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Today's Great Explorers

Today's great explorers - the strategic research environments at Lund University.

Lund University has collected the top research of the university's twelve strategic reseach environments in a new book. MERGE is one of these environments.

In 2008, the Swedish Government designated 20 ‘Strategic Research Areas’ (SRAs) in its research-policy bill. Within these 20 areas, 43 research environments were chosen for specific funding in a special evaluation in 2009. They were all conducting research of the highest international quality, but just as importantly their research was of strategic value to society – and to business – in that it helped to meet major needs of society and to solve important problems that society was facing. This effort represented a significant investment on the part of Swedish taxpayers. In all, 5,270 million Swedish kronor (SEK) was allocated to the 43 research environments.

Researchers at Lund University were extraordinarily successful: Lund now hosts a total of twelve SRA environments (of which nine are co-ordinated from Lund while three are co-ordinated at other universities with Lund as a partner). The SRA environments in Lund were allocated SEK 714.8 million in 2010–2014 – the highest figure for any Swedish university.

Successful environments for infrastructure, recruitement and collaborations

In 2014, the SRA environments and their host universities were told to report on their progress to the Swedish Government and the Swedish Research Council. These reports show that the environments in Lund have been incredibly successful. Not only have they produced research findings of the highest international standard, but they have also built important infrastructure for continued excellence, in particular by recruiting outstanding researchers and by creating new inter-disciplinary collaborations. They have also built important links with the business sector as well as generating spin-off companies and patents.

They have actively engaged in societal outreach, many of them to an extraordinary extent. They have advised decisionmakers, given interviews and contributed to international reports such as those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they have hosted many conferences and workshops and held panels during the Almedalen Week (Sweden’s largest annual political get-together), and they have striven to improve health-care by actively working with local authorities and regions. Further, they have engaged in improving education – at the university as well as in society at large. They have made scientific breakthroughs and written countless articles not only in specialised journals of international repute but also in popular-science contexts. They are in a good position to do extraordinarily well internationally and to compete for opportunities within Horizon 2020, the largest European Union research and innovation programme ever initiated.

Get the book

Read more about MERGE and the other strategic research environments in the book "Today's Great Explorers" (open pdf)

Get your own copy of the book by sending an e-mail to anna [dot] kristiansson [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se.