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  • Cited by 9
  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: August 2010

5 - Universities, research, and the transformation of the State in Sweden


Introduction: research and development in present-day Sweden

This chapter deals with the transformation of university-based research in a single country, Sweden. It begins with a general introduction followed by a review of the four phases of the history of the university system. Each of the phases is then dealt with in greater detail.

The focus, however, is on the post-World War II era, especially the recent decades when the universities turned into institutions for mass higher education, becoming part of a larger national system that includes regional vocational schools and colleges. The end result was a country-wide unitary system under a National Board of Universities and Colleges controlled by the State. Its head was the Chancellor of what might be called the ‘University of Sweden’, which is composed of local campuses. The heads of the local universities and colleges are called Rectors, and they also possess the status of Vice Chancellors in the administratively unified national system. Today there are six universities, thirteen specialised institutions of higher education and fifteen university colleges. The latter are of rather recent date. Most of them derive from 1977 when one of a series of university reforms was implemented. Some of them are specialised around particular lines of higher vocational studies which the government and Parliament (the Riksdag) have decided to place in various regions in the country, often as a stimulus to regional development. Research at the regional colleges is limited, often not being much more than an accumulation of projects connected to the core of the vocational curriculum.