Press Release from Umeå University

High-quality leads to proposed funding boost for Umeå University

[2012-09-21] The high-quality of education at Umeå University has resulted in an increased funding proposal by the recent government budget proposition. The proposal includes several positive suggestions – including that Umeå University shall have a national responsibility for the Sami language.

“Other university vice-chancellors and I are impressed with the level of increase that the government is now proposing,” says Lena Gustafsson. “In the past year they have indicated that there would not be any significant increase. We are now seeing a mobilisation instead, particularly on research, but also on higher education.

Quality leads to government funding

Umeå University has been successful in this year’s evaluations by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. Therefore, the government is now proposing that Umeå University will receive an additional SEK 9.2 million in 2013.

”This means that Umeå University has been allotted nearly 10 per cent of the quality-based resources distributed in the country, a very high percentage in terms of the educational volume that we have,” says Anders Fällström, deputy vice-chancellor for education.

To date, the National Agency for Higher Education has evaluated only one-fifth of the course and degree programme offerings in the country. These audits show that Umeå University has the highest percentage of courses with very high or high-quality in comparison to other universities. However, it is too early to draw further conclusions about what the overall outcome will demonstrate.

Additional places for courses and programmes

Due to the current economic situation and the continued high demand for education, the government is proposing a temporary investment in higher education for the period 2013-2015. In 2013, SEK 12.5 million in funding has been estimated for Umeå University. In addition, there will be an expansion of important healthcare programmes. Under the proposal, Umeå University will receive twelve new places for dentistry education and ten places for nursing education. However, there will not be any additional school places on this year's proposition. New places in engineering have also been proposed for 2013.

National responsibility for the Sami language

The government wants to invest in teacher education in minority languages. Umeå University is proposed to have a special national responsibility for developing the subject of teaching education in the Sami language. SEK 2 million has been established for this work.

“We are delighted to have been given this responsibility and it fits well within our profile,” says Lena Gustafsson. “We will be inaugurating a new centre for Arctic research this autumn, where the Sami area will have a significant role.

Funding for the humanities and social sciences

In addition, the government is giving a significant boost in quality funding towards the humanities and social sciences. For Umeå University, this means that resources for these programs increase by SEK 32.6 million in 2013.

“The increase is very welcome because it means that we can give students more time with teachers, says Anders Fällström.

No support for inactive students

The government proposes, in keeping with last year's budget, that the universities should no longer be reimbursed for students who do not participate actively in their studies. For Umeå University's part, this is a decrease of SEK 23 million. Similarly, universities will no longer receive any compensation for so-called third-country students because they now pay tuition fees. It reduces Umeå University appropriations by SEK 18.5 million.

“These cutbacks are something we have worked with and which we can handle,” said Lena Gustafsson.

The released money is then returned to the university in the form of the new investments Umeå University can partially receive for future use.

Strong position in designated areas

“We are currently realising some examples of the interesting initiatives by Umeå University,” continues Lena Gustafsson. “The government's proposals include an increase of SEL 450 million to the Swedish Research Council grant for 2013, of which a significant part will be devoted to the areas of life sciences. Umeå University has a strong international position in designated areas such as ageing and health, infections and antibiotics, as well as records research. We should have very good opportunities to take part of these efforts.”

She also welcomes the government's rather large investment towards the international recruitment of excellent researchers and scientists, which is of great importance for the development of Swedish research.

For further information, please contact:

Lena Gustafsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University
Phone: +46 (0)73-079 42 91

Anders Fällström, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Education, Umeå University
Phone: +46 (0)70-493 85 27

Translation by: David Meyers

Editor: Karin Wikman

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