Sweden is among the nations worldwide that devote the most money to research and development (R&D) in relation to gross domestic product (GDP). This amount continues to grow, with the exception of R&D in the Swedish military. Sweden´s expenditures for R&D total 3.6% of GDP.
The business sector accounts for around three-quarters and the higher education sector for 21% of this spending. Companies largely fund their own research, but receive some contributions from the central government and abroad.
Public sector research fundingThe public sector finances R&D through grants paid directly to higher education institutions (HEIs) and through support for research councils and sectoral research agencies. In addition, several research foundations have been started with public funds, providing research funding in excess of SEK 1 billion annually.
The Swedish Parliament grants R&D funds in all of the ministries´ spheres of responsibility. The Minister for Higher Education and Research is responsible for overall coordination of research policy in the Government Offices. By far the greatest share of publicly funded research in Sweden is conducted in HEIs. Research institutes account for only a small share, which distinguishes Sweden by international comparison.
The research councils mainly support basic research. Sectoral research agencies fund R&D aimed both at meeting the knowledge needs of individual sectors and at fostering the development of society. In all, Sweden has some 20 sectoral research agencies with resources for R&D. County councils and municipalities also fund research, mainly in health care and social services. Jointly with regional R&D units, the municipalities and county councils allocate about SEK 2.7 billion to research and development.
Private funding sourcesIn addition to public sources of funding, Sweden has private funding sources, foundations, and fundraising organisations. Several are major stakeholders in the research sphere and provide substantial grants for research in their respective fields. Collectively, private nonprofit organisations contribute SEK 2.3 billion to Swedish research.
Research at Swedish universitiesResearch (or artistic R&D) in Sweden is conducted at 14 universities and 25 other HEIs. The student population totals approximately 384 700, postgraduate students 17 000 and 27 800 holding positions as teachers and researchers (in 2008).
Read more about The Swedish system of research funding