Knowledge for a climate transformation

Reducing human activities’ impact on climate change demands a transformation of society, in Sweden and around the world. Efforts are likewise needed to assess the effects of climate change and strengthen society’s adaptation to a changing climate. Research in a variety of fields, as well as interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research and innovation, are therefore needed to meet the challenges of climate change and contribute to a sustainable development.

Formas has been tasked with leading the Swedish National Research Programme on Climate in collaboration with other research funders and stakeholders. The programme’s initiatives are based on a strategic research agenda External link. and aims to be beneficial for society and its climate transformation.

The programme pursues collaboration between Swedish funders of climate research and provides a link between national and international research.

Initiated in 2017, the programme runs for ten years. As of 2021, the programme has an annual budget of about 23 million euros.

Programme objectives

The national research programmes are an initiative of the Swedish government for meeting prioritised societal challenges. The Swedish National Research Programme on Climate aims to provide knowledge for the following:

  • A profound transformation of society that addresses climate challenges
  • A rapid reduction in emissions to net zero and, in the long term, negative emissions
  • Climate change adaptation with increased robustness and reduced vulnerability to the impacts of climate change
  • Climate actions undertaken in line with long-term sustainable development where no one is left behind

The programme also aims to boost the impact of research results in society, strengthen gender equality, and enhance the linkages between research and higher education. The programme promotes high-quality and innovative research that often, but not always, are characterised by interdisciplinarity and cross-sectoral collaboration. All in all, the programme intends to enhance challenge driven research that advances societies’ transformation towards sustainable development.

Programme themes

The programme has identified six themes requiring more knowledge in order to meet the climate challenges:

  • Sustainable innovations supporting climate actions
  • System-integrated knowledge of climate, ecosystems and society
  • Production and consumption within climate boundaries
  • Governance enabling the achievement of the climate goals
  • Economic and financial drivers for a climate transformation
  • A democratic and just climate transformation

In addition, the programme has identified four cross-cutting perspectives, which provide critical entry points to the themes above. The cross-cutting perspectives are:

  • international climate actions
  • digitalisation
  • synergies and goal conflicts in the sustainable development agenda
  • equality, equity and diversity

Read more about these themes and perspectives in the second updated version of the programme’s strategic research agenda, to be published in the autumn 2021. Read the first version of the agenda here.

Ongoing and upcoming calls

More calls will open in 2022 at

Planned and implemented activities

Funded projects

Since the programme began in 2017, many different types of projects have been funded. Most of them are research-oriented, but the programme also funds research syntheses and projects oriented more towards applied research. Common to all projects is that they should contribute knowledge or solutions that are useful to different stakeholders in society. The programme also funds projects enabling increased mobility between academia and other sectors.

For more information about all funded research and innovation projects, consult the Swecris database External link..

About the programme

Programme committee and working group

Formas has established a national programme committee with representatives from the following climate research funders in Sweden: Energimyndigheten, Formas, Forte, Hav- och vattenmyndigheten, Mistra, Naturvårdsverket, Polarforskningssekretariatet, Sida, Vetenskapsrådet and Vinnova. The committee assists Formas with implementing and regularly updating the strategic research agenda on which the national climate research programme is based. The committee is headed by an independent chair.



  • TBD


  • Energimyndigheten (Swedish Energy Agency): Rémy Kolessar, Head of Department of Research and Innovation
  • Formas: John Tumpane, Head of Department of Environmental Sciences
  • Forte: Olle Lundberg, Secretary General
  • Havs- och vattenmyndigheten (Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management): Thomas Klein, Head of Department of Environmental Analysis
  • Mistra: Linda Bell, Programme Manager
  • Naturvårdsverket (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency): Stefan Nyström, Head of Department for Climate Change
  • Polarforskningssekretariatet (Swedish Polar Research Secretariat): Katarina Gårdfeldt, Director-General
  • Rymdstyrelsen (Swedish Space Agency): Kristine Dannenberg, Head of Research
  • Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency): Kerstin Jonsson Cissé, Head of Unit for Research Cooperation
  • Vetenskapsrådet (Swedish Research Council): Mattias Marklund, Secretary General for Natural and Engineering Sciences
  • Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency): Jonas Brändström, Head of International Cooperation Division

Working group

Formas also has a working group with representatives from most of the public authorities who serve on the programme committee. The group interacts at an operational level.

Programme coordinators and contact persons

A strategic research agenda

The Formas Research Council has been tasked with developing a strategic research agenda for the national research programme on climate, Research for meeting the challenges of climate.

A first version of the strategic research agenda on climate (2018) is available for download; a revised version will be completed in 2021. The agenda is based on Formas’ own analyses and surveys, on the results of a workshop with stakeholders and public authorities, and on dialogue with the research funders who are part of the programme committee.

Updated:2 December 2021
Page manager: Anna Kaijser