Photo by Rachel Cook. External link.
The Nordic Young Academies express profound concern regarding the current state of Nordic Research Policies, characterized by a growing influence of political entities and the reduction of crucial funding for significant research domains.
Joint Statement from the Nordic Young Academies: Sveriges Unga Akademi (Sweden), Akademiet for Yngre Forskere (Norway), Det Unge Akademi (Denmark) and Nuorten Tiedeakatemia (Finland)
The Swedish Government External link.’s sudden and unanticipated decision, made on June 22nd, states that the Swedish Research Council will no longer fund grants in development research. The decision will have a major negative impact on the research community in Sweden, and it is in direct contradiction with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 Agenda, to which the Swedish Research Council has committed itself.
The drastic decision by the Swedish Government, together with its criticized decision to shorten the appointment times for the university boards External link., is another example of the increased political control of research, which we have seen in the Nordic countries in recent times. In Sweden, the government motivates the decisions by national security concerns or by the raging war in Ukraine. However, the specific reasons remain largely unexplained. These decisions, however motivated, restrict academic freedom
In Norway, the government has swiftly and dramatically reduced the staff of the Norwegian Research Council, and important funding sources have been in jeopardy. In addition, the Norwegian government has proposed new legislation that undermines and threatens the autonomy of the higher education and research institutions.
Recently, Denmark has seen threats to academic freedom from members of Parliament, culminating in June 2021 when Danish politicians adopted a declaration External link. that aimed to combat ‘excessive activism in certain humanities and social science research environments’.
In Finland, there has been increasing emphasis on politically supervised, so-called strategic research funding at the expense of the Universities’ basic funding and researcher-driven basic research.
The Nordic Young Academies are concerned with this development, especially since young researchers are the ones who bear the greatest toll for these dramatic changes governmental policies.
A free academy is one of the four pillars of a democratic society, together with a free press, a free justice system and a free civil society. Supporting academic freedom, including institutional autonomy, should thus be in the best interest of our governments.
During these times of numerous regional and international challenges, research serves as a crucial tool to meet these challenges. This requires enthusiastic support from our governments, not the opposite.
On behalf of the Nordic Young Academies
Ronnie Berntsson and Sofia Lodén – Chair and Co-Chair of Sveriges Unga Akademi
Nils Hallvard Korsvoll and Marte C.W. Solheim – Chair and Co-Chair of Akademiet for Yngre Forskere
Rune Busk Damgaard and Birgitte Beck Pristed – Chair and Co-Chair of Det Unge Akademi
Olli-Ville Laukkanen and Samuli Junttila – Chair and Co-Chair of Nuorten Tiedeakatemia