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Research bill promises increased direct government funding


Increased direct government funding was the main act when the Government presented the Research bill. But Staffan Edén, deputy vice-chancellor for research at the University of Gothenburg, doesn’t see any larger increase. Instead there will be more management in detail.

Staffan Edén, deputy vice-chancellor for research

– There will be a minor increase. But, the money is supposed to cover much more according to the bill. Like research infrastructures, co-funding of EU subsidies, clearer career paths, equality efforts, better conditions for doctoral students, stronger connection between education and research and so on, says Staffan Edén.

Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Ministry for Education and Research, said in an interview with Swedish Radio programme Ekot on Monday morning that she thinks that previous governments have managed too much in detail and have believed too much in that there are quick shortcuts to successful research.

– We believe that it is more important to think long-term and strategically, said Helene Hellmark Knutsson among other things.

She continued by saying that this was the reason behind that the government now wants to increase direct government funding by 1.3 billion SEK to year 2020. With this prioritisation, the government hopes that research quality will increase.

National research programmes to meet societal challenges

Despite that the government stated that the universities have been managed too much in detail, six new research programmes are now initiated which many see as an increased management in detail. These ten-year programmes are going to “meet societal challenges”, which are: climate; sustainable community building; societal housing policy and accessible design; antibiotic resistance; migration and integration; applied welfare research and work life research. These fundings are going to be applied for in competition.

– For the University of Gothenburg I see no reason to be optimistic about the increased direct government funding, on the contrary. But, we should be able to compete in some of the strategic efforts, such as antibiotic resistance; migration and integration; applied welfare research and work life research. Many of the strategic efforts are however technically oriented, says Staffan Edén.

Good cooperation should be worth while

The government wants to connect the third stream activities to resource allocation. There are no answers to how this is going to be managed at the moment, but investigators are going to put forward a proposal about new system for resource allocation for research and education on doctoral levels, including how the third stream activities could be financially awarded.

– It is optimistic that the government wants to investigate the financing of the whole sector, says Staffan Edén.