Aiding science Swedish research aid policy 1973-2008

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: The purpose of research aid is to contribute to development in different ways through the use of research. Sarec (the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries) was one of the pioneers within state research aid, and existed between 1975 and 2008. This dissertation studies Sarec’s policy from a historical perspective with the help of official documents and interviews with former directors. Discourse theory together with concepts from Science and Technology Studies comprise the theoretical framework of the study. One of the central questions asked is how the view of the relationship between research and development has changed over time. One of the conclusions is that there are two main policy discourses that are established early on and that can be traced throughout the entire period studied. The two discourses share the starting point that modern science can contribute to development and that national research capacity is an important component in this. The localist discourse represents a more multifaceted view of how research can contribute to development, and what that development consist of. It is more explicitly anti-colonialist and to a greater degree prioritizes the local context as basis for decisions regarding support. The universalist discourse places less emphasis on where knowledge is produced since it can be used anywhere, as long as the right structures and priorities are in place. The discourses reflect different views of knowledge and development. Some decades one discourse dominates over the other, and other decades they are more equal.