Strategic Research Areas (SRA)
KTH plays a leading role in five national Strategic Research Areas (SRAs) – a Swedish government initiative that has been ongoing since 2010.
A Swedish government resolution in 2009 led to an initiative focusing on Strategic Research Areas, or SRAs, aimed at establishing the best foundation for generating world-leading research. It was based on recommendations from the Swedish Research Council, FAS, Formas, Vinnova, and the Swedish Energy Agency. KTH is participating in ten out of 20 highlighted strategic areas, and is the coordinator for five of them:
- IT and mobile communication technology
- Molecular life sciences
Strategic Research Areas (SRAs)
Since 2010, KTH has been responsible for five SRAs. KTH’s Research Support Office (RSO) creates the conditions for each SRA to be developed in the best possible way, and to enable KTH to benefit from the investment at a strategic level. RSO assists by providing advice, coordinating evaluations, providing structures for knowledge transfer, as well as dealing with ongoing matters.
An SRA shall contribute to excellent scientific research that is of strategic importance for Sweden as a knowledge nation and enables the emergence of new areas of competence areas where Sweden excels with solid research environments and, ultimately, new jobs. This can be accomplished for example through:
- The creation of conditions for robust research environments of the future.
- Graduation of cutting-edge expertise for future needs.
- The inception of collaborations and start-ups that would not otherwise have come into being.
- External communication on frontier research, increasing public interest and the societal impact of research.
In order to lay the best foundation for the above, KTH’s management has decided that each SRA should prepare a strategic operational plan for the period, to be approved by KTH’s President. Each SRA should also prepare an outcome report every two years for follow-up of the strategic operational plan. The next outcome report will be produced in 2023.
The strategic plan must clearly state how the activities meet the three evaluation criteria that formed the basis for the government’s prioritisation of the Strategic Research Areas:
- Research that, in the long term, has the potential to be of the highest international quality.
- Research that can contribute to significant societal needs and solve critical societal problems.
- Research in areas relevant to Swedish industry.
Continuous evaluation of SRAs creates a good basis for KTH’s management to provide strategic support to the management function at each SRA, which benefits quality, impact and excellence. The evaluation must follow the template provided by RSO. The template is based on the external evaluation carried out by the Swedish Research Council in 2015, with the following five core questions:
- How has the research been planned and steered (‘strategic management’)?
- What are the quality, results and effects of the research?
- What has been the strategic significance of the initiative for society and for the business sector?
- What is the state of collaboration between universities and with other stakeholders?
- What is the state of the link between the strategic research and education?