Scientific Culture and its place in Swedish Society

Scientific culture in Sweden in relation to policy decisions and economic success is the subject of a new report by VA. Part of the EU-funded PLACES project, this report takes an in-depth look into how local and national policies have influenced science, research and innovation in Sweden today and over the last decades.

Decisions taken from the 1970s onwards in the areas of education, child care, equal opportunities and R&D expenditure have all had a significant impact on scientific success in Sweden. Also of high importance was the decision in the 1990s to establish communicating with society as the third task of universities (after teaching and research). This led to a considerable increase in science-society interaction.

These policy decisions may explain in part why Sweden tops EU league tables for public confidence in science and research. Recent years have seen further policy changes following the election of a right wing government in 2006. The new government has introduced major changes in education policy and research structure. The full impact of these policies is yet to be seen but there is a new trend towards interpreting the “third task” as being predominantly concerned with cooperation with business rather than the dialogue with the general public.

Alongside this analysis of Swedish science policy, the report also contains a detailed review of scientific culture in action across Sweden today including science centres, museums and events. This Swedish report by VA is one of 27 similar reports from across the EU. Together they will give a comprehensive overview of scientific culture across Europe. The aim is for this report to provoke interest and stimulate discussions on the role of science in society in these changing economic and political times.

The report in English is available to download here.


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