The government’s auxiliary parties, the Left Party and the Green Party, also support the bill.
“This bill contains a great deal of new funding for Swedish research,” says Minister of Education and Research Leif Pagrotsky. “The government has chosen to highlight a few of the fields where Sweden is an international leader and where the stakes are high for both the public and private sectors. Sweden invests more than any other country in research and development, and in this bill my ambition is to further strengthen our international competitiveness.”
“The bill targets growth and employment in the form of a 50-percent increase in allocations to Vinnova (the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems),” says Britt-Marie Danestig of the Left Party. “Gender research will receive more than twice as much funding. We are also earmarking funds to make it possible for working teachers to pursue research.”
“The bill proposes a commitment to research for sustainable development amounting to SEK 210 million as one of the priority areas,” says Mikaela Valtersson, member of parliament for the Green Party. “This places the focus on crucial issues for the future like climatic change and sustainable development in the green sector where new knowledge is needed.”
The government is focusing on three areas that are critically important to the future development of the country: medical research, SEK 400 million; technological research, SEK 350 million; and research in support of sustainable development, SEK 210 million. This funding should be allocated by the governmental research financiers: the Swedish Research Council (VR); the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS); the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning (Formas); the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova); and the Swedish National Space Board.
Another SEK 300 million is being invested in research centers of excellence that are highly competitive in the international arena. Funding for a center of excellence should be available for a period of up to ten years and comprise up to SEK 10 million per year. This support should be allocated by VR, FAS, Formas, and Vinnova. Universities, university colleges, research institutes, companies, and other interested parties are expected to commit considerable resources of their own to these strong research environments.
Direct governmental allocations to universities and university colleges should be increased by SEK 521 million. This expansion is designed to strengthen research and graduate education, to help provide employment opportunities for newly graduated Ph.D.s to enhance their resumes, and to bolster efforts at universities and colleges to take their research findings to market.
The government also wants to further intensify the opportunities for the researchers of the future. Therefore the research councils and Vinnova are also being provided with resources to create employment for new Ph.D.s and to stimulate the development of graduate education by funding national schools of research-joint centers for graduate education at key departments.
The government wishes to continue to develop R&D in collaboration with the business community. Vinnova should receive SEK 120 million for R&D programs in the vehicular sector and other fields essential to Sweden. Vinnova should also be given SEK 10 million for efforts that enable small and medium-size companies to access research.
Industrial research institutes and holding companies at universities and colleges play a vital role in the transfer of knowledge between academia and business. These holding companies should be allocated SEK 60 million to boost their capital. A mediator will be appointed to advise them on more efficient holding-company structures. Resources for institutes of industrial research should be augmented by SEK 110 million.
Moreover, the government wishes to provide the Swedish Research Council with a further SEK 42 million for research infrastructure. Allocations to the Swedish National Archive of Recorded Sound and Moving Images should be supplemented by SEK 5 million. Another SEK 20 million should be allocated for the conversion of collected material to new technological systems.
Furthermore, the government wants to see allocations for gender research increased by SEK 13 million and for education research by SEK 10 million. In addition, the Swedish Research Council should fund a national school of research in design in the amount of SEK 5 million.
New national organization for EU research collaboration
The Swedish organization for research collaboration in the EU should be updated to meet new conditions in order to provide those pursuing research in Sweden with early and pertinent information and support. The EU R&D Council will be dissolved and its activities transferred to Vinnova in the form of a secretariat charged with promoting Swedish participation in EU research collaboration by offering companies and academic researchers information, training, consultation, and legal assistance. Special attention should be paid to opportunities for small businesses to take part in EU framework programs for research and development.