Mobilising for research on higher education

26 April 2018

Research on higher education after the upper-secondary level is neglected relative to the importance of higher education in today’s society. This picture shows a graduation ceremony.

Remarkably little research is conducted on higher education in Sweden, but a large share of existing research on the subject is at Uppsala University. Through a research network for research on higher education, researchers are now mobilising to develop this research environment.

In the last half-century, higher education following the upper-secondary level has significantly expanded in Sweden and internationally. The strategic importance of the sector for society has increased sharply.

“Given the amount of resources and the importance of higher education in society, it is surprising how little Swedish research is conducted on the sector,” says Mikael Börjesson, professor of sociology of education and research leader for the network “Higher education as an object of research”.

The research network was started in spring 2017 to collect and further develop research on higher education at Uppsala University. They received funding to build up the network from the Disciplinary Domain Board for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

“Uppsala University has a large share of Swedish research on higher education and it can be found in several different subjects. By merging the existing research and collaborating between different subjects via the research network, we can strengthen ideas and outcomes very efficiently. The goal is to become an international node in research on higher education.”

Some examples of research areas include the organisation of higher education in political science and business administration, social structures in the sociology of education, the university as a philosophical idea and the history of science and ideas.

On 23 May, the research network will hold a Swedish national conference entitled “‘World-class’ higher education - Disciplines, professions, departments” with the purpose of providing an overview of the current research status of higher education in Sweden.


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