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Helene Hellmark Knutsson is no longer a government minister, Minister for Higher Education and Research


Collaborating for knowledge – for society’s challenges and strengthened competitiveness


The Government today presented the research policy bill ‘Collaborating for knowledge – for society’s challenges and strengthened competitiveness’ to the Riksdag. The bill presents the Government’s view on the direction of research policy with a ten-year perspective, focusing in particular on measures in 2017–2020. Important cornerstones of the bill include increased basic appropriations to higher education institutions, initiatives in research linked to global societal challenges and increased resources to strengthen Sweden’s innovative capacity.

"The name of the bill attempts to capture the direction the Government wants to see. It's a matter of increased collaboration among higher education institutions, the business sector and society as a whole with the aim of meeting our major societal challenges and strengthening our competitiveness. There has previously been overconfidence in political ability to identify leading research to produce quick results. The Government instead considers that it is important to create good and long-term conditions for researchers, and research, to develop the foremost research," says Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson.

The goal for research policy is for Sweden to be one of the world's foremost research and innovation countries and a leading knowledge nation, where high quality research, higher education and innovation leads to society's development and welfare, the business sector's competitiveness and responds to the societal challenges we face, both in Sweden and around the world.

In the autumn budget, the Government announced an increase in the appropriations for research and innovation of over SEK 3 billion until 2020. The Government is continuing to strengthen Sweden as a knowledge nation by means of the measures proposed in the research policy bill.

One starting point of the bill is to safeguard free research, at the same time as research policy is linked to global and national societal challenges that are relevant to our society. Research on climate, health and life sciences, as well as digitalisation, will therefore be prioritised in the future.

The Swedish Research Council's research appropriation will be increased to focus on research in the humanities and social sciences, and special initiatives will be made to increase quality in schools through practically based research and an increased scientific foundation in teacher and preschool teacher education programmes.

To enable higher education institutions throughout the country to take greater and long-term responsibility for the development of research, the Government intends to gradually increase the basic appropriations to research and third-cycle education. Distribution of the increase in basic appropriations will take account of collaboration aspects.

The Government is strengthening gender equality with a number of measures, including new and more ambitious recruitment targets for professors. Conditions for young researchers will be improved and career paths more clearly defined to promote mobility. Career development positions will become more uniform and be advertised in open competition at national level and, where possible, also at international level.

"All Swedish higher education institutions must have reasonable conditions for conducting higher education on scientific grounds and building strong, research environments with distinctive profiles. By increasing the basic appropriations, the Government expects higher education institutions to take clearer responsibility and at the same time strengthen cooperation with the rest of society, improve the career paths for young researchers and link research and higher education more closely," says Ms Hellmark Knutsson.

To lay the groundwork for new, long-term and deeper interdisciplinary cooperation and strengthened innovative capacity, the Government is also presenting a strengthening of strategic innovation areas, research institutions and testing and demonstration environments.

Also presented in the bill are a number of measures to give researchers, the business sector and the public sector as much access as possible to the best research infrastructure.

Press contact

Kristian Brangenfeldt
Press Secretary to Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00