Panelists from the top left: Jonas Olofsson, Sudesh Sivarasu, Mia Liinason, Janina Seubert, Alison Gerber and Thashree Marimuthu.

Challenges and possibilities for academic freedom in Sweden and South Africa – SASUF workshop

Researchers from the Young Academy of Sweden and the South African Young Academy of Science shared insights on the conditions for academic freedom in the two contexts.

The workshop was a part of this years' SASUF digital conference. Young Academy of Sweden (YAS) began with a short pitch that highlighted the challenge coming from when a political ethics committee becomes a gatekeeper of which research should be pursued. Furthermore, YAS presented the similar threats posed to the freedoms of journalists, the culture sector and researchers in Sweden, in particular from the far right. These issues are part of a global trend well known by scholars.

The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) expressed the lack of freedom to be seen as an equal scholar, highlighting the global North-global South divide. SAYAS also underlined the need for more transparency, the incentivizing system is not clear, the paths of validation are unclear. The panel concluded that there is plenty of opportunity for further collaborations, to explore what academic freedom means on the ground, and perhaps discover similar solutions to their different challenges. The young academies look forward to meeting again at SASUF at the beginning of 2023, and wishes to thank everybody who joined the workshop!


The purpose of South Africa – Sweden University Forum, SASUF External link., is to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration at both individual and institutional level to strengthen ties in research, education and innovation between Sweden and South Africa.

SASUF 2030 is a transformative project uniting 39 universities from across Sweden and South Africa. Bringing together leading researchers, teachers, students, university leaders and other stakeholders, the project will develop joint solutions to the challenges posed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030.

Young Academy of Sweden
c/o The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Box 50005
SE-104 05 Stockholm

+ 46 (0)8 673 9500

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