Startpage for Swedish National Agency for Higher Education

Please note! The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education was closed down on 31 December 2012. Instead two new agencies have been established: the Swedish Council for Higher Education and the Swedish Higher Education Authority. This website will continue to operate as the new agencies will have links to information it contains.  

2004:14 R

Income from research and postgraduate studies, 1997-2002

BrödtextFocus on new universities and on non-university HEIs
This survey is based on Swedish higher education institutions’ (HEIs) accounting of income from research and postgraduate studies during the period 1997–2002. In those years, this income rose by SEK 3.3 billion in fixed prices. Government grants increased by 14%, official external funding by 7% and other public external funding by 35%. Accordingly, private funding sources accounted for 44% of the rise in income and, while public-sector income from research and postgraduate studies rose by 12%, there was a 42% increase in income from private-sector sources.

These results can also be reported in terms of funds that were and were not subject to academic review. Together, direct government grants and public external funding subject to academic review accounted for 37% of the increase in income, while private academically reviewed funding represented 20%. The remaining 43% was funding not subject to academic review: just over 19% from the public and 24% from the private sector. The rise in funding that was not subject to academic review was composed entirely of income from commissions and charges.

Depending on how one opts to classify the various types of income, various conclusions may be drawn. The method that has been used to classify income from external funding sources yields the results stated above. Those who wish to carry out their own calculations can obtain financial statistics from the National Agency for Higher Education’s National Monitoring Database.

Changed funding profiles

In this survey, all the Swedish higher education institutions were divided into four categories: new universities, non-university HEIs with academic disciplines, non-university HEIs without academic disciplines, and established universities.

In terms of HEI type, the Government gave priority during the period studied to the institutions that became universities and, to a lesser extent, those that obtained the right to award doctoral degrees. All of these HEIs obtained fixed and increased resources for research. However, the increased research grants constituted only part of the total rise in income, and were supplemented by other public funds with a similar emphasis.

Trends for the established universities were different. Their direct government grants stagnated, while their income from private funding sources rose sharply. The single largest increase in income was derived from Swedish foundations and non-profit organisations, from which new resources went almost exclusively to the established universities.

Another change is a trend of rising income from commissions and miscellaneous fees in all categories of institution except non-university HEIs with academic disciplines. The distribution of additional funds has had the result of changing the funding profiles for the four categories of HEI and reducing the established universities’ share of total income for research and postgraduate studies from 96% to 91%.

Rising proportion of direct government grants at new universities and at non-university HEIs with academic disciplines

At the established universities, there was a rise in the proportion of external income for research and postgraduate studies. Owing to the size of these institutions, this development had an overall impact and this rising proportion therefore applies to HEIs generally. However, the situation is different for the other institutional categories. Owing to the rapid increase in grants to the new universities and the non-university HEIs with academic disciplines, a substantially higher proportion of these institutions’ research activities was funded by direct government grants in 2002 than in 1997. At non-university HEIs without academic disciplines, with the exception of Södertörns högskola (the University College of South Stockholm), direct government grants and external income increased to a roughly equal extent.
Private funding sources increasingly important
For the Swedish non-university HEIs — including those that are now universities — external funding before 1997 consisted largely of public funds that were not subject to academic review. Academically reviewed public funds made up a small proportion of all external funding — roughly on a par with funds from the private sector.

Since then, major changes have taken place. Some research foundations have been instructed to direct their contributions to particular types of HEI, while some funding sources demand cofunding from the business sector, and there has been a massive rise in income from private sources.

The research foundations’ directives have meant that new universities and the higher education institutions have received sharply increased funding subject to academic review, but also that their research is confined — more than that of the established universities — to issues relevant to the business sector. Other academically reviewed funding (from research councils and non-profit Swedish foundations and organisations) has also expanded at the non-university HEIs and the new universities, but still makes up only a small proportion of their research resources. For these institutions, it is mainly direct government grants that account for the funding of basic research.

At the established universities, income from private funding sources rose sharply during the period under review. The result is that public external funding is no longer as predominant as it used to be. The increase in private funding subject to academic review is particularly striking.

The established universities still have an appreciably higher proportion of external funding that is not earmarked for research of a particular kind (e.g. with relevance to the business sector). However, for these institutions the composition of such funds has changed. Formerly, income from the research councils accounted for the bulk of academically reviewed funding. In 2002, however, contributions from non-profit Swedish foundations and organisations exceeded the institutions’ income from research councils.

Growing share of staff with PhDs due to rise in research grants

At the new universities, where research grants have increased most, the proportion of teachers and researchers with PhDs rose by almost 10 percentage points between 1997 and 2001. At the non-university HEIs, the proportion rose by just over 6 percentage points. Despite these massive increases, the proportions of staff with PhDs are still low in comparison with the established universities, where the proportion was 60% in 2001.

One factor explaining the relatively low share of staff with PhDs at the non-university HEIs (29–30%) and the new universities (34%) is that the majority of staff (teachers and researchers) are lecturers, who seldom have doctorates.