Title: Challenges for R&I policy-making in Sweden
Improving the links between research and innovation. While the general performance of the Swedish R&D system on the supply is very good, there is a long-lasting debate concerning the alleged inefficiency of turning the heavy investments in R&D into innovation-based economic growth. For several years the governmental research bills acknowledge the need for increasing the links between research and innovation. In practical terms, the dominant approach has been to launch a series of supply-side measures, most of all a variety of funding instruments to promote cross-sectoral collaboration.
Reducing the dependence of BERD on multinational companies. Swedish GERD, while very high in international comparison, is dominated by the private sector, where, in turn, most R&D expenditure takes place in a relatively small number of very large companies. Policy efforts have aimed at increasing the level of investment in R&D among SMEs, the introduction of public venture capital, programs to increase collaboration between universities and firms and also university spin-offs, and a series of funding programs targeted at start-ups and innovation in SMEs.
Sustaining the high quality of the public research base. Despite the heavy investment in both education and research, signs have abounded for a long time that the supply of competence, and also the international competitiveness of the Swedish R&D system as measured in outputs, is stagnating or falling slightly. This is a policy challenge of great magnitude but also great complexity, and while it is acknowledged in governmental research policy documents, its remedy is a controversial topic.