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Aiding science? Past and present discourses of Swedish research aid policy.
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, CSPR.
2016 (English)In: Panel 2: Where are we now? The past and the future of Swedish development research collaboration (conveners: David Nilsson and Sverker Sörlin), 2016Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of research aid is to contribute to development in different ways through the use of research. Sarec (the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries) was one of the pioneers within state research aid, and existed between 1975 and 2008. One of the central questions asked in my dissertation on Sarec’s policy history is how the view of the relationship between research and development has changed over time. One of the conclusions is that there are two main policy discourses that can be traced throughout the entire period studied. They share the starting point that modern science can contribute to development and that national research capacity is an important component in this. The localist discourse represents a more multifaceted view of how research can contribute to development, and what that development consist of. It is more explicitly anti-colonialist and to a greater degree prioritizes the local context as basis for decisions regarding support. The universalist discourse places less emphasis on where knowledge is produced since it can be used anywhere, as long as the right structures and priorities are in place. This historical perspective will be complemented with reflections on current developments in Swedish science aid policy, focusing on the issue of how science aid can contribute to the sustainable development goals and transitions to sustainability (work in progress).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-130793OAI: diva2:955001
Development Research Conference 2016: Global visions and local practices, Stockholm, Sweden, August 22-24, 2016.

Panel information: 

Swedish research aid was established in the early 1970s and has all along had a strong focus on capacity building. The growth of modern scientific institutions in many developing countries has been much faster than even very optimistic estimates in the latter decades of the 20th century. Billions of people now live in countries that one or two generations ago were considered fundamentally lacking, but today expand very rapidly their research capacity, e.g. India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, Mexico. According to UNESCO, the first half of the 21st century will see new universities and a growth of the number of students that will by far outpace any period in the past. Much of this development is predicted to occur in former aid recipient countries.

World development is now understood as much a challenge for the richest nations, which must change drastically if global and sustainable development goals should be met. This is a mutual interest of North and South, rich and poor. How does this alter the scene for development research in the post-2015 world?  It now becomes interesting to ask questions about the long-term direction of Swedish research aid and the thinking behind it at different moments in time. What rationale has guided Swedish research aid? How has decision-makers positioned research aid in the broader global policy and research agenda? And how should we today look at development research in the context of global transformation towards sustainability?

An open, critical, and explorative discussion in the borderland of knowledge production and global development is at the heart of this panel. We invite short paper presentations on Swedish development research in the past and future to inform a moderated round-table conversation. We welcome researchers, practitioners, development policy-makers and anyone who is curious about what development research could look like in 2030 and beyond.

Available from: 2016-08-24 Created: 2016-08-24 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved

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Brodén Gyberg, Veronica
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Tema Environmental ChangeFaculty of Arts and SciencesCentre for Climate Science and Policy Research, CSPR

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