The national research programme on oceans and water

The national research programme on oceans and water 2021–2030 will create conditions for a strategic and long-term approach through calls for proposals and other activities. By adopting a holistic view on water, the programme will facilitate close collaboration between researchers and stakeholders and bring together funding organisations in the field of water research.

Our assignment

On 1 September 2021, Formas was assigned by the Swedish government to form a national research programme on oceans and water. Funding for ocean and water related research had until then been offered by different funding organisations without recurring strategic coordination. The topics where not sufficiently covered by the existing national research programmes.

The programme is intended to contribute to the work of addressing different challenges related to oceans and water. It will act as a complement to the other national research programmes, including the programmes on climate, food and sustainable spatial planning. It will also enable synergies with a number of international initiatives in which Sweden takes part, including the EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe External link. and the UN decade of ocean science for sustainable development External link..

The programme runs for ten years and stretches until the end of 2030. It has a budget of SEK 10 million in 2021, SEK 60 million in 2022 and SEK 70 million in 2023 and 2024.

The programme’s strategic research agenda

Calls for proposals and other activities that are initiated as part of the programme originate from the priorities laid out in the programme’s strategic research agenda. Healthy oceans and water are a prerequisite for resilient ecosystems all around the world and for a sustainable development of human societies. Hence a large number of important issues lie within the programme scope. The strategic agenda consolidates these issues into three distinct themes and several sub-themes. Each theme is further described in the agenda.

Theme 1: Strengthen the resilience of aquatic ecosystems

  • Complex and dynamic ecosystems
  • Effective environmental monitoring
  • Science-based measures

Theme 2: Develop sustainable water resource management

  • Our common water resource
  • Water resource management in a changing climate
  • The important groundwater

Theme 3: Boost society’s ability to take action for sustainable oceans and water

  • Governance with a holistic approach
  • Community engagement and involvement
  • Blue innovation

The strategic research agenda has been developed with the support of a broad set of stakeholders, including researchers from different universities and research institutes and representatives from different sectoral organisations and interest groups. The final version of the agenda was formally approved by Formas’ Scientific Council External link..

Current and future calls

Calls for research funding within the scope of the programme are initiated on a rolling basis. Due to the complexity of water-related issues and their many links to a range of societal challenges, Formas often initiates joint calls between the national research programme on oceans and water, and other national research programmes External link..

Other activities

In addition to funding calls, various activities and events are initiated within the programme to raise attention to ocean and water-related issues and to contribute to a continued dialogue about knowledge gaps and research needs in these areas.

You find the events in Formas’ calendar (in Swedish and English).

Event in Swedish on February 7:

Programme committee

The national research programme is supported by a committee consisting of representatives from Swedish research funding organisations and other stakeholders who provide key input on shaping research funding. The committee convenes on a regular basis and cooperates at a strategic level. It supports Formas in the implementation of the strategic research agenda. The committee is led by an independent chairperson.

  • Lena Söderberg (chairperson)
  • Therese Bejgarn, Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU)
  • Susanne Eriksson, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM)
  • Elin Andersen, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket)
  • Sven Hunhammar, Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket)
  • Frida Villemoes, Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten)
  • Johan Köhler, Swedish National Space Agency (Rymdstyrelsen)
  • Cecilia Lund, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (Polarforskningssekretariatet)
  • Lisa Almesjö, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra)
  • Lars Tranvik, Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)
  • John Tumpane, Formas

Formas has established a working group consisting of representatives from the organisations represented in the programme committee as well as other relevant government agencies and stakeholders. The working group collaborates at an operational level.

Contact Formas

Please contact us if you want to know more about the national research programme on oceans and water.

Updated:27 November 2023
Page manager: John Tumpane