Published 22 December 2017

International scanning of research programmes that focus on societal challenges

National research programmes that focus on grand societal challenges are a relatively new phenomenon in Sweden. Based on an international case study, this report provides experiences and conclusions about factors to consider in the design of such programmes.

National research programmes that focus on grand societal challenges are a relatively new phenomenon in Sweden. They differ from “traditional” programmes in certain respects:

  • They are funded over a ten-year period and are more ambitious in scope
  • They aim to achieve an active and strategic overall coordination of research funding and other activities in Sweden, as well as creating synergies between different actors
  • Rather than focusing on creating a project portfolio in line with programme objectives (as in the case of “traditional” research programmes), they also aim to function as a platform for new and ongoing research and to be a link to international programmes and EU Joint Programming Initiatives
  • They aim to contribute to increased impact in society in terms of development, knowledge building, evidence-based policies and management, and ultimately to contribute to national policy goals.

The present study describes and analyses the process and experience of working with national research programmes in selected countries. These case studies form the basis of a report describing good experiences, with conclusions about important factors to consider in the design and implementation of such national research programmes.

Case studies of the following five programmes have been carried out:

Denmark

Grand challenges

United Kingdom

Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia

Canada

NRC-CNRC, Arctic program

Finland

Strategic Research Council (SRC), focus on Climate Neutral Finland

EU

JPI, focus on climate change

Title
International scanning of research programmes that focus on societal challenges

Serial number
PM 2017:18

Reference number
2017/121

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