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New broad-based national research programmes

The Swedish Research Council is preparing the launch of four new national research programmes. They will stretch over 10 years, and will concern areas such as the consequences of digitisation, crime, segregation, and viruses and pandemics. The first calls under the research programmes are expected to open in spring 2022.

Even before this, the Swedish Research Council was responsible for two national research programmes; one relating to antimicrobial resistance, and one to migration and integration. The Government’s Research Bill for the years 2021–2024 gives us responsibility for a further four programmes.

The idea behind the national research programmes is to gather together different actors with complementary knowledge, competences and assignments, to work together to improve our ability to manage major societal challenges.

“These are broad-based, long-term research programmes, where the Government has identified important societal challenges, but where the researchers themselves define and plan how to conduct the research,” says Stefan Svallfors, Secretary General for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Swedish Research Council.

“To successfully address these central societal challenges, inputs from the entire research community are needed,” he continues. We look forward to receiving applications from all scientific fields, and are positive towards multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research.

Each research programme shall be conducted on the basis of a strategic research agenda that all the actors support. The first calls for research funding within the national research programmes are expected in spring 2022, and the first projects will be starting at the turn of the year 2022/2023.

Some of the goals are common for all national research programmes. For example, they are expected to contribute to higher education developing closer ties to research, and to research results gaining increased impact in society. They are also expected to constitute a natural link to international research programmes, and to reinforce Swedish participation in the European programmes.

Themes for the four national research programmes:

Viruses and pandemics

To be better equipped ahead of future epidemics and pandemics, we need research into virus infections and their spread. For example, we need knowledge about the economic and social effects that large-scale and long-term spread in society might produce. This research programme covers research in all relevant disciplines, and we welcome project of an interdisciplinary character.

The consequences of digitisation

Research into the societal consequences of digitisation may contribute to the transition to sustainable development, and cover everything from competition, consumer protection and competence, to participation, security and gender equality. Interdisciplinary approaches and international perspectives are needed. It is also important to consider geographic preconditions, and to utilise experiences from the corona pandemic.

Crime

Against the background of the challenges faced by the work to prevent crime, fight crime and create security, a national research programme into crime is needed, to include both applied research and a multitude of disciplines.

Segregation

Research into segregation needs to cover many different disciplines, to bridge the gaps in knowledge that exist. This requires an interdisciplinary and intersectorial research approach. The research programme will form a natural link to Horizon Europe, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation.

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