11 MSEK to Scholars at Risk Sweden


The Swedish Research Council (VR) and Formas contribute five and six million SEK respectively, to Scholars at Risk Sweden. The fundings from Formas should be used to offer at-risk researchers sanctuaries in Swedish research environments with a focus on sustainable development, while VR’s contribution can be used in all disciplines and to support researchers from Ukraine.

Formas is a Swedish government research council for sustainable development, which has its area of activity in environment, agricultural sciences and spatial planning. When the council now supports Scholars at Risk (SAR) Sweden with six million over three years, the opportunities of co-funding for Swedish universities’ hosting of at-risk researchers in these areas are broadened.

“These contributions to Scholars at Risk are crucial for the higher education institutions' abilities to welcome more at-risk researchers in Sweden. We have had different types of co-funding schemes for a couple of years now, and as these are increasing, the numbers of scholars hosted in Sweden have also grown dramatically”, says Karolina Catoni at the University of Gothenburg's International Centre, coordinator of SAR Sweden.

VR's funding - no specific subject areas

SAR Sweden has previously received funding from, among others, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, where the funding is earmarked for placements of scholars within the fields of humanities and social sciences. However, some member universities, such as the technically oriented ones, do not cover these disciplines and therefore have not been able to use the means.

The funding of 5 million SEK from the Swedish Research Council (VR), do not come with requirements for specific subject areas.

“Our goal is to find funding that suits all our member universities, and with the Swedish Research Council, that door opens. This contribution is not linked to a particular discipline. In addition, we have as an example the opportunity to use the means to support researchers fleeing Ukraine”, says Karolina Catoni.

Applications decreased in April

During April, the number of applications from Ukrainian researchers to Swedish higher education institutions' and to calls from research funders decreased, compared with the previous months.
“It can change at any time, depending on developments in Ukraine. We do not know if the need will decrease or become huge”, says Karolina Catoni.

Listen and read more

"Without academic freedom, there is no free research"

In relation to the contribution to SAR Sweden, the Swedish Research Council has published a podcast in which Karolina Catoni is interviewed. She talks about how the need for support follows the geopolitical development in the world, and how the entire university sector has joined in to support researchers who have fled Ukraine. However, the vast majority of researchers remain in the country, and now it is important to contribute to long-term solutions and, when the situation allows, the reconstruction of the Ukrainian academy.

You can listen to the podcast here (in Swedish)
Scholars at Risk - så får hotade forskare stöd – För en klokare värld | Podd på Spotify

The Swedish Research Council has also listed information about the support initiatives that Swedish universities and research funders offer researchers and doctoral students from Ukraine.
Support for researchers from Ukraine - Vetenskapsrådet (

About Scholars at Risk

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is a global network dedicated to promoting academic freedom and provide academic sanctuaries for at-risk researchers. The network has five hundred members in the world. In Sweden, the around thirty members consists of universities, academies of science, research institutes and labour unions. The University of Gothenburg coordinates the Swedish section.

Read more about Scholars at Risk