The Swedish Research Council has found that bilateral research collaboration is usually handled most efficiently and effectively, at the researcher level. Hence, the Swedish Research Council intends to strengthen researchers' opportunities for bilateral collaboration, e.g. by working towards more and larger project grants.
In line with this approach, the Council's policy, in principle, is not to enter into bilateral agreements at a higher level. Priorities regarding the use of administrative and other resources may provide further reasons for this policy.
The position of the Swedish Research Council, should, however, not stand in the way of research collaboration between Sweden and other countries, but should help to eliminate potential obstacles of various types. Hence, bilateral agreements may be appropriate in some instances.
One reason to enter a bilateral agreement might be to support research collaboration with countries where such an agreement is a prerequisite for establishing collaboration. Another reason might be to provide Swedish researchers with access to infrastructures in other countries.
Bilateral collaboration with national research funding agencies and other bodies of key interest to research in Europe could also be a way to further strengthen coordination in European research.
Together with Vinnova and Formas, the Swedish Research Council has an agreement with the Brazilian research funding bodies CNPq, FINEP and CONFAP. The agreement aims to formalise the R&D collaboration between the funding bodies and, by extension, facilitate collaboration between Swedish and Brazilian researchers.
The agreement creates opportunities for Swedish-French research collaboration and gives Swedish researchers access to French research infrastructure in the development of neutron instrumentation.
Together with the Department of Science and Technology, DST, at the Ministry of Science and Technology in India, we have so far announced networking grants to enable participants to plan deeper collaboration. We are also planning a joint call for project grants.
Since 2001, Italy and Sweden have had an agreement on scientific and technical collaboration. The Swedish Research Council is responsible for this.
The collaboration between the Swedish Research Council and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, NSFC, has so far resulted in joint calls for networking grants and project grants where a researcher from a Chinese higher education institution and a researcher from a Swedish higher education institution submit a joint research application that is jointly processed.
The Swedish Research Council and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, RFBR, have signed a collaboration agreement in order to facilitate research collaboration.
The Swedish Research Council has signed an agreement with the Swiss National Science Foundation, SNSF. The cooperation concerns the “Money follows Cooperation Line”, which means that a researcher in Switzerland can apply for funding from SNSF for a Swedish collaboration partner as well. The research grant is paid to the Swiss administrating organisation, which in turn can pay the Swedish partner. In the same way, Swedish researchers can apply to the Swedish Research Council for funds for foreign partners.
So far, three calls have been implemented through the collaboration, in which Swedish and South African researchers have been able to apply for three-year mobility projects.
Within the framework of an agreement with the National Research Foundation, NRF, in South Korea, researchers there and in Sweden can apply for collaboration funding every two years. Seminars are also organised within the agreement.
The agreement with Academia Sinica in Taiwan focuses on facilitating research collaboration between Sweden and Taiwan.
The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, COSTECH, runs a SIDA-funded programme aimed at strengthening the country's research funding, research management and research communication. The programme runs over five years (2015–2020). The mandate of the Swedish Research Council is to strengthen COSTECH's capacity as a research council and to create the prerequisites for higher standards of research in the country.
The agreement concerns structural biology and materials science. The aim is to strengthen research that uses neutrons and synchrotron light, and to stimulate the use of large research infrastructures already existing or planned in this field.
The collaboration with the National Science Foundation, NSF, within Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide, GROW, gives US doctoral students the possibility to connect with a Swedish institution and to work at it for a short period. The Swedish Research Council supports the Swedish institutions with a grant.
Collaboration within ASEAN
The EU initiative Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme on Research and Innovation makes it possible for researchers in Sweden and other European countries to collaborate with researchers from the Association of Southeast Asian nations, ASEAN. The Swedish Research Council has so far been involved in a call for applications within the field of antibiotic resistance.