Main Entrance of Chalmers Tekniska Högskola. 2006-08-19
Photo: Anders Jonsson/Wikimedia Commons
Swedish Research Cooperation
Published: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 10:49:06 GMT   Updated: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:20:18 GMT
Support to Swedish researchers is an important component in Swedish international development cooperation. The aim is to develop and sustain the Swedish knowledge base and research capacity in areas that are of relevance to poverty reduction, to encourage exchange of ideas and information, and to create a two-way scientific research system where cooperation generates new knowledge and encourages innovative thinking. Links and U-Forsk programmes are since January 2013 hosted by the Swedish Research Council, Vetenskapsrådet.

Swedish Research Links (Links)
The Swedish Research Links Programme seeks to stimulate research ties between researchers in Sweden, on the one hand, and in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and South Africa on the other. One key objective is to increase the exchange of knowledge of common interest among researchers in the countries involved. Funds from the programme are intended to cover the extra costs arising from this collaboration. These may, for example, relate to travel, workshops and publication of jointly written articles. Salaries, on the other hand, are not funded.

Within the programme there are two different forms of grant. One is the three-year International Collaborative Research Grant. The other is the one-year International Planning Grant. Applications must be made jointly by researchers in Sweden and in the collaborating countries. All the applicants must be affiliated to research institutions. Project grants from the Links programme may relate to any discipline or field. Further details can be found on Vetenskapsrådet's website,

Development Research Programme (U-Forsk)
The support provided to Swedish researchers via the U-Forsk programme is aimed at developing and maintaining the Swedish knowledge base and research capacity in fields that are relevant to developing countries. Further aims are to promote scientific research cooperation between researchers in Sweden and developing countries and the participation of Swedish researchers in research programmes and research cooperation relevant to development. In support of its work the programme has reference groups which cover the following fields; i) Natural Sciences and Technology, ii) Environment and Natural Resources, iii) Economics, iv) Social Science, and v) Humanities, Education and Communication.

Most of the support is provided for research projects. However, post doctorate support and research network support are also eligible. Individual researchers or groups of researchers that are active at universities, university colleges and other research intuitions in Sweden may apply. Only applicants holding PhD can be considered. Researchers working as supervisors (professors, senior lecturers or the equivalent) can include doctoral students in the research project. Further details can be found on Vetenskapsrådet's website,

Since network support was initiated in 2004, 11 networks have been supported:

Special calls

Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas)
The overall objective within this program is to strengthen the research capacity of developing countries and to promote development-oriented research. Sida also aims to promote scientific cooperation between researchers in Sweden and in developing countries by promoting participation of scientists from Sweden in sustainability research in developing countries. Formas funds research in the areas of environment, agriculture, construction and urban and rural development. The successful applications are relevant for Formas areas of responsibility - Formas research strategy 2009 - 2012 and for Sida's areas of responsibility - Sida Strategy for research Cooperation 2010- 2014. While the Sida-funding is restricted to research at the institutes or field stations within the CGIAR-system, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the Formas-funding is open for research at other institutes or universities as well. The current agreement covers the period 2010/01 - 2011/12 and a total amount of 7 002 850 SEK.

Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB): Contagious Diseases
Sida's Unit for Research Cooperation and MSB announced calls on the research theme of communicable diseases by developing the capacity in the handling and prevention of these. Together Sida and MSB fund a three-year program with the aim to increase cooperation between scientists from Sweden and scientists in developing countries within the research area of communicable diseases. The overall intention is to increase knowledge production, in terms of research results, and strengthen the ability to combat the global spread of contagious diseases, which currently threaten both developed and developing countries.
The program, with focus on capacity building to limit the spread and impact of contagious diseases, started in 2011 and runs until 2014. The call covered major threats and challenges to health and society of mutual interest to both Sida and MSB, addressing the sources, pathways and mitigation measures concerning the spread of communicable diseases.

Partner Driven Cooperation (PDC)
This call is now closed. The objective of PDC is to stimulate and strengthen the emergence of self-supporting relationships of mutual interest between Swedish partners and partners in low and medium income countries. The idea is to utilise research results from both Sweden and partner countries in innovation, in areas of policy making and other developmental issues in order to contribute to poverty reduction and equitable and sustainable global development. Encouraging Swedish actors to engage in activities that will contribute to this objective is the main purpose of the Partner Driven Cooperation team at Sida. PDC support is designed as a catalytic tool and can include a broad range of activities that maximize opportunities for Swedish actors to collaborate with actors from Sweden's selective countries (China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia) on activities of mutual benefit. In 2012 the call focused on India and Indonesia only. The aim of Partner Driven Cooperation is to assist in the process of building up a sustainable collaboration between researchers, policy specialists, and innovators at Swedish institutions/organisations together with similar actors in the collaboration countries. In PDC the partners are expected to initiate and pursue the cooperation by themselves. Shared ownership along with mutual interest and division of responsibility are of central importance in enabling the relationship to become self-supporting in the long term.

Special call: How does research and innovation get an impact in developing countries?
This call, which was announced in 2010, aims at providing Sida, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNESCO and Sida's partners within research cooperation with a greater basis of knowledge regarding higher education, research and innovation in developing countries. The idea is that there is a general lack of documented research-based knowledge about how research is planned, produced and utilised in developing countries. Sida's objective with this call is to support research which contributes to enhanced knowledge about the preconditions for higher education, research and innovation being employed towards development and poverty alleviation. A total of 5 of the submitted 10 applications were granted funding. One application received a planning grant and the remaining four grantees will receive funding during the entire three year period.  Sida will support these research projects with a total of about five million SEK per year during 2010-2012.

Collaboration with Uganda
Received Letters of Intent for partnerships between Makerere University in Uganda and Swedish universities aimed at research capacity strengthening are now being evaluated. Invitation to submit full proposals will be sent out to successful applicants on May 19th 2014. Guidelines for full proposal are available online now.
Bill Gates’ cooperation with Sida
On the 31st of March Bill Gates held a speech on the theme “The world is getting better – how we can end extreme poverty in our lifetime”. Hannah Akuffo, the acting head of the unit for research cooperation, sat in the panel which raised important questions about how, where and why research and knowledge is needed for a sustainable development. Click the link to watch the lecture!
Call open – Seed funding from ISSC
ISSC with support from Sida’s unit for research cooperation is now announcing a call for seed funding for 30 grants of €30,000 each. The call aims to prepare researchers from all parts of the world to respond meaningfully to the call for Transformative Knowledge Network proposals that will be launched in October 2014. The deadline for applications is May 31, 2014.
32 Million SEK for sustainable development research
Seven research projects focusing on sustainable development in low income countries have received funds from a joint call between Sida and Formas. The projects are funded 2014-2017.
Result of the Day!
Plenty of results are produced within the research cooperation and as we are counting down towards the end of 2013 Sida is presenting one result here every day during December, up until the holidays.
Innovation for growth
Sida has supported innovation within the research cooperation for many years and the support was recently evaluated. We have now produced a short overview over the evaluation, including two case studies and the conclusions drawn.
Results from CGIAR research
Thanks to research performed by Sida supported CGIAR, over 15 million farmers and others have applied new technologies such as newly developed crop varieties or new management practices on a range of farming systems. As a result of this work over 10 million hectares of land are now under improved technologies or management practices.
Research Training Partnership Programme - complementary call Bolivia
Those invited to submit a full proposal for Sida's “Research Training Partnership Programme as an integral part of Institutional Research Capacity Strengthening” have now been contacted. The program as a whole focuses on collaboration between Sida target country universities in Bolivia and Swedish universities.
Meet our partners!
Sida works with a number of partner organisations within the research cooperation. We have asked some of them to describe their mission and share their current news.
Think Tank Rankings 2012
Several Sida supported Think Tanks are listed in the 2012 “Think Tank Index” from the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at University of Pennsylvania.
U-forsk and Swedish Research Links: The call for proposals 2013 is now closed.
Read more on Vetenskapsrådet's website:
First TASENE awardees announced
The unique collaborative research programme TASENE has awarded four projects for Tanzanian, Dutch and Swedish post docs with the goal to learn from each other’s approaches to research management and funding.
Sida's Research Cooperation
has a wide mandate in research support, encompassing bilateral research, regional cooperation, global programmes and higher education in Sweden. The aim is to create new knowledge and strengthen research capacity through the various programmes and projects.