SEK 3 billion extra to research
Benefit to society, increased gender equality and initiatives linked to societal challenges are in focus in the research bill presented by the Swedish government. The bill provides extra money to LiU for research into 5G and digitalisation.
Digitalisation is one of the principal challenges identified by this year’s research bill. The bill contains investment into centres for future engineering and digitalisation, where Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson has calculated that SEK 150 million should be transferred to the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Linköping University in 2020 as extra investment into IT solutions made possible by the fifth generation of mobile technology.
“It’s extremely gratifying that LiU will participate in the initiative, and it both confirms and reinforces our leading role within wireless 5G technology, not only in Sweden but also abroad. We already have several close collaborations with industry within 5G, and many innovations have been commercialised. Now we can expect these collaborations to be further strengthened,” comments Erik G Larsson, professor in communication systems at LiU.
Erik G Larsson is also director of the strategic research area ELLIIT, a collaboration in the field between LiU, Lund University, the Blekinge Institute of Technology and Halmstad University, and also mentioned as a success in the bill.
The general tone of the bill is otherwise rather general. It provides SEK 2.8 billion of increased research funding during the coming four years. In combination with the energy policy bill, which will be published in a few weeks, the increase in research funding will amount to SEK 3 billion.
“Sweden has fallen behind, and is now to retake its position as one of the leading countries in the world for research and innovation,” said Helene Hellmark Knutsson when presenting the bill.
Sweden is to regain this leading position by increasing the benefit to society of research and an overall increase in quality. Global societal challenges that have been given priority are the climate, digitalisation and health/life sciences. Societal challenges faced by Sweden that the minister singled out for attention are ensuring sustainable urban planning and increasing the quality of education, particularly within compulsory schooling and upper secondary schools.
The basic appropriation to universities and university colleges will be increased by SEK 1.3 billion, from the current level of SEK 14.7 billion. The increase is not to result in an increased number of employees, but better conditions. Thus, the government expects that the extra money is to be used to increase gender equality, increase collaboration with the society around institutions of higher education, improve the exploitation of research results, develop attractive career paths for young researchers, increase mobility and open competition for academic positions, bring closer ties between research and education, increase the responsibility taken for research infrastructure, and participate in EU projects.
One concrete objective is that by 2030 half of all newly appointed professors are to be women. Collaboration with society will also be given as much weight as publications and citations when allocating external funds, with effect from 2018.
“The complete system for controlling institutions of higher education and allocating resources is to be reviewed, and the basis required for a new decision is to be available by 2020,” said Helene Hellmark Knutsson.
The Swedish Higher Education Authority, UKÄ, will be given responsibility for quality within research, in addition to responsibility for quality within education, which it has at present.
“In this way, the authority has responsibility for quality for complete knowledge environments,” she said.
Helene Hellmark Knutsson also presented a number of areas that will receive a total of SEK 420 million in extra investment in the coming 10 years. These include research areas such as climate, sustainable urban planning, design for accessibility, migration and integration, antibiotic resistance, applied welfare research and working life research.
The Swedish Research Council will also receive SEK 60 million extra to strengthen research in the humanities and social sciences. Further, the government has allocated SEK 90 million for a research school coupled with teacher and preschool teacher education programmes. Special collaborative projects within the framework of Vinnova will be established in several areas, including next-generation travel and transport, smart cities, circular and biobased economies, life sciences, online industry, and new materials.
Malmö University College will be given the status of university in 2018.
Photograph of Helene Hellmark Knutsson: Mikael Lundgren/Riksdagen
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LiU professor Björn-Ola Linnér has been appointed head of a new major research programme in geopolitics and sustainable development.
Markus Heilig, professor at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, has been awarded SEK 300,000 from Systembolaget (the Swedish state alcohol monopoly) for research into the relationship between childhood trauma and an increased risk of alcohol-related problems.
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Two young LiU researchers, Daniel Aili and Björn Alling, have each been awarded SEK 12 million by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, SSF. A total of 20 researchers have been selected within the Future Research Leaders programme.
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Pia Rundgren has been appointed as new director of human resources at Linköping University.
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The new Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine at Linköping University was officially opened on 8 December. The centre is one component of a major initiative in Swedish research in the field of life sciences. The opening was marked by a two-day scientific symposium.
Tiny Jaarsma, professor in caring sciences at the Department of Social and Welfare Studies has received a Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart association, AHA.
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Thomas Lunner’s research has given improved hearing to millions of people with impaired hearing. He has been chosen as one of this year’s Alumni of the Year.
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Martin Hultman, who works with environmental history and the history of ideas, is organising the world’s first conference on climate change denial.
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Researchers from around the world will gather in Linköping from 15 to 17 June to discuss gender, nationalism and intersectionality, with a focus on schools and education.
“We want to shed particular light on Sweden and Scandinavia. We believe we have so much equality, and this belief is part of our identity. But it can also lead to superiority over people from other countries. That ‘we’ are so good and ‘they’ don’t know what we’re talking about,” says Katarina Eriksson Barajas, professor of education at Linköping University.
Last updated: Mon Jan 02 14:13:51 CET 2017