Wallenberg Foundations grants 2020 – SEK 2.4 billion

Press release
2021-03-09

Funding allocated to research in 2020 totaled almost SEK 2.4 billion. Most of the funding by the Foundations is awarded by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, which focuses on basic research in the fields of medicine, science and technology. But the Wallenberg Foundations also award substantial grants in other fields, including social sciences, humanities, education and archaeology.

The Wallenberg Foundations is the umbrella name for 17 Foundations formed by the Wallenberg family or established in memory of family members.

Out of the total of almost SEK 2.4 billion, the three largest foundations – Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation – awarded research funding of SEK 2.3 billion.

Each year, to provide an overall picture of the funding awarded by the foundations to Swedish research and education, the Wallenberg Foundations publish a list outlining the grants awarded by the three largest Foundations during the preceding year.

“We are very pleased that the Foundations can continue to award funding in the order of SEK 2.4 billion, which is on a par with last year. Unfortunately, we will not be able to continue at this level because corporate dividends during the pandemic in 2020 have been low or in some cases even canceled. Most of the year’s dividends have come from holdings in Investor and FAM. Over the past ten years the Wallenberg Foundations have funded research to the tune of just over SEK 20 billion,” says Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chair of Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

In addition to funding from the three largest Wallenberg Foundations, substantial grants and scholarships are awarded in fields such as jurisprudence, archaeology and art history, along with scholarships for master’s studies abroad.

Grants awarded by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW), Marianne och Marcus Wallenberg Foundation (MMW), and Marcus och Amalia Wallenberg Foundation (MAW):

Covid-19 initiatives

During the year Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation awarded grants totaling SEK 235 million for Covid-19-related initiatives: SEK 100 million to research projects, SEK 20 million for the establishment of biobanks, SEK 60 million for testing, and SEK 55 million for research on the efficacy and function of Covid-19 vaccines. The grants have been administered by SciLifeLab (Science for Life Laboratory). Additionally, the other Wallenberg Foundations have approved funding of almost SEK 20 million for purposes including training in the health and care sector, as well as activities for children and young people in the context of the pandemic.

Strategic initiatives

Time and time again the Foundation awards grants specifically for basic research and competence building, thereby supporting the development of new knowledge and technology capable of furthering Sweden’s long-term development as a center of research and an industrial nation.

The following long-term strategic initiatives are ongoing:

Wallenberg Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems and Software Program, WASP
WASP represents a huge commitment to basic research, postgraduate education and recruitment in the AI, autonomous systems and software development sectors. The research program is intended to contribute to competence building and knowledge development in a large number of areas, in which intelligent vehicles, robots and complex software-intensive systems achieve autonomy in interaction with humans. This knowledge is essential if Swedish research is to keep abreast of developments towards the internet of things, in which more and more systems will also become autonomous. A key part of the program is the establishment of a platform for academic research and education that can interact with Swedish industry. The WASP program will recruit 80–100 research teams to Sweden, and run a graduate school with up to 600 PhD students. Co-funding provided by universities and Swedish industrial companies totals SEK 1.3 billion.

  • KAW will be allocating SEK 4.2 billion to 2029

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WASP-HS
A complement to the Wallenberg Foundations’ WASP initiative was launched in 2019 under the name of WASP-HS. Its aim is to realize excellent research and develop competence on the opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems with a strong investment on research in humanities and social science.

The program is a joint initiative by Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, and its primary mission is to analyze the potential ethical, economic, labor market, social and legal dimensions of the technological transition.

  • MMW and MAW will be allocating SEK 660 million to 2029, and have awarded additional funding of SEK 165 million to 28 projects in this field.

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Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology, WACQT
The aim of the Center is to establish broad skills and expertise in the fields of quantum computers, quantum sensors, quantum simulators, and quantum communication. Its specific goal is to build a Swedish 100-qbit quantum computer.
Like WASP, WACQT emphasizes long-term competence building by establishing a large graduate school, and recruiting young researchers to Sweden from the rest of the world. The Center also collaborates with Swedish industry.

  • KAW will be allocating SEK 1 billion to 2029

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Life Sciences
Large grants have been awarded in this field for many years. As a result, the Foundations have helped Sweden to become a prominent life-science nation. A decision was made in 2014 to make a further major concerted commitment to life sciences. Initiatives in this area include medical and forest research, along with the latest major initiative for data-driven life science.

  • KAW will be allocating a total of SEK 6.2 billion to 2032

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Data-driven Life Science, DDLS
Rapid technological developments in life sciences, combined with strides made in data processing and AI, have ever greater implications for research and innovation, and impact all branches of science and medicine. Data-driven life science research is based on a description of large quantities of data that are then analyzed. The program builds on, and is being carried out in collaboration with, the expertise in mathematics, data and AI developed under WASP. The program is being hosted by SciLifeLab in collaboration with the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine at the universities of Gothenburg, Lund, Linköping and Umeå, along with the Swedish research universities.

  • KAW will be allocating SEK 3.1 billion to 2032

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Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine, WCMM
WCMM is a national initiative to strengthen Swedish life science research in molecular medicine, experimentally and clinically. The four centers in Lund, Gothenburg, Linköping and Umeå have different specialties, and conduct research in fields such as cancer, infection biology, neuroscience, metabolic diseases including diabetes, regenerative medicine, genomics, bioscience, and the border between medicine and technology.

  • KAW will be allocating SEK 1 billion to 2028

Wallenberg Center for Protein Research, WCPR
Wallenberg Center for Protein Research (WCPR) is a concerted initiative on research into proteins and biomedicines. In the future it is expected that many more diseases will be treated using biological molecules based primarily on antibodies.

  • KAW will be allocating SEK 400 million to 2023

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Wallenberg Wood Science Center and forest research
Research at Wallenberg Wood Science Center focuses on creating potential for new products from Swedish forest raw materials by utilizing more of the wood’s components and the fiber’s properties. The focus is on products such as sustainable packaging, organic electronics and renewable materials to replace oil-based products. In addition, the Foundation supports long-term initiatives in the fields of forest genetics, forest biotechnology and forest management.

  • KAW has allocated SEK 850 million for 2008–2028

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MAX IV Laboratory
The MAX IV Laboratory at Lund University is part of Sweden’s national infrastructure, and a world-class scientific facility. Since the first Max Laboratory was built, the Foundation has contributed over SEK 1 billion to the MAX facilities.

  • KAW has approved funding of SEK 740 million to Max laboratories over the past eight years

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Education for Better Integration
The “Education for Better Integration” program is a ten-year commitment to educational initiatives designed to improve integration in Swedish society. The program is supported by the three largest Wallenberg Foundations. Recipients of funding during the year included the “Jobbsprånget” internship program and NTA Digital (Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences), Science Meet (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences), Teach for Sweden, Science Centers in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, and Fryshuset.

  • KAW, MMW and MAW have allocated SEK 300 million for 2016–2025

Individual grants 

Wallenberg Academy Fellows
The program represents a long-term commitment to young researchers, who are given resources for five years so they can concentrate on their research. The program also helps to make the Swedish research environment more international. After the first five years an evaluation is carried out, with a potential extension of funding for a further five years. Since 2017 calls for research proposals are made every other year.

A total of 203 young researchers have received Fellow grants. The Foundation plans to fund up to a further 100 young researchers over the next few years. Twenty-one Wallenberg Academy Fellows were awarded grant extensions in 2020.

  • KAW is providing funding of SEK 4.1 billion to the program to 2029

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Wallenberg Scholars
This is a five-year program with the possibility of a five-year extension. The program is aimed at Sweden’s best researchers, proven to be internationally competitive. There are currently 79 active Wallenberg Scholars.

  • KAW is providing funding to the program of SEK 3.7 billion to 2029

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Wallenberg Clinical Scholars
The aim of the program is to strengthen Swedish clinical research by identifying the best clinical researchers, and giving them ample scope to conduct their research, so their findings will have an impact, both in the scientific world, and in medical care. A total of 24 researchers are being funded under the program. Four researchers were chosen as Wallenberg Clinical Scholars in 2020.

  • KAW is providing funding to the program of SEK 600 million to 2026

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Wallenberg Clinical Fellows
The purpose of the project is to encourage clinical research by young Swedish doctors. The program enables doctors to devote a large proportion of their working time to medical research over a period of three years. The program has been running for 15 years, during which time 62 Fellows have been chosen, including two in 2020.

  • MMW has provided funding of SEK 310 million to the program to 2020

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Mathematics Program
Excellent mathematics researchers are being funded during 2014–2029 so that Sweden can regain an internationally leading position in mathematics. Sixteen appointments were approved under the program in 2020.

  • KAW is providing funding of 650 million to the program to 2029

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Postdoctoral Scholarships
The scholarships are intended for young researchers who have recently received their PhD, and are awarded for a two-year spell abroad, with the possibility of two years’ funding of a research position at a Swedish higher education institution upon their return. Twenty-five young researchers have been awarded scholarships at various departments of Stanford University, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and also in life sciences at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The program has been paused during 2020/2021.

  • KAW is providing funding of SEK 550 million to the program to 2029

Read more

Project grants 2020 

Karolinska Institutet, funding of SEK 40.1 million for a project entitled “Decoding cell fate with lineage-tracing in utero transduction” 

Karolinska Institutet, funding of SEK 39.2 million for a project entitled “Developmental trajectories for human B-cells”

Chalmers University of Technology, funding of SEK 38.1 million for a project entitled “Metasurface-emitting lasers: Tomorrow’s light sources for applied photonics”

Uppsala University, funding of SEK 38 million for a project entitled “Vascular organotypicity in health and disease”

University of Gothenburg, funding of SEK 3.7 million for a project entitled “Type theory for mathematics and computer science” 

Karolinska Institutet, funding of SEK 32.2 million for a project entitled “Brain circuits in decision-making” 

Karolinska Institutet, funding of SEK 31 million for a project entitled “Adipose tissue senescence and metabolic disease in man”

Chalmers University of Technology, funding of SEK 29.6 million for a project entitled “Creation of heavy elements in neutron-star mergers” 

Umeå University, funding of SEK 29.6 million for a project entitled “Decoding bacterial toxin-antitoxin systems: from high-throughput discovery to molecular mechanisms and biotechnology” 

Linköping University, funding of SEK 29 million for a project entitled “The 2D-materials frontier” 

Umeå University, funding of SEK 28.9 million for a project entitled “Year-round climate feedbacks of winter phenological (mis)matches of plants and microbes across the Arctic” 

Chalmers University of Technology, funding of SEK 27.7 million for a project entitled “The origin and fate of dust in our universe” 

Swedish Museum of Natural History, funding of SEK 26.6 million for a project entitled “Biomolecular and structural comparisons of ancient and modern plants – tools for tracing phylogeny and survival strategies during mass extinctions”

Lund University, funding of SEK 25.6 million for a project entitled “Combining intense extreme ultraviolet and relativistic electron pulses” 

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, IFN, funding of SEK 25 million for a project entitled
“Firm competitiveness, human capital, and the fourth industrial revolution” 

Uppsala University, funding of SEK 25 million for a project entitled “Development of new therapeutic strategies based on the discovery of ZC3H11A – a stress-induced protein required for efficient virus growth”

Lund University, funding of SEK 22.9 million for a project entitled “Multilevel efficiency of bird flight: Generating vortices to travel the world” 

Lund University, funding of SEK 20.4 million for a project entitled “Galactic time machine” (De reser genom galaxens historia)

Stockholm University, funding of SEK 20.4 million for a project entitled “Anger management: neuronal network organization, plasticity and sex-specificity in aggression and other social behaviors”

Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum, funding of SEK 12 million for a project entitled “New technologies, transition problems and structural change – realizing the economic potential of technology in the wake of digitalization within a medium-term future”

Universeum Foundation, funding of SEK 10 million for the school development project “Ungas Kraft del 2”

Umeå University, Curiosum, funding of SEK 9.4 million for a project entitled “Creative exploration of the atmosphere – visualization of big data”

Lund University, funding of SEK 7.5 million for a project entitled “The future of human rights: The Raoul Wallenberg Visiting Chair in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Continuity and Change”

Karolinska Institutet, funding of SEK 7 million for a project entitled “Using AI for understanding early math learning” 

Uppsala University, funding of SEK 7 million for a project entitled “Children’s intuitive theory of AI – 
an active training study”

EHFF, Stockholm School of Economics, funding of SEK 6 million for support to research and education within economic history at Stockholm School of Economics

Karolinska Institutet, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “Quantifying prior beliefs for affective decision making and their relation to symptoms of depression”

Institute for Media Studies, funding of SEK 5 million for a project entitled “Quality of media in change”

Lilla Akademien, funding of SEK 5 million for a project entitled “RUM FÖR MUSIKALISKA MÖTEN – An international center of music for children and young people at Lilla Akademien”

Lund University, funding of SEK 5 million for a project entitled “Why do we choose the Internet instead of the doctor next-door? The Internet as a site for medicines in grey zones” 

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, funding of SEK 4.6 million for a project entitled “Restoration and accessibility of Queen Kristina's manuscripts in the Vatican Library”

University of Gothenburg, funding of SEK 4.5 million for a project entitled “Cassandra: Explaining and predicting short-term language change in modern Swedish” 

Lindholmen Science Park, funding of SEK 4.5 million for a project entitled “IYTT: International Youth Think Tank”

Lund University, funding of SEK 4.5 million for a project entitled “Technologically enhanced language learning and its effect on the brain [TELEB]” 

Stockholm University, funding of SEK 4.5 million for a project entitled “Parent affect in infant-directed speech and its role in language learning (PALL)” 

Södertörn University, funding of SEK 4.5 million for a project entitled “Ritually bound and sold: Religious beliefs and practices in trafficking and prostitution of African women in Europe (RETRAP)” 

Umeå University, funding of SEK 4.5 million for a project entitled “Reproducing the family: an ethical analysis of intra-familial access to reproductive potential”

Royal Swedish Academy of Music, funding of SEK 4 million for a project entitled “Sånghälsa i skolan – en samhällelig angelägenhet”

Stockholm University, funding of SEK 2.3 million for a project entitled “Archaeological surveys of melting glaciers and snow patches in Swedish Sápmi” 

Centrum för rättvisa, funding of SEK 2 million for “Centrum för rättvisa’s Law Student Conference and Student Program” 

University of Gothenburg, Torgny Segerstedt Foundation, funding of SEK 2 million for an annual visiting professorship at the University of Gothenburg in memory of Torgny Segerstedt

Royal Swedish Academy of Music, funding of SEK 2 million for a project entitled “Levande musikarv – fas 2”

Swedish Parasports Federation and Swedish Paralympic Committee, funding of SEK 2 million for a project entitled “Together”

Linnéuniversitetet, funding of SEK 1.1 million for a project entitled “Mapping saints in the medieval church province of Uppsala: The Case of Finland” 

Swedish Physical Society, funding of SEK 550,000 for support to the Oseen medal for the best Swedish doctoral theses in the field of Physics 2020–2024

Grants under the WASP-HS program

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, funding of SEK 4.9 million for a project entitled “Culturally informed robots in learning activities (CIRILA)” 

Uppsala University, funding of SEK 4.9 million for a project entitled “Quantifying culture: A study of AI and cultural heritage collections” 

Stockholm University, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “The global governance of artificial intelligence”

Stockholm University, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “AI in motion: Studying the social world of autonomous vehicles”

Stockholm School of Economics, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “A study of AI as a new strategic imperative; challenging existing strategies, business models and organizational processes”

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “Artificial intelligence and industrial transformation: Who will survive the technology shift in Sweden?” 

Lund University, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “AI and automated systems and the right to health – Revisiting law accounting for the exploitation of user preferences and values”

Umeå University, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “AI-driven contextual communication: Implications for citizens and society”

Umeå University, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “Cyborg Politics: A study of artificial agents in online democratic deliberation”

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “AI and the artistic imaginary: Socio-cultural consequences and challenges of creative-AI technology”

Uppsala University, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “AI and the financial markets: Accountability and risk management with legal tools”

Stockholm University, funding of SEK 6 million for a project entitled “Ethical and legal challenges in relationship to AI-driven practices in higher education”

Contact:

Carina Dahlberg, research communicator, Wallenberg Foundations
Phone: +46 70-273 68 50
E-mail: carina.dahlberg@wfab.se