Swedish physics research has great impact

Swedish research in physics is of high quality and has great impact, both nationally and internationally. This was established by the international panel that evaluated the research at 12 universities, using the model developed by the Swedish Research Council.

Physics of high quality and societal relevance

An international expert panel has evaluated Swedish research in physics at 12 higher education institutions (HEIs). They based the evaluation on the Swedish Research Council’s evaluation model and assessed the scientific quality of the research with the help of bibliometrics and external reading of a selection of publications. Using case studies, they assessed the impact of the research outside academia.

“The overall conclusion in the expert panel’s report is that research in physics in Sweden is of high quality, and has great intra-disciplinary impact both nationally and internationally. Swedish higher education institutions have strong links to industry, the education system and the international research community. This shows that the research is important to the rest of society,” says Richard Österberg, Analyst at the Swedish Research Council.

Research infrastructure, collaboration and cross-disciplinary research lead to success

Physics research in Sweden is very broad-based, from basic research via innovation and technology development to practical solutions for industry and research with bearing on major societal challenges. Sweden is also a desirable partner in research collaborations, particularly within sub-atomic physics, fusion, space and plasma physics, astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.

The panel also established that MAX IV has contributed to Swedish innovation having had an enormous impact on all major synchrotron-based light sources around the world, and emphasised that Swedish HEIs are making important initiatives within instrumentation for both MAX IV and the European Spallation Source (ESS).

Recommendations from the panel

The panel pointed out that important scientific and societal effects of research can be seen, and therefore be captured in national evaluations, after one or two decades. At the same time, it also emphasised the importance of basic and curiosity-driven research, which might become important to the rest of society only after a considerably longer time. The panel also discussed how research quality and impact on the rest of society can be further strengthened. They highlighted international collaborations, research funding and forms for knowledge transfer to industry as success factors. With the right conditions, physics research in Sweden can continue to contribute knowledge about and solutions to various societal challenges.

The evaluations shall provide a national overview of a scientific field

The Swedish Research Council’s model focuses on research subjects and thematic areas to provide a national overview of a field. It was first used in 2020, for the field of political science. The evaluation model takes into account both the quality of the research, and the impact of the research in society. It is inspired by how research is evaluated in other countries, and, by focusing on how the research output, it complements both the HEI’s own quality assurance processes and the Swedish Higher Education Authority’s audits.

Read more about the evaluation model




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