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: Sat, 07 Feb 2015 09:51:36 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.

Call for proposals: Research Training Partnership Programme - Ethiopia
Sida is announcing a call for proposals for 5-year partnerships between Ethiopian and Swedish research institutions for strengthening of institutional research capacity in Ethiopia. Thematic areas as prioritized by the partner university Addis Ababa University: Economics and Management, Electrical Power and Control Engineering, International and Comparative Education, Biotechnology.
Achievements from the Bio-Innovate Programme
Regional research cooperation has improved beans to be used for the canning industry. In collaboration with SciDev.Net, a movie presents one of the results of the Sida supported Bio-Innovate Programme in Kenya. The development of a sweet potato resilient to climate change and technologies for agro-industrial water recycling are among the other achievements. Read about them in the results section.
Sida Research Council visits Tanzania
Sida's scientific advisory group recently travelled to Tanzania to visit organisations and universities supported by Sweden. WIOMSA and Institute of Marine Sciences on Zanzibar and universities in Dar es Salaam were among the partners visited.
Research network focusing on agri-chemicals
A new research network in South East Asia and Bangladesh has been formed and will focus on agri-chemicals. Here are representatives taking part in a Results Based Management workshop.
RBM Handbook available
A handbook in Results Based Management is available for download through the link below. The purpose of the handbook is to guide organisations in using RBM for planning, monitoring, reporting and evaluation.
New strategy for research cooperation
The Swedish government has decided on a new strategy for research cooperation valid 2015-2021. The strategy has three results areas: capacity building, research of relevance for development and innovation.
Insect science on CNN
Sida supported insect science institute icipe was recently featured on cnn, in the programme African Voices.
Director for Future Earth Secretariat
As the Future Earth Globally Distributed Secretariat begins to take shape, KVA has initiated the search for the Director for the Swedish Global Hub of the Future Earth Secretariat. The recruitment announcement has already been posted – see links below. More about Future Earth can be found by exploring the web site
Watch the Makerere University video showcasing results from research cooperation with Sweden
– Swedish funds have strengthened research management and coordination, improved the research and publication at Makerere, and improved the funding levels for research and innovation, says professor Mukadasi Buyinza, Sida coordinator at Makerere University. Swedish research cooperation with Uganda was initiated in 2000. On October 6, our successful cooperation was celebrated at Sida Science Day 2014.
The SSEESS Research Links 2015
The “SSEESS Research Links 2015" call for proposals is now open! The grant is aimed at individual researchers within natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities that do research on Global Environmental Change (GEC) issues, are affiliated with a Swedish research institute and already collaborate with at least one regional scientist on the regional priorities.
Research Training Partnership Programme - Uganda
Update: The decision regarding full proposals going forward in the process and those rejected will be sent out to proposal coordinators during the second week of December 2014.
Research Training Partnership Programme - Tanzania
The deadline for submission of joint programme proposals to the Tanzanian Universities/Costech has now passed (November 14th, 2014). Information about the call is still available online through the link below.
Seed funding from ISSC
The call for proposals from ISSC with support from Sida’s research cooperation is now closed. A total of 500 applications were received. The call was for seed funding for 30 grants of €30,000 each with the aim 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.
Swebol Biotech - From Swedish support to international venture
Bolivia has products of great potential to both domestic and international markets. Research by Mauricio Peñarrieta has shown that its plants are rich on antioxidants and other nutritional values. His research led to the launch of a Swedish-Bolivian venture project called SweBol Biotech, with the purpose of facilitating trade between the countries.
Grants awarded to 38 new research initiatives
ISSC has with support from Sida awarded 38 seed grants to new research initiatives in the field of social transformations. The aim is to build knowledge partnerships needed for longer-term research on the fundamental innovative processes of social transformations towards sustainable and equitable futures. The supported research networks have unique focus on social transformation needs and opportunities in specific social-ecological settings across the world.
Sustainable development research
In this short video research fellow Yonas Alem talks about the Sida supported research capacity building programme "Environment for Development initiative" which is based at Gothenburg university, as well as research related to sustainable development.
Sida supports WHO call for action
Sida supports the WHO statement on the prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during facility-based childbirth. This is a call for action, dialogue, research and advocacy to ensure the rights of women to dignified, respectful healthcare through pregnancy and childbirth. It is a matter of human rights. Sida's research cooperation supports WHO's research programmes HRP, TDR and the Alliance.
"Bolivian universities serve the people"
"Inequality is decreasing and people are speaking about our economic growth across Latin America. This in part has our public universities to thank, and we are very proud of them." Bolivian vice president Álvaro García Linera at a recent conference in La Paz where twelve years of research cooperation between Sweden and Bolivia was celebrated.
Call open: Research Partnership Programme - Tanzania
Sida is announcing a call for proposals for partnerships between Tanzanian and Swedish universities and institutions called “Research Partnership Programme". The programme aims at supporting the strengthening of institutional research capacities at four key research universities and institutions in Tanzania. Deadline November 14th 2014.
Future Earth secretariat
Stockholm is one of five Global Hubs to comprise the new Future Earth secretariat. The other locations are in Canada, France, Japan and USA. Spread over three continents the secretariat will operate as one entity. Sida supports Future Earth and its research for sustainable development.
PhD student Stella Kioko
Sida supported International Science Programme (ISP) at Uppsala University has made a short film about PhD Student Stella Kioko from Kenya where she tells about her life and her physics research. Sida supports ISP 2014-2018 with 160 Million SEK.
Summary of ReCom findings
Research and Communication on Foreign Aid (ReCom) has now published a summary of their research findings. ReCom was implemented over 2011-2013 in a partnership between UNU-WIDER, Sida and Danida. The aim of the programme was to research and communicate what works and what can be achieved through development assistance.
Sweden and WHO sign new framework agreement for health
Swedish Ambassador Jan Knutsson and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan have signed a contract that marks the first phase of a new six-year framework agreement. WHO’s reform initiative aims to ensure that the organization is well-equipped to address the increasingly complex health challenges of the 21st century. The reform’s objectives are three-fold: to improve health outcomes, to achieve greater coherence in global health and to foster organizational excellence.
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!
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.
Collaboration with Uganda
Received Letters of Intent for partnerships between Makerere University in Uganda and Swedish universities aimed at research capacity strengthening have now been evaluated. Invitations to submit full proposals have been sent out to successful applicants during week 22, 2014. Guidelines for full proposal are available through the link below.
U-forsk and Swedish Research Links
These programs are from 2013 administrated by Vetenskapsrådet (the Swedish Research Council). Read more on their website:
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.
Finding a common language about social transformation
What is needed for better and more effective research into social change, and how does change happens? The ISSC’s Transformations to Sustainability programme is an exciting new global research funding programme to promote research on some of the world’s most pressing challenges. This video shows the first of a series of annual Transformative Knowledge workshops.