The University: “Erosion of government funding has gone too far”
One of the issues that Uppsala University is highlighting as a priority in its budget submission to the government is that cost recovery for higher education needs to be improved as soon as possible, having been eroded for a number of years now.
“For several years now, Uppsala University has been raising the issue of how a review is needed of the funding per student received by higher education institutions. We have increased costs for providing education of the expected quality over which we have no control, and these costs have been greater than the increase in funding per student for a long time now. We’ve now reached the end of the road. This erosion has gone too far and it is high time to do something about it,” notes Vice-Chancellor Anders Hagfeldt.
“The investments we have seen over the past few years have always been linked to the number of study places, while funding per student has continuously been eroded. In the end, it becomes impossible to sustain adequate quality.”
Long-term planning conditions needed
In its budget submission, the University begins by stating the importance of giving higher education institutions long-term planning conditions and greater autonomy. Higher education institutions require freedom to act to enable them to take action and evolve based on their specific circumstances and thus help Sweden become a knowledge nation. Autonomy is also fundamental to ensuring their important role as an independent and critically reflective force in society.
In the area of education, the University also highlights the need for higher direct government funding to help with the green transition and the University’s contribution to lifelong learning.
The unrestricted basic appropriations need to be raised
In the area of research, the University highlights aspects such as the urgent need to produce an appropriate model for funding national research infrastructure. Little progress has been made in this regard following the government inquiry conducted in 2021. The University advises against establishing a new general public authority for research infrastructure. On the other hand, such an authority is needed specifically for digital research infrastructure.
“With regard to research, it’s important for the unrestricted basic appropriations to be raised now, as we note that control of research funding has increased over time. However, we need autonomy in order to develop research in the most sensible way based on our conditions, and thus contribute most effectively to developing knowledge and finding solutions to societal challenges.”