Higher education & research in Sweden
Sweden is one of the world’s most innovative and research-intensive nations. Institutions like Lund University, Karolinska Institutet and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) place high in European rankings, and the research carried out there has contributed to the global success of Sweden’s many high-tech companies.
All Swedish university students are entitled to financial assistance, partly in the form of a grant and partly as a loan. The rate at which they pay it back depends on their income when they start working. Tuition fees are fully subsidized for students from Sweden, the EU/EEA area, and Switzerland. Students from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland pay tuition fees but scholarship programs that cover tuition and living costs are available for a number of non-EU countries.
Nearly four percent of Sweden’s GDP goes towards research and development, one of the highest rates in the world. As a result, Sweden has a leading position in areas like environmental technology, cancer research and nanotechnology. The bulk of the research taking place in Sweden — about 75 percent — is financed by companies. These investments have helped companies including Ericsson, Sandvik and the Volvo Group become leaders in their fields.
The government continues to invest in educational research and has earmarked SEK 110 billion for 2009-2012 to help fund the next generation of technological and scientific breakthroughs.
Swedish higher education is characterised by students taking responsibility for their own studies, and the relaxed and informal relationship with teachers. In terms of research, Sweden aims to be one of the most R&D-intensive countries in the world.
The Nobel Prize is considered the most prestigious award in the world. Prize-winning discoveries include X-rays, radioactivity and penicillin. Peace Laureates include Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. Nobel Laureates in Literature, including Rudyard Kipling and Doris Lessing, have thrilled readers with works such as The Jungle Book and The Grass is Singing.