On January 13th the Swedish government (U2022/00168) gave the Swedish Research Council and the other major research funders (Forte, Formas and Vinnova) the task to further develop how funding of profile areas could be implemented based on their proposal from 2021 (U2021/02882).
On January 18th the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF) organized an information and discussion meeting about the task. The general sentiment was that the new task provided surprisingly little direction for how the financing of the profile areas should be developed. The general feeling was that there was now more uncertainty about criteria and the evaluation process, than before the government had given the task. At the same time, it was also said that senior civil servants had repeatedly stated that since the parliament has already decided on the profile areas (when the Research bill was adopted) it is only the details that have to be agreed upon.
One issue that was specifically discussed at the SUHF meeting was the time schedule. The task to the Research Council and the other funders states that they should report on their task by June 1st 2022. The task states that the allocation of funding to profile areas should be possible to implement 2024 (“Arbetet ska inriktas på att möjliggöra ett införande från 2024.”) But at the same time the task also states that the proposal should be linked to the budget proposal 2025 and to the next Research bill in 2024. To summarize, the time schedule is at the moment very uncertain. It seems unlikely that it will be possible to allocate funding to the universities based on their profile areas in the state budget for 2024. But since we do not yet have any more precises information about the time schedule, we will continue with the adopted timeline (see Table 4 in the management rules) until we get some more clarity.
At Lund university we are following the work by the Research Council and the other funders and will actively take part in meetings organized by them and by SUHF. When we get additional information, we will adjust the process and the time schedule at Lund university based on this. But the information that we have at present does not yet give us any reason to change how we proceed.