Umeå University’s work with Profile Areas

Umeå University has initiated a process to identify profile areas, with the dual purpose of preparing for a coming national funding model based on profile areas, and of further developing Umeå University’s strategic work to enhance the quality and competitiveness of research.

In focus

Three prioritised research areas appointed (June 7, 2023)

An update on the University's profile areas (The management blog, 
February 17,2023)

Can assigning profile areas strengthen research and education? (The management blog, Sep 9)

Four thematic discussions have been conducted within the work on profile areas (June 20, 2022)

The work to identify profile areas in research takes the next step (March 14, 2022)

The work in short

The work includes identifying candidates for a first call within the new national model and support the applications, as well as developing forms for Umeå University's long-term strategic work regarding its research profile.

The Vice-Chancellor has appointed Senior Professor Marianne Sommarin, previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor for research, to coordinate Umeå University's work with profile areas. The Strategic Council for Research (FOSTRA) has appointed a working group under the coordinator, with representatives from the faculties, the School of Education and the Student Unions.

Working group

Gregory Neely
Jörgen Johansson
Maria Fällman
Maria Lindgren Leavenworth
Marie Wiberg
Ola Lindberg

Per Axelsson
Per-Olof Erixon
Thomas Olofsson
Åsa Strand
Erik Steinvall (doctoral student)
Vacant (student)
Vacant (School of Education)


The Swedish government presented a new model for quality-based resource allocation in its latest Research Bill. The new model is to replace the present indicator-based model for allocation of part of the direct research funding to universities (block grants).

The model is based on the universities themselves defining profile areas, which are then subject to peer review before the Government's budget proposal. Profile areas should be of strategic importance to the university and of high research quality. Universities' applications could include both established profile areas and areas under development.

Major research funding bodies are tasked with further developing the model

The Swedish Research Council and the other major research funding bodies were tasked to outlined how the model could work, and presented their proposal in a report in June 2021 (Kvalitetsbaserad resursfördelning, VR Dnr 1.1.1-2021-00800). According to the proposal, a university or university college would be able to apply for up to five profile areas, depending on the university's size, with an allocation of SEK 5–20 million per year and profile area.

In January 2022, the funding bodies were given a new task to further develop the model, with a view to being able to introduce the new model in 2024. Focus is on how the application and review processes should be designed and carried out. The remit does not include amounts or terms for resource allocation; instead, the Government refers to the upcoming Research Bill (expected in 2024) for those details.

The report was presented 1 June 2022.


Three proposed assessment criteria in the model

The research funders' proposal from June 2021 contains a proposal for three assessment criteria, which is also used as a guide in Umeå University's preparatory work. Exactly how the assessment criteria will finally be formulated and weighted against each other in the national model is not yet known.

  1. Strategic profile and conditions for quality development
  2.  Scientific quality and
  3. Quality of external engagement (samverkan).


Support to coordinator
Johanna Blomström, Planning Office

Sara Rambe