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The Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research has approved 3.5 million SEK in funding for a three-year research project focusing on empowerment processes for young adults with intellectual disabilities. In addition, the Swedish government has allotted 2.5 million SEK in additional funding to our research projects and programmes in 2014.
Studying the empowerment of a marginalised group
The Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research recently granted Magnus Tideman, Professor of Disability Studies at our institution, and the research team he leads, 3.5 million SEK to fund a research project studying empowerment processes in young adults with intellectual disabilities. Individuals with intellectual disabilities have traditionally been dependent on social services for support including education and housing, had low confidence in their own abilities and had little opportunity to assert themselves in their communities.
“This is an exciting and important research project. Over the past 15-20 years this marginalised group has begun to reject society’s view of individuals with intellectual disabilities,” says Magnus Tideman. “By organising themselves, they aim to take greater control of their own lives and influence their communities to be more tolerant and inclusive.”
The project focuses on studying, describing and analysing the new, self-organising empowerment processes within Sweden in terms of their organisation, significance to the participants and impact on local communities and society at large. The project includes collaboration with Malmö University, and cooperation across borders with research colleagues from countries including the UK and Australia.
National government prioritises research and innovation
The approximately 2.5 million SEK in new funding support from the Swedish government in 2014 represent a 5% increase from our 2013 budget of approximately 54 million SEK. The new funds are a part of a major government initiative to increase support of research and innovation at Swedish higher education institutions. By 2016, the total nationwide government allotment to Swedish higher education institutions for research projects and programmes will increase by 900 million SEK. It is estimated that an additional circa 1 million SEK in new funding will be allotted to our research projects and programmes in 2016.
“We are very pleased with this announcement, especially in that our own institution’s strategy of focusing on innovation is perfectly in line with the national government’s new initiative to increase support for research and innovation,” said Vice-Chancellor Mikael Alexandersson.
The initiative is part of a broader national innovation strategy, put forward by the Swedish government to develop Sweden as a world-class innovation climate by 2020.
Text: NATHALIE SJÖGREN TÖRHAGEN/LAUREL WILLIAMS