BECC – a Strategic Research Area (SRA)
The Government bill on research and innovation of 2008 proposed an increased support for research of strategic value to the society. 24 research areas were considered strategic for Swedish competitiveness and growth. The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, VR), the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FORTE, earlier called FAS), the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning (Formas), the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten), and the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) were commissioned to organize, review and recommend the allocation of funds to Swedish universities in 20 of these research areas.
The Government followed the agencies' recommendations and decided to allocate research funding. 43 Strategic Research Area environments, in 20 research areas, were granted financing from 2010. Three criteria for becoming an SRA were of special importance:
- research that, in the long term, has the prerequisites to be of the highest international quality,
- research that can contribute towards fulfilling major needs and solving important problems in society, and
- research in areas that have a connection with the Swedish business sector.
Evaluation of the SRAs
After 2014 the Strategic Research Areas were evaluated. Below you can find the short evaluation statment of BECC, which was very positive:
- Performance: Excellent/good
- Strategy: Excellent/good
- Added value: Good
“This is an SRA which focus on the effects of climate change on natural resources, ecosystem services and biodiversity that utilises genuine collaboration between LU (78%) and University of Gothenburg (22%). The number and quality of their publications is impressive, with a high percentage of their papers in the top 10% and top 1% most cited papers in the World of Science. These papers address the needs of society in Sweden and internationally. The SRA funding has been used to create a common research environment that can contribute to important research questions. The SRA has a board that supports their development by ensuring a strategic allocation of the funding. There is also a stakeholder panel which oversees and guide the research programme and a communication office that has helped facilitate the translation of the science for the public.
There are excellent networks established with agriculturalists and foresters, science and technology in the industry, government policymakers and relevant international bodies. There is a good integration of the research with education at Masters, PhD and Post-doctoral levels and a joint graduate training programme. The programme is well organized with a strong strategy and solid management framework and infrastructure for effective development.”
Given the positive feedback, BECC was one of the original SRAs that was proposed to recieve continued funding in the Government research bill of 2016.
Increased recognition of SRAs at Lund Univerity - A Strategy for SRAs
Lund University is the coordinator of 8 SRAs and during 2020 a collegium consisting of all coordinators was set up. Moreover, the university now has a Strategy document pointing at the importance of research excellence and long-term goals.
Cooperation with other Strategic Research Areas
BECC cooperates with its sister SRA MERGE, ModElling the Regional and Global Earth System, which also, among others, has a branch at the University of Gothenburg. MERGE performs strategic research on key global and regional Earth System models, focusing on the terrestrial biosphere as a critical climate component, leading to improved local, regional and global climate models with climate/vegetation interactions.
Together BECC and MERGE co-fund the research school ClimBEco, Climate, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing World.
About ClimBEco – cec.lu.se