What Shapes Research Policy at the Local Government Level?

Bo Persson


Research policy in Sweden - and especially financial support for universities - has customarily been mainly the business of the state, so it has not figured clearly within the scope of local self-government. However, Swedish municipalities have increased their focus on research policy and have become more active as funders of research and development during the past two decades. Because severel circumstances indicate that local government research funding activities can encounter challenges that differ from those of national funding organizations, it is important to examine the role of municipalities as research-funding organizations critically and consider how local policy conditions, national intitutional frameworks and policies shapes this role. In this article, I analyse the establishment of a research fund to allocate grants to research projects in the Swedish Municipality of Norrköping. By identifying crucial phases, tensions and problems in the process of establishing the fund, the article shows that the process was strongly anchored in the needs of local policy interets and coalitions, but that it was also shaped by the key actors' interpretations of national legal frameworks and policies about the municipalities' scope of action in this area. Furthermore, the study shows that while the state appears to have been generally anxious to encourage more research investment by municipalities, the municipalities may still be somewhat uncertain about their role in this area.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413