How Research Profiles contributes to the development of a Strong Research and Education Environments:
A research profile constitutes a substantial research foundation, and a basis for a strong research and education environment. Long-term sustainability requires a balance between research activities and education, above all at the master’s and doctoral levels. In addition, a balanced combination of senior and junior research scientists is needed. A strong research base and long-term collaboration with the business sector creates the preconditions for additional research initiatives and opens the way for carrying out advanced competence development as well as positioning a university internationally.
About the programme
The Research Profiles programme provides universities with the opportunity to develop and consolidate, together with business partners, an internationally competitive research profile within a well-defined area of research. A research profile should be a hub for the continued strategic development of a co-producing research and education environment. Research Profiles is a strategic programme directed towards the management of the university. An important starting point for the programme is that the application has to be preceded by an internal process in which the management of the university has actively prioritised and selected a defined strategic area of research. The environment in question must have had previous and ongoing funding from the Knowledge Foundation or equivalent, as well as from other research funding bodies.
The programme’s contribution to the university’s development
The Research Profiles programme provides an opportunity for long-term commitment, with a longer planning horizon and funding basis. The programme is also the starting point for an ambitious journey in which it is taken for granted that the research group will publish more, co-produce more, attract more external funds, and grow within the profiled direction in research and in its connection to education in the field of research.
In its requirements, the programme provides a stimulus for a number of measures at the university that, together, strengthen and develop the profiled field of research:
- As a result of the programme, the university must take a clear position regarding the designation, profiling, and financial priority of an identified field of research.
- The university must conduct a credible analysis of strengths and weaknesses, especially the relationship of the profiled field of research to other research groups in Sweden and the world.
- The scientific plan must be placed in relation to current staff composition, and thereafter long-term recruitment and career planning must be carried out.
- There must be a clear management structure for the research profile, in which both academia and business partners have clear roles.
- The research profile must be clearly rooted in the continued development and profiling of the university, for example through planning how the research profile is of benefit to and develops the regular course offerings at the university.
In summary, the programme contributes to both the development of the field of research and the research group, as well as of the entire university. However, this requires the indicated field of research to have a sufficiently well-adapted scope that permits it to develop further as a result of Knowledge Foundation funding.
The programme’s contribution to business sector development
Through its length and requirements for co-funding, the Research Profile programme assumes previously established collaboration with the majority of the business partners included in the venture. This creates preconditions for both deeper relations between the university and the business sector and interesting new collaborations between the companies that together take part in the research profile. Since the research profile is the concern of both the university and the companies included, the management structure must be adapted. Accordingly, a steering group with members from the university and the business sector creates opportunities to coordinate their respective strategies and future plans, in order to create added value to the greatest extent possible and to further develop relationships and co-production. The long-term commitment in the programme also allows for joint results of research to be converted and implemented into the companies’ own operations. In several previously funded research profiles, co-production between academia and the business sector has resulted in the companies included taking decisive strides in their development as a direct result of the research profile.
Knowledge Foundation support for a research profile lasts for six to eight years and comprises SEK 30–40 million. The business sector must co-fund with at least an equal amount. All funds from the Knowledge Foundation must be used for research, with a clear majority for senior research time.
Who can apply, and how it works
• Sweden’s university colleges and new universities may apply.
• The programme issues calls for proposals annually, in autumn. Applications must be registered via the Ansök & rapportera portal.