The main tasks of the higher education institutions are to provide education and conduct research, and to cooperate with the surrounding community and work to ensure that research results come to good use, for example by collaborating with companies and government agencies.
In Sweden the Government is responsible for the activities of the higher education institutions. All education at higher education institutions is to build on a scholarly foundation and proven experience. Artistic education shall have a corresponding artistic basis. All higher education is divided into three cycles: the first, second and third cycles. This education and degree structure was introduced on 1 January 2007 and is a link in Sweden’s work to adapt its higher education to the rest of Europe as part of the Bologna Process. The extent of higher education studies is measured using a system of credits, where one year of full-time study over 40 weeks is equivalent to 60 higher education credits, and one full-time semester is equivalent to 30 higher education credits.
The Swedish Government is the largest funder of research at higher education institutions in Sweden. Besides direct government grants, the most important state research funders are research councils and other agencies. Research foundations, the EU, municipalities and county councils also fund research.
Since 1997 all higher education institutions have fixed research resources. The boards of the institutions make decisions about strategic investments and changes in priorities in order to establish strong research environments. The boards shall also encourage the institutions to profile themselves and take the initiative for national and international evaluations of research activities.