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Research-funding in Sweden


Government investment and other public investment in research and development totalled about SEK 40 billion in 2014.

Central government is the largest financier of research at higher education institutions. 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.
Industry invests more three times as much as central government in research and development. However, almost all of the R&D investment that comes from industry remains within the business sector.

Research-funding agencies

There are four major research-funding agencies. The largest is the Swedish Research Council, which in 2014 shared out about SEK 5,5 billion to basic research in natural sciences, technology, medicine, the humanities and social sciences.

The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) supports basic and needs-driven research in the fields of environment, land-based industries and spatial planning. In 2014 Formas distributing about SEK 1,12 billion.

Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte) distributing SEK 512 million in 2014 and supports and initiates basic and needs-driven research in the fields of the labour market, work organisation, work and health, public health, welfare, the social services and social relations.

The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) distributing about SEK 2,4 billion in 2014, primarily to needs-driven research in the fields of technology, transport, communications and working life.

In addition to the agencies mentioned above, several other agencies finance research funding in various areas. In these cases,s it is common for a lesser amount of the agency's appropriation to go to research funding.

Research foundations

A number of foundations that fund research were established in the mid-1990s using capital from the former wage earner investment funds. These foundations are the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), the Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA), the Knowledge Foundation (KK), the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, the Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences and Allergy Research (Vårdal) and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT).

Support from public research foundations is an important addition to central government investments in research. It is estimated that these foundations will have invested some SEK 1.1 billion in research in 2014.

The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (RJ) is yet another foundation which was created with public funding and which supports research in Humanities and Social Sciences.

Private research funders

Many private financiers also give significant amounts to research. These include the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, which in 2013 distributed SEK 1,4 billion. Over the last five years, almost SEK 4 billion has been awarded to scientific research and education at higher education institutions and academies. In addition, the Swedish Cancer Society distributed SEK 392 million in 2013 for research in its field.

Income received by higher education institutions for research and postgraduate studies

The revenue received by other higher education institutions for research and postgraduate education totalled almost SEK 29,7 billion in 2011. This is an increase of around SEK 2,3 billion, or 8,5 per cent, in fixed prices compared with Statistics Sweden's (SCB)  analysis of the revenues of 2009. Revenues have never previously increased by so much. Both direct government appropriations and higher eduction institution revenues from external financiers have increased. Public funding accounted for over 80 per cent of these revenues.

Just under half of the total funds come from direct appropriations for research and postgraduate studies at higher education institutions. Remaining funds come from external financiers, both public and private.