SEK 160 million in support of international development programme

18 February 2014

Uppsala University has signed a deal with Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, securing continued funding of the International Science Programme (ISP). The ISP supports long-term development of scientific competence in mathematics, physics and chemistry in developing countries.

The agreement between Uppsala University and Sida spans the five-year period from 2014 to 2018 and totals SEK 160 million.

“The ISP can now concentrate its activities on the main task of supporting development of research and higher education in the basic sciences mathematics, physics and chemistry in developing countries. In parallel, work will intensify to reach the strategic goals that were decided on last year, for instance with regard to evaluation and information efforts”, says Peter Sundin, Director of the International Science Programme.

“A five-year deal gives us the room we need to further develop the programme and carry through the modernisations that have been suggested. There are several interesting challenges that we must now choose how to prioritise”, says Peter Sundin.

The International Science Programme was founded by Uppsala University researchers in 1961. The programme is based on a successful model which supports developing countries in building competitive scientific competencies in mathematics, physics and chemistry.

The support is directed to research groups and regional networks in low-income countries, mainly in Africa and other countries prioritised by Swedish aid. The programme is led by Uppsala University but also involves other Swedish universities and EU institutions.

Support is given for many years and a slow phasing out is done only when the receiving organisation can stand on its own feet. The method has been considered a role model for building scientific competence in developing countries.

During the last 10 years, using some SEK 20 million annually, the ISP has generated 240 PhD theses, nearly 1,000 Master’s degrees, 1,700 publications in international journals and more than 2,200 contributions to scientific conferences.

“This way of supporting development of scientific competencies in developing countries is an important part of the University’s global responsibilities”, says Eva Åkesson, Vice-Chancellor of Uppsala University. “The ISP really does make a difference. It gives us important mutual benefits and we learn from each other.”