different forms. Within the framework of Forte’s international partnerships we make joint calls and research efforts. Forte is part of the Swedish organisation in the European Union framework program for research and innovation, Horizon 2020.


Research foundations

Among the public bodies that fund research are a number of research foundations such as:

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:

Research academies

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

2. The Swedish Research Council

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: The web site provides instructions for applying as well as forms, contacts and the Research Council’s general terms and conditions.

Our grants:

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.

Visiting Professorships

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).

NOS-HS Workshops

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: