Utskrift från Malmö högskolas webbplats www.mah.se

Malmö University’s approach to increase research funding

2017-05-10

RESEARCH FUNDING. Visits to Brussels, meetings with funding bodies and application strategies – a number of initiatives are taken throughout the year to increase external research funding as MAH transitions to become a full-scale university.
“One of Malmö University’s most important tasks will be to maintain, or preferably increase, the proportion of external funding for research”, says vice-chancellor Kerstin Tham.

In recent years, more than half of the university’s research funding has come from external funders – the largest contributor being the Swedish Research Council. The other half was provided through direct government funding.  
Our management wants to maintain this ratio between direct government funding and external grants also next year, when the university’s research funding from the Government will increase from the current approximately SEK 140 million to SEK 230 million. In addition, the university management is hoping and advocating for another increase of approximately SEK 100 million per year in basic funding.
“Obviously, it will be a challenge to maintain the high proportion of external revenue, but I am convinced that it is feasible in the long term.  In order to achieve a balance between research and education, it is important that we are able to compete for external research funding”, says Kerstin Tham. 

Our work in this area has included a trip to Brussels, recently carried out by a delegation of 13 people representing the university, including four out of the five members of university’s top executive management, as well as four deans and Research Services staff.
During the intensive visit – which mainly took place at and with the support of Region Skåne’s office in Brussels known as the Skåne European Office – the delegation met a number of representatives of various EU bodies and research funding agencies, including:

  • Jakop Dalunde, MEP and member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
  • Dan André, head of Vinnova’s office in Brussels
  • Jean-David Malo, director of Open Innovation and Open Science, European Commission
  • Per-Erik Yngwe, counsellor for science and research, part of the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU
  • Åsa Petri, counsellor for Educational Affairs in Brussels    

During their visit, vice-chancellor Kerstin Tham and pro vice-chancellors Charlotte Ahlgren Moritz and Cecilia Christersson also had time to present the university’s activities and forthcoming university status to invited guests at a breakfast seminar.
“The purpose of the visit, among other things, was to market and profile Malmö University. We also wanted to learn more about and discuss the Horizon 2020 framework programme, which is up for an interim review, as well as future programmes”, says Rebecka Kucer Wallin, EU administrator at the university’s Office of Education and Research Support, and coordinator for the university’s visit to Brussels.
She continues:
“The result of the meetings was very positive. It is clear that there is a great interest in our university and that our strong research areas are considered relevant, such as digitalisation and migration.”

Another initiative to increase external revenue in the long term is to invite those in charge of funding bodies in Sweden. A few weeks ago, the senior management of the Forte research council visited the university and shortly we will receive a visit from the corresponding level of management of Vinnova.
“In the autumn, we will also invite the management of the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, the Kamprad Family Foundation and the Crafoord Foundation”, says Rebecka Kucer Wallin.
She also explains that the university’s support function Research Services will soon be strengthened with additional employees. 

Furthermore, in the first few months of the year, the faculty’s management teams have each formulated their own application strategies for the next three years, in which they highlight their initiatives including the development of a researcher forum, peer review of grant applications, and systematic follow-up of these applications. Other planned initiatives at the faculties are, for example, to free up more time for writing applications, to offer editing services, and to draw up a checklist for the writing of applications.   
“It is important that we both prioritise and systematise the work with applying for research funding.”
“We also have to make sure we take advantage of the expertise available at the university and learn from each other, as well as create conditions to enable more of our researchers to participate in various national and international research funding agencies’ review panels and boards”, says Kerstin Tham.

Text: Per M Eriksson