Sweden is among the nations worldwide that devote the most money to research relative to its population. Sweden's expenditures for R&D is total 3.42% of GDP.
The business sector accounts for around 70 percent and the higher education sector for 27% of this spending. Companies largely fund their own research, but receive some contributions from the government and abroad.
The public sector finances R&D through grants paid directly to higher education institutions (HEIs) and through support for research councils and sectoral research agencies. In addition, several research foundations have been started with public funds, providing research funding in excess of SEK 1.2 billion annually.
The Swedish Parliament grants R&D funds in all of the ministries' spheres of responsibility. The Minister for Higher Education and Research is responsible for overall coordination of research policy in the Government Offices. By far the greatest share of publicly funded research in Sweden is conducted in HEIs. Research institutes account for only a small share, which distinguishes Sweden by international comparison.
The research councils mainly support basic research. Sectoral research agencies fund R&D aimed both at meeting the knowledge needs of individual sectors and at fostering the development of society. County councils and municipalities also fund research, mainly in health care and social services. Jointly with regional R&D units, the municipalities and county councils allocate about SEK 3.1 billion to research and development.
In addition to public sources of funding, Sweden has private funding sources, foundations, and fundraising organisations. Several are major stakeholders in the research sphere and provide substantial grants for research in their respective fields. Collectively, private non profit organisations contribute SEK 3.3 billion to Swedish research.