Katarina Bjelke to be the new Director General of the Swedish Research Council

Katarina Bjelke will be taking over as Director General of the Swedish Research Council after Sven Stafström. This was announced by the Government today, Thursday 2 June. Katarina Bjelke will take up her new position on 15 September.

Photo of Katarina Bjelke.

Katarina Bjelke Photo: Erik Flyg

Katarina Bjelke is currently the University Director of Karolinska Institutet and Chair of the Board of the Swedish National Space Agency. She is also a board member of the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) and of the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF).

Previous to this, she was the University Director of Uppsala University, head of the Department of Research Policy at the Ministry of Education and Research and a board member of ESS AB. In 1997, she was awarded a doctorate in neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet.

“I feel very honoured to be asked to take on this position. The Swedish Research Council is incredibly important for the research community, but also for society as a whole,” says Katarina Bjelke.

“It is a huge responsibility to wisely use the tax funds that the Swedish Research Council has at its disposal to further strengthen undirected, researcher-initiated research and infrastructure,” she underlines.

“Other important aspects are the many analyses it carries out, and the knowledge that is transferred back to society, together with the role the Swedish Research Council plays in giving advice to the Government and Riksdag. I am very much looking forward to getting to know the Swedish Research Council even better than I already do.”

“With Katarina Bjelke, the Swedish Research Council will have a Director General who has shown documented good leadership, has great knowledge and experience of research funding, experience of working in leading positions within the higher education area, and also knowledge and experience of public administration and its decision-making processes. She has good knowledge about and respect for the conditions of research, and for the special circumstances that apply in academia,” says Anna Ekström, Minister for Education.

Katarina Bjelke takes up the position as Director General of the Swedish Research Council on 15 September. Sven Stafström retires on 30 June. From 1 July until Katarina Bjelke starts, Maria Thuveson, the current Executive Director, will be the acting Director General of the Swedish Research Council.

“Katarina is a very well-qualified manager with broad experience of Swedish research, and I feel entirely secure in handing over the leadership of our operation in her competent hands,” says Sven Stafström, the Director General of the Swedish Research Council.

Read the Government’s press release (in Swedish) External link.



Pdf / Printout


  1. New research collaboration with USA on 6G, quantum technology cancer, and other areas

    The Swedish Research Council and Vinnova have signed a five year declaration of intent with the US National Science Foundation (NSF), which will facilitate research and innovation collaborations between Sweden and USA.

  2. Agreements completed with four publishers of open access journals

    Last autumn, the Swedish Research Council, Formas, Forte, and Vinnova made a focus decision to fund publishing using publishers that only produce journals with full open access. Agreements have now been entered into with four publishers.

  3. New statistics for applications and decisions

    We have now published overall statistics for applications and grant decisions for 2023. To make the statistics more useful, we have divided up the subjects differently compared to previous years.