Sida and the Swedish Research Council are the main funders of R&D for global health

In 2016, Sweden provided US$15 million for research and development (R&D) on poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs), referred to as ‘global health R&D’ in this profile. This makes it the twelfth-largest donor in absolute amount, and the fourth-largest in proportion to the size of its economy. Funding has increased again in 2016, after having remained at a low level between 2013 and 2015.

Strategic orientations of Sweden’s research cooperation are set in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ 2015-2019 ‘Strategy for Research Cooperation and Research in Development Cooperation’. The strategy has both national and global components: It contributes both to high-quality research that is of relevance to poverty reduction and sustainable development within Sweden, as well as to strengthened research capacities in low-income countries and regions.

Funding is channeled through two institutions: the Swedish development agency, Sida, and the Swedish Research Council.

  • Sida has traditionally been a large funder of global health R&D. It sources its funding from its ‘research cooperation’ budget line, which amounted to SEK920 million in 2018 (US$107 million). In 2016, the majority of funding from Sida for global health R&D (US$4 million, or 79%) was disbursed to the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), a European initiative that focuses on R&D for drugs, vaccines, microbicides and diagnostics against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other poverty-related diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. The remaining 21% (US$1 million) went to the INDEPTH Network, a global network working on health and demographic surveillance systems currently based in Ghana.
  • The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) has provided a rather stable US$5 to 7 million to global health R&D since 2010. In 2016, funding reached US$9 million, 66% of which went to HIV/AIDS research. Of the remaining, Sweden’s own Karolinska Institute, by far the largest implementer of Swedish global health R&D funding, was allocated US$2 million. The Swedish Research Council funding for global health R&D focuses primarily on tuberculosis, malaria, diarrheal diseases, and HIV/AIDS.

Strategic orientations are defined by the MFA; Sida and the Research Council channel most of the funding

Within the MFA, the Department for International Development Cooperation establishes the strategies for Sweden’s international research cooperation. With regards to implementation, Sida’s Research Council reviews Sida’s proposals for cooperation. The ‘Unit for Research Cooperation’ at the ‘Department for Partnerships and Cooperation’ within Sida manages the funds. Cooperation through the Swedish Research Council is led by the Committee for Development Research.