Sweden has been research and innovation leader in Europe for many years, especially in the life sciences and in information and communication technologies. Thanks to massive investment in research and development and good links between research and business, Sweden leads the 28 European Union member states when it comes to innovation.

Landscape in Sweden

© Ralf Hanatschek / DLR

Funding the cooperation

In 2010, 2011 and 2013 the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) published an an ideas competition to set up and expand innovative R&D networks with partners in the Baltic Sea countries. The aim of these funding measures is to tap into innovation potential through international cooperation and to boost the international competitive edge of German companies and research institutions in the Baltic Sea region. It was also aimed at encouraging cooperation with Swedish partners. Swedish institutions were involved in nine of the 15 projects included in the most recently published announcement.

The BMBF has commissioned the DLR Project Management Agency's International Buereau with processing these and other funding measures.

Political framework

Sweden is a world leader when it comes to investment in research and development: for some years, Sweden has been investing more than 3% of its GDP in R&D. Most of this investment comes from companies.

In May 2019, the Swedish government presented its national roadmap for the European Research Area 2019-2020. Priorities have been set in creating an open labour market for researchers, building a more efficient national research and innovation system, and tackling societal challenges together. The importance of international cooperation also has been emphasised.

Priorities of the cooperation

Technical priorities of the bi- and multilateral research projects

Cooperation takes place primarily within a multilateral framework and aims to actively shape the European Research Area. Joint projects within the European Research Framework Programmes deal primarily with transport, information and communication technologies as well as health and demographic change.

The technical BMBF programmes also include multilateral research projects involving Sweden. The key areas of focus within current projects are information and communication technology as well as climate, environment and sustainability.

Baltic Sea cooperation

Germany and Sweden work together in many areas in the context of the Baltic Sea cooperation. In addition to the Baltic Development Forum and the Baltic Sea Council, the BONUS network on Baltic Sea research is also an important tool for cooperation between Germany and Denmark. The "BONUS-169" research program and the "BONUS+" call for proposals developed from the ERA-Net network, which was initiated as part of the 6th EU Research Framework Program. The BONUS Network brings together eleven organisations involved in funding and implementing Baltic Sea research in order to bundle their research funding and coordinate infrastructure utilisation.

European infrastructure

German-Swedish cooperation at the ESS European Spallation Source is part of the Röntgen-Ångström-Cluster founded in 2009 for bilateral cooperation in photon and neutron research. The ESS is a large-scale European project under the scope of the European Research Infrastructure (“ESFRI Roadmap”) and is to be built in the Swedish city of Lund. Construction of another major research facility – the Max IV synchrotron light source – is planned for the same location. Sweden is also participating in the XFEL x-ray laser that is being built in Hamburg.