Five HEIs to represent Sweden as research nation

11 February 2019

This week, delegates from five Swedish higher education institutions are travelling to the US to hold, jointly with the Swedish Embassy in Washington DC, a one-day conference on Swedish research and higher education for interested Americans.

Inquiry Chair Agneta Bladh presented the final report of the Inquiry on increased internationalisation of higher education institutions (HEIs) in October 2018. The Inquiry found that no Swedish government agency or organisation has the remit of representing Swedish research internationally. The Swedish Institute markets Sweden abroad as an educational destination, but has not been tasked with telling the world about Sweden as a research nation.

The five HEIs are now taking their own initiative. The Universities of Uppsala, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Lund and Umeå, which have an aggregate turnover of SEK 30 billion (approx. USD 3.2bn), represent 200,000 students and 30,000 employees. Delegates to the conference will include Swedish and American university managements, and representatives of interest organisations and funders from the two countries.

”Sweden is a strong research nation, and we must use this to boost our international attractiveness. Doing this as a single higher education institution may be difficult, but together we become interesting. So this is something of a Swedish national team representing research and higher education,” says Anna Ledin, a research advisor at Uppsala University who is in charge of this HEI’s planning.

Event for alumni

The visit is to start with an event for alumni in Washington DC. There, Sweden’s Ambassador to the United Nations Olof Skoog and Swedish Television’s US correspondent Carina Bergfeldt are to be the speakers, and Uppsala University’s Professor of North American Studies Dag Blanck will be the moderator.

On Wednesday 13 February a one-day conference on joint university issues, including panel discussions on lifelong learning and research as drivers of economic growth, will be held. This conference will take place immediately before the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, the world’s largest general scientific gathering. This Meeting, held in DC this year, will take place from 14 to 17 February.