Sweden to give long-term boost to research

The government has announced that it will put four billion kronor ($605 million) into research and innovation in a long-term effort to secure Sweden’s place among the world's top nations for research.

Sweden to give long-term boost to research

The investment is part of a three year process in which 11.5 billion kronor will be invested, with gradually increasing installments from 2013 until the full four billion kronor will come into effect in 2016.

“This is a research contribution at a historically high level. We’re reaching levels that we’ve never been at in Sweden,” said Education Minister Jan Björklund to the TT news agency.

“We hope the investment into research and innovation with provide the footing for Sweden to be strong in the future. This lays the foundation for new jobs,” said Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

A large part of the investment will go towards high schools and universities, and also to “Life Science” – a programme for medical research.

“The focus with Life Science is about how we can be healthier and live longer. It’s about preventing and curing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and stroke,” said Björklund.

Uppsala University also welcomes the government’s decision.

“It’s great that the government, despite the strained global economy, chooses prioritize research. These investments are also largely in line with our own priorities, which is of course encouraging,” said university head Eva Åkesson in a statement.

TT/The Local/og

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime