The work to identify profile areas in research takes the next step

14 March 2022

As of the end of February, some twenty proposals have been submitted to Umeå University's internal process for identifying profile areas in research. A major effort is now underway based on these proposals.

Umeå University's process for identifying profile areas in research is both about preparing for a new national resource allocation model, and about developing the University's strategic work to strengthen the quality and competitiveness of research in the long term. As part of the process, the faculties, Umeå School of Education, or other constellations of researchers have been able to submit proposals for possible profile areas. Some twenty proposals were received.

Marianne Sommarin, Senior Professor and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Umeå University

Photo: Mattias Pettersson

"I am very thankful for all the submitted proposals and for the impressive work that has been done," says Marianne Sommarin, Senior Professor and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Umeå University, who has been assigned with the task for coordinating the work on research profile areas.

"The proposals demonstrate the University's breadth, areas of strength, vision for the future and a willingness to work across subject and faculty boundaries. The sheer number of proposals received is very gratifying," continues Marianne Sommarin.

Intensive work is now underway to analyse and discuss the proposals received. This involves grouping the proposals and finding common themes, analysing the quality and potential of the environments described, but also broadening both discussion and analysis beyond the specific proposals with a view to the University's strategic development. Marianne Sommarin stresses that it is not a matter of scrutinizing through the proposals, but rather a starting point.

"The received proposals have been conceived in slightly different ways, and it will be an iterative process in which people and environments that were not included in the submitted proposals may also be involved in different ways", says Marianne Sommarin. "Of course, not all of them will be included in an initial application from Umeå University in a national allocation model, but all of them can and should be considered in the continued research strategy work!"

As for the future national allocation model, most things are still uncertain. The research funding agencies will not submit their proposal on the detailed process for applications until June. However, this does not include the financial conditions, on which more information may only be available in connection with the Government's budget proposal in September.

"In the research bill, it was stated that approximately SEK 500 million would initially be allocated in the model. Given that there are 27 universities in the model, this is a relatively small amount of funding in relation to the University's total research funding (around SEK 1.4 billion in 2021, plus another billion or so in grant and commission revenue). Umeå University will certainly try to do as well as possible in a new national allocation model, but in the overall context the most important thing is how we can strengthen our research overall and attract funding from several different sources," says Marianne Sommarin.

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