Graduate Professional Development Programme

The Graduate Professional Development Programme enables the development of research-linked courses and training at the master’s level for working professionals. This requires close collaboration in development work between academic environments and companies.

How the Graduate Professional Development Programme contributes to the development of Strong Research and Education Environments (starka forsknings- och utbildningsmiljöer):

Graduate Professional Development projects strengthen education through the development of flexible, research-linked courses at advanced level for working professionals. This provides the environment in question with:

• a new student category: working professionals;
• strengthened master’s-level education;
• a high level of competence in flexible teaching formats;
• awareness of knowledge and competence needs in the business sector; and
• an opportunity to reach out with research results to the business sector and the society.

About the programme

The objective of the Graduate Professional Development Programme is to develop and implement business-relevant courses at advanced level for working professionals. The objective is also to improve the university’s ability for educational collaboration with the business sector, and its ability to provide courses tailored to the competence development needs of the business sector.

The courses should be implemented in areas where the strength and competence of the applying academic research and education environment matches the strategic needs of competence in the business sector. Since course participants are working professionals, high demands are placed on flexible forms of teaching and learning. For the business sector, the program means that employees can assimilate relevant and research-linked knowledge at the university. The courses developed must be incorporated into the regular course offerings at the university and be quality assured according to established procedures.

The purpose of the Graduate Professional Development Programme is to provide the business sector with up-to-date scientific knowledge and expertise, and to strengthen collaboration between the university and the business sector.

The programme’s contribution to the university’s development

Since the courses are being developed for working professionals in co-production with companies, the environment in question obtains not only a new student category, but also good insight into the knowledge and competence needs of the business sector. This has resulted in identification of important research issues and newly-started research projects. The high demands on flexible educational forms strengthen the knowledge and competence of the university concerned in new learning formats, which are often web-based. Through this, good opportunities open up for the universities to establish themselves in the international education market within their strong, profiled research and education areas.

The programme’s contribution to business sector development

The Graduate Professional Development Programme is an important effort in the continual supply of competence for the business sector. Through matching the knowledge and strengths in the academic environment with the competence needs of the business sector, employees can develop the competence companies need to retain and strengthen their renewal and their competitiveness. The flexible education forms make this possible regardless of the companies’ geographic locations.

Examples of effects seen within participating business partners:

• Companies have included training or courses in their internal systems for competence development and competence supply.
• Companies have been able to renew existing products and processes as a result of their employees’ competence development.
• Course participants have been given new positions/increased responsibilities in their respective companies.

Programme design

The programme is divided into two steps. Step 1 is an open call for proposals, in which the competence need within relevant parts of the business sector should be analysed and matched to the strengths and competence of the applying research and education environment. This work should result in a planned course offering of a total of 45–90 higher education credits (which should be further developed and implemented in Step 2). It is also included in Step 1, together with the business sector, to develop and implement courses of totally 10-15 higher education credits in a pilot round. Step 1 is announced annually in the spring and autumn. The project period is a 1.5-2 years, and the support from the Knowledge Foundation is a maximum of SEK 3 million. It is included in Step 1 to produce an application for Step 2, which is announced annually in the autumn.

Step 2 is a targeted call to projects that have completed Step 1. In Step 2 the results and experiences from Step 1 comprise the foundation for the work. In Step 2, the entire planned course offering of 45–90 higher education credits should be further developed and implemented.

Who can apply, and how it works

• Sweden’s university colleges and new universities, authorised to award at least master’s degrees in the field in question, are eligible to apply for funding.
• Calls for proposals are issued annually. Step 1, which is an open call for proposals, is announced in the spring and autumn. Step 2 is directed towards projects that have completed Step 1 and is announced in the autumn.
• Applications must be registered via the Ansök & rapportera portal.