A major overhaul of Sweden’s system for funding research and innovation is on the cards. It will see all competitive public funding channelled through three new authorities instead of 20 existing agencies.
The three proposed new authorities, which are expected to “better meet future demands and challenges”, are: the Swedish Science Agency, the Swedish Agency for Strategic Research, and the Swedish Innovation Agency.
Together, the three agencies will have a workforce of 714 and a combined budget for research and innovation activities per year of SEK17.7 billion (US$1.6 billion).
It is proposed that the Swedish Science Agency will have a workforce of 270 full-time equivalents and an annual budget of SEK8.2 billion; the Swedish Agency for Strategic Research will have a workforce of 344 full-time equivalents and an annual budget of SEK7.8 billion; and the Swedish Innovation Agency will have a workforce of 100 full-time equivalents and an annual budget of SEK1.7 billion.
The proposals are the outcome of a year-long national inquiry into research and innovation funding initiated by the government in June 2022 and led by Ingrid Petersson, former director-general for the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Formas). The final report of the inquiry was launched on 10 October.
The review committee was comprised of eight experts from Swedish ministries and a reference group made up of stakeholder representatives from the science community, students, science academies, business representatives and non-governmental organisations.
The final report of the committee will be sent to higher education institutions and stakeholders for comment and will be prepared for parliament in 2024.