“Sweden will be a world leading research nation,” said Education Minister Jan Björklund to the TT news agency.
The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) will now be responsible for establishing the programme, with the institutions to receive funding based on the quality of their output.
Björklund explained that it is thanks to the researchers who take high risks that major breakthroughs are possible, and that the current system puts “too much emphasis on publications and citations.”
“If we only award those who succeed we will encourage low risk taking,” he said.
Björklund estimated that by 2016 the funding will be allotted according to this new system.
While Eva Åkesson, head Uppsala University, believes that the idea of quality control from foreign colleagues is good, she sees certain disadvantages to the system.
“One thing is that it can be truly time consuming to do research about research. How much time shall we spend studying one another?” she said.
Tobias Krantz, head for education and research at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt näringsliv) who previously served as Sweden’s Minister for Higher Education and Research, is pleased by the proposition, but also slightly disappointed.
He described Sweden as “truly vulnerable” and referred to the shutting down of the research companies at Sony in Lund and Astra Zeneca in Södertälje as examples.
“What I’m missing is a clear and a little bolder reform agenda to strengthen the Swedish innovation climate,” he said.