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Positive signals about strategic allocations

2009-06-15

Today the research councils in Sweden presented their proposals regarding how funding for strategic research in the first 20 of a total of 24 selected research fields is to be allocated among Sweden’s institutions of higher education. Among the projects pegged for approval, Uppsala University is the lead applicant for 7 and a co-applicant for 3.

A total of more than SEK 500 million is involved for Uppsala University. What’s more, the research councils recommend commitments to infrastructure.

”It’s of course highly gratifying that Uppsala University is put forward in so many fields, but we need to bear in mind that it’s not over until the government has had its say” says Vice Chancellor Anders Hallberg.

”We like to say that we offer both breadth and cutting-edge depth, so it’s satisfying to have this reflected in the recommendations from the councils.”

The Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy hit the jackpot. Uppsala University is recommended to receive funding for all of its strategic fields with only one exception, either as lead applicant or as one of the co-applicants.

“It’s simply incredible. We knew that we were strong in all of these fields, and it’s great that the experts saw this too. Our strategy was to seek out alliances with other institutions where necessary, and it proved to be successful,” says Vice Rector Britt Skogseid.

A further application recommended by the expert panel is Uppsala Center for Russian Studies. This project, which brings together researchers from the humanities and social sciences, is slated to receive SEK 8 million.

“This is a tremendous responsibility, and seems almost unreal. I believe our strength lies in the fact that we already have great research environment in the field, with multi-faceted competence. We already have a robust infrastructure in place, and we managed to put together a coherent application,” says Li Bennich-Björkman, Skytte professor of elocution and political science and coordinator of the project.

The following research fields are recommended to receive strategic funding (with Uppsala University as lead applicant for the first seven):

Politically important geographic regions – Center for Russian Studies
Energy
Molecular bioscience
Cancer
Caring research
E-science
Security and emergency management
Diabetes (lead applicant: Lund University)
Epidemiology (lead applicant: Lund University)
Stem cells and regenerative medicine (lead applicant: Lund University)

Besides these individual projects, the research councils recommend a commitment of SEK 748 million to infrastructure. The proposal contains several projects where Uppsala University is involved: an investment in setting up biobanks, the synchroton light facility MAX-IV in Lund, the Swedish network for nano- and micro fabrication MyFab, and the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing, SNIC.

The government has the final say about which applications will be awarded funding. The monies will be allocated in connection with the budget bill this autumn, together with an assignment to establish research of the highest international class in these fields.

Funding in a further four strategic fields will be advertised by the research councils in a later phase. The fields are conditions for growth, psychiatry, flight research, and space research.