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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in higher education


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.4National reforms in higher education

Last update: 27 March 2024


Increasing university - industry mobility early in the academic career on referral

There is a great and growing need for mobility between universities and other sectors to increase the supply of skills in society. For example, it needs to be easier to combine work as a researcher and teacher at a university with work in healthcare or industry. 

A memorandum proposes changes to the Higher Education Act that enable joint employment between the university and other sectors, which has previously been possible only for certain categories of employees at health care units that are assigned to medical education and research. This means that the regulation relating to combined employment in the case of specific occupational categories is removed. The proposals also make it possible to combine an employment as an associate senior lecturer or another employment as a teacher with an employment in another sector, which is currently only possible for senior lecturers and professors. The purpose of these proposals is to increase mobility between the university and other sectors, also early in the academic career. 

The changes regarding the time limit between the doctoral degree and the application for employment as an associate senior lecturer are proposed to enter into force on July 1, 2024, and the changes concerning combined employment are proposed to enter into force on July 1, 2025.

For more information (in Swedish)

More people will have the opportunity to pursue EU studies with a scholarship

The Government has decided to increase the scholarship amount for studies at College of Europe. The increase means that the tuition fees for seven students can be fully financed with scholarships from 2024. This is one of the investments the Government is making to encourage more Swedes to apply to EU institutions in the future. 

The scholarship is administered and applied for via the Swedish Council for Higher Education and is aimed at people who want to study at one of the University's three locations in Bruges, Warsaw and Tirana.

For more information (in Swedish)

Security competence must be taken into account when the educational institutions' new boards are nominated

The Government has decided on an adjusted assignment to the nominators who have previously been appointed to propose chairmen and external board members for state universities. The change means that they must take into account that the board as a whole has general competence in security matters. 

In recent years, the security situation has deteriorated and become increasingly serious. Universities are interesting to foreign powers and therefore need to be more prepared for risks in the new security situation. This is an important step to ensure that the boards have the collective competence required to be able to handle overall and strategic questions about safety. 

What is new in the assignment is that the nominators, when they propose new members for the upcoming appointment period, must take into account that the board as a whole has general competence in security matters. In other respects, the nominators' proposals must, as before, be preceded by consultation within and outside the university, and the persons who are nominated must have competence and experience from activities of importance to the university's mission. The members will be proposed for the period October 1, 2024 through April 30, 2028. The nominators must submit their proposals by June 14 at the latest, and the Government is expected to appoint the new boards in September.

For more information (in Swedish)


Authorities to draw up guidelines for responsible internationalization

The Government gives the Swedish Council for Higher Education, the Swedish Research Council and Vinnova (innovation agency) the task of proposing how the work with responsible internationalization in higher education, research and innovation conducted at universities, with state research funders and other authorities can be promoted.

International collaborations in higher education and research are in many cases decisive for excellent research and innovation. The Government wants to create good conditions for making use of research results in both the public sector and business, as well as to contribute in a safe way to Swedish competitiveness and resilience. At the same time, openness in, among other things, research risks being exploited.

We live in an increasingly insecure world and there are major challenges with foreign powers exploiting the openness and collaboration that are cornerstones of excellent research and innovation. Openness should form the basis of international cooperation, while there needs to be an awareness of the need to protect national interests, knowledge and technology.

The Swedish Council for Higher Education, the Swedish Research Council and Vinnova are therefore tasked with producing indicative national guidelines for international collaborations which should be a tool for making assessments of ongoing and potential international educational and research collaborations. The authorities must also propose how additional forms of support for, among other things, the exchange of knowledge and experience between universities and state research financiers, as well as other relevant authorities and organizations can be developed and designed.

The assignment must be partially reported no later than March 31, 2024, and a final report no later than December 15, 2024. The assignment is coordinated by the Swedish Council for Higher Education.

For more information (in Swedish)

The government gathers forces to strengthen Sweden, the country of engineers

Sweden's prosperity has historically rested on a strong innovative power in the individual and in the business world. In the budget bill for 2024, the government proposes several different investments in education and research that will strengthen Sweden as a country of engineers and meet the great skill needs, including an expansion of the education of Master of Science in Engineering and an increase in the compensation amounts for education in science and technology.

The government is proposing a targeted investment to expand the education of Master of Science in Engineering in the coming years. In order for more people to be able to study as engineers, the base year courses at these universities are also being expanded. 

The government also proposes a strategic investment in increased research grants. The aim is to strengthen the research and educational environments in electrification and battery technology. Through this investment, the government quickly creates the conditions for the universities to be able to recruit more researchers and teachers with key competence in an area where international competition is high.

For more information (in Swedish)

Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) shall conduct case studies on academic freedom – a reaction to cancel culture

The Government commissions the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) to conduct case studies on academic freedom. 

UKÄ will conduct case studies with the aim of providing a deeper understanding of the work of universities and university colleges in promoting and protecting academic freedom in accordance with the provisions of the Higher Education Act and a culture that allows the free search for knowledge and the free dissemination of knowledge. The authority must also compile the work of the higher education institutions in promoting and protecting academic freedom and a culture that allows the free search for knowledge and the free dissemination of knowledge. The compilation must include a summarising national picture and an international outlook.

The assignment on case studies must be reported no later than February 15, 2024, and other parts must be reported no later than May 15, 2024.

The issue of academic freedom came up during the autumn 2022 in the debate about the existence of a so-called cancel culture at Swedish universities.

For more information (in Swedish)


New route to Higher Education

The new national eligibility test has been completed and will be conducted in October 2022. A passed test result provides basic eligibility to higher education.

Anyone who never started high school or who started and dropped out and has worked or acquired knowledge and skills in another way, can write the basic entrance examination for university studies. With a passing test result, you demonstrate your actual competence and that you have the conditions to study at the university.

During a trial period, anyone who is at least 24 years old and lacks basic eligibility for university studies can write a test to prove their competence. The first test is October 9, 2022.

The new test measures, among other things, knowledge of English, Swedish and mathematics, but also competences such as scientific approach and problem-solving ability. In other words, competences that you may have acquired through work and internships, other types of education or your own business.

For more information (in Swedish)

Strengthened Swedish-British collaboration through the Swedish Innovation and Research Office in London

Sweden's seventh innovation and research office abroad will be established at the Swedish Embassy in London from 1 January 2022. The office will develop and strengthen cooperation between the UK and Sweden on issues related to the Government's life science strategy, export and investment strategy, research and the Innovation Bill, as well as the Government's strategic collaboration program.

In order to maintain Sweden's strong international position as an innovation and knowledge leader, it is important to have developed collaborations with world-leading innovation and research countries. Sweden already has established innovation and research offices at Sweden's embassies in Brasilia, New Delhi, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo and Washington DC.

The Swedish universities have coped well with the pandemic

A study by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ), that had been commissioned by the Swedish government, shows that overall, the universities have coped well with the pandemic under the circumstances. Teaching has been maintained even though the strain on students and teachers has been great. Research and postgraduate education have also continued. In the continued work, it will be important to try to put the Swedish experience in an international perspective and to begin to investigate - as far as possible - the long-term effects that the pandemic will have on the activities at universities.

For more information (in Swedish)