The Government encourages Swedish higher education institutions and research funders to stop cooperating with state institutions in Russia and Belarus


On Wednesday 2 March, Minister for Education Anna Ekström held a press briefing with Vice-Chancellor of the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF) Hans Adolfsson and Director General of the Swedish Research Council Sven Stafström due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The Government continues to push for sanctions against Russia, support to Ukraine and strengthening Sweden.

The Government encourages higher education institutions and research funders to immediately stop all contact and cooperation with state institutions in Russia and Belarus and to not initiate any new contacts or commitments. This was conveyed by the Minister for Education Anna Ekström at a press briefing on Wednesday.

Sweden condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked, illegal and unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine. Russia’s actions are an attack on the European security order, and it is extremely important that European countries stand in solidarity with Ukraine and its people. Swedish higher education institutions and research funders play an important role when it comes to standing up for knowledge, academic freedom, democracy and human rights, and showing solidarity with Ukrainian students and researchers.

Much cooperation in education and research consists of individual contacts between researchers in Sweden, Russia and Belarus. Many Russian academics have openly criticised the country’s actions, and it is important not to equate individual Russian and Belarusian researchers with state institutions. The Government expects that Swedish higher education institutions and public authorities ensure that any individual contacts and collaborations are truly suitable based on national and European policy positions. Higher education institutions and public authorities are especially encouraged to consider security policy aspects in relation to cooperation in various subject areas. Sweden should not be involved in education and research cooperation that supports the Russian central government.

The Government recommends that higher education institutions and other relevant public authorities maintain a very strict position regarding payments, managing applications, project implementation, concluding agreements, etc. that involve Russian and Belarusian recipients. The basic premise is that contact and cooperation with Russian and Belarusian state institutions must cease.

The Government’s positions are based on decisions and guidance from the EU and other European actors. The Ministry of Education and Research is conducting a dialogue with relevant public authorities on how the Government best can support higher education institutions with issues concerning the ongoing conflict and other issues concerning security risks in connection with education and research cooperation.

Read more

Information about the Swedish Government’s work related to the security situation in Ukraine: