Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS)

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Key contacts

Dr Kenneth Abrahamsson (Programme Director)

Other contacts:

Ms Kerstin Carsjö, research secretary for public health studies (including ageing). Additional persons for particular aspects will be Ms Ulla Wallin, research secretary on labour market studies and Ms Solweig Rönström (Head of Communications Department).


Established in 2001 through a merger of the Swedish Council for Social Research and the Swedish Council for Work Life Research, the Council's mission is to promote the accumulation of knowledge in matters relating to working life and the understanding of social conditions and processes. This is achieved through the promotion and support of basic and applied research, the identification of important research needs, through dialogue, dissemination of information and transfer of knowledge and the promotion of cooperation between researchers both nationally and internationally. The Council's primary support for research comes via project grants. Proposals are submitted by researchers and assessed through a peer review process. To stimulate research within specific areas the Council may award longer period grants to research programmes at academic departments of excellence. The research budget for 2004 was SKr302 million; approx. €31 million. Research covers the following: chemical and physical hazards at work including electromagnetic fields; stress, work and health; work organisation; labour market issues; public health and health services; international migration and ethnic relations, social policy and social insurance, social welfare, family and children; ageing and the elderly; disability; alcohol and drug abuse.

Of particular interest is multidisciplinary research and research which addresses topics relating to equality between the sexes. The Council develops a strategic approach to research funding through the development of specific funding programmes. It is one of the key funders of ageing research in Sweden. The Swedish government has instructed FAS to have a national co-ordinating responsibility for research on ageing and the elderly in society. This co-ordinating function comprises the need for interaction and collaboration between other public or private research financers, the co-ordination of ongoing research as well as developing better links between researchers, development activities and local practices. FAS co-ordinating mission also includes the need for developing international collaboration.

During the year 2004, FAS support to ageing research was 40 MSEK including 36 projects of various size and length. There were ten other financers investing around 30 MSEK for 47 projects. FAS funds strategic programmes on ageing research through the following routes:

  • Ageing Research Centre, (ARC, Karolinska Institute/Stockholm University). Its focus is on geriatric medicine (in particular Alzheimer's disease), psychology and memory and, finally, social gerontology.

  • 'National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL)' (University of Linköping) Strategic areas of research include; communicative aspects of ageing and elderly citizens, activity structure and everyday life of elderly persons, life transition studies and aspects of culture, economy and politics.

Ageing research programmes funded by FAS include: comparative studies of ageing, welfare structures and care, ageing and care of the aged in local contexts, environmental factors in health promotion, the aged and the economy, development of diversity and inequalities among the oldest and cognitive and social function in old age. The research projects cover a wide field of issues, e.g., caring structures for old people, ageing and memory, ageing and labour market activities, early life conditions, social mobility and longevity as well as economic analyses of cost-sharing for ageing support initiatives.