Tag: research

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Awarded projects granted by the Swedish Research Council 

Stockholm Public Library.

In the beginning of 2022, the Swedish Research Council announced awarded grants within development research applied for in 2021. Out of 248 applications, 59 of them were successful in receiving grants distributed across various thematic areas and among several research organizations and Swedish universities.  

To learn more about their successful research projects contributing to fulfil the 2030 Agenda, SweDev interviewed awarded researchers as part of SweDev’s article series.

Elin Bjarnegård, Associate Professor at the Department of Government at Uppsala University will together with Dolores Calvo and Åsa Eldén at Uppsala University, and Silje Lundgren at Linköping University, study sextortion – a form of sexual corruption – in Tanzania.

Q: Briefly describe your research project. Why do you think the Swedish Research Council picked your project to be funded? 

A: The project investigates a form of sexual corruption called sextortion, which occurs when a person with entrusted authority abuses it to extort sexual favours in exchange for a service or benefit which is within their power to grant or withhold. “Sex for grades” is just one example of sextortion, where a teacher demands a sexual favour from a pupil in exchange for grades or exam results. Even though cases of sextortion are common around the world, they are often not recognized or dealt with because sextortion does not neatly fit the definition of neither corruption nor gender-based violence. This is why it is so important to shed light on the particular phenomenon of sextortion.

“Sextortion occurs when a person with entrusted authority abuses it to extort sexual favours in exchange for a service or benefit which is within their power to grant or withhold.”

Elin Bjarnegård, Associate Professor at Uppsala University

In this process, we follow the implementation of policy against sextortion in an organization working with folk development colleges in Tanzania. The combination of conceptual innovation and concrete policy impact is a strong aspect of this project.

One of the project participants, Åsa Eldén, used to work with gender equality at Sida. She was the one who realized that sextortion was an important topic in development cooperation that nevertheless seemed to fall between the lines of responsibility: it was neither perceived as corruption, nor as gender-based violence despite the fact that both competence areas are important for understanding and addressing it. When we put together our project group, we made sure we had competence both about gender and corruption as well as about gender-based violence.

Q: What made you interested in this topic? 

We wrote a report about sextortion for the Expert Group for Aid Studies in 2020. Tanzania was one of two case studies in this report, and it turned out to be a fascinating case, for two reasons. First, sexual corruption is a known and often talked about phenomenon in Tanzania, and in contrast to many other countries, there are specific laws and policies about it. Second, Karibu Tanzania Organization, KTO, was inspired by our report and adapted our definition of sextortion to further their work against sexual harassment and sexual corruption in their folk development colleges throughout the country. It thus gave us a perfect opportunity to study the opportunities and challenges of implementing sextortion policy. 

Q: Why are the research contributions you hope to make important?

A: First of all, it is important to raise awareness about the phenomenon of sexual corruption in general, and sextortion in particular. This is the only way in which we can also work towards efficiently addressing it. Right now, it is seen as a grey zone between corruption and gender-based violence, and we aim to shed light on that grey zone so that it becomes understandable and possible to investigate.

Second, recognizing sex as a potential currency and a corrupt exchange is crucial. It changes the way in which we view corruption, and who is a likely victim of corruption. It also puts the responsibility on the abuse of entrusted authority for personal gain. An office-holder or person with entrusted authority should never abuse this authority for personal gain, and even less exploit people dependent on his services for sexual services.

Q: SweDev aims to increase the interaction between development researchers and practitioners. How can practitioners working with sustainable development use the outcomes of your research? 

A: Practitioners are already working with preliminary outcomes of our research on sextortion, such as our definition. It is clear that a definition is sorely needed in order to take action against sextortion.

As we proceed, we will also be able to give more concrete recommendations about where the hurdles and windows of opportunity may be in the implementation of policy against sextortion. We plan to create information material that also can be used for training on sextortion.

Achieving more sustainable value chains are crucial for preventing deforestation and biodiversity loss

“The increasing demand of minerals, oil, and agricultural goods have severe negative social and environmental impacts. The extraction of resources leads to land dispossession of small-scale farmers and indigenous communities. It also generates social and political conflicts at the local level. For decades large scale agri-food production and mineral extraction have caused severe social and environmental impacts such as displacement of indigenous peoples, violence, as well as deforestation, forest degradation and biodiversity loss.”

“In a new research project, LUCSUS researcher Barbara Schröter and Torsten Krause are studying how these policy initiatives can contribute to more sustainable value chains. The project centers around six different commodity chains originating in the biodiversity-rich countries Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia,The focus is on small-scale producers, workers, corporations and governments and their possibilities to mobilize resources and influence sustainable production, consumption and procurement.

The project aims to identify how policies put in place by the European Union can contribute to improve the value chains in terms of their social and environmental impacts. As well as increase the understanding of how to effectively address ecological challenges while ensuring local communities’ capacities to adapt, influence and redirect policy in salient ways.

– All global value chains start in a local territory, some of these in remote areas on the other side of the planet. A lot of the products we consume here in Europe may have impacts on the environment, such as the deforestation of the Amazon, but as well on people’s life there, their income and personal security says Barbara Schröter.”

This article was first published by LUCSUS. Read the full article here.

Call for applications: Co-operative Research Programme

Are you organising an international conference or workshop on state-of-the-art research issues in agriculture, food, fisheries or forests in 2023?

Or would you like to spend time working with researchers in another country to help your research project, maybe as part of a sabbatical?

Apply for funding from the OECD CRP (Co-operative Research Programme: Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems).


The deadline to apply is Saturday 10 September 2022, midnight (Paris time).

Please note the guidelines and conditions, selection criteria and research themes for funding for fellowship award and conference sponsorship. Applications must be submitted through the appropriate online application forms. PDF forms are provided to help prepare applications before going to the online forms.

Applicants must be residents in one of the countries participating in the Programme. Please consult the files which give general information on the country’s research institutes and universities.

Applications relevant to the work of the OECD Committee for Agriculture and other bodies are particularly welcome:

  • Sustainable productivity growth and food security and nutrition;
  • New technologies and practices for food production; Food loss and waste;
  • Antimicrobial resistance; One Health approach to agriculture and food systems;
  • Innovations in the transfer and development of agricultural knowledge, including Indigenous and traditional knowledge
  • Digital technologies and digitalisation;
  • Climate change, including pathways to net zero, carbon sequestration in agriculture, forestry and land use, water use;
  • Plant and animal breeding to enhance sustainable productivity growth and resilience to climatic events; Diversity of crop production;
  • Fisheries and aquaculture productivity, sustainability and resilience.

What is the Co-operative Research Programme: Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems (CRP)? 

The OECD’s Co-operative Research Programme: Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems (CRP) exists to strengthen scientific knowledge and provide relevant scientific information and advice that will inform future policy decisions related to the sustainable use of natural resources in the areas of agriculture, food, fisheries and forests.

SweDev researchers selected to the Swedish delegation

Group of young adults, representing the new generation and development.

The Government of Sweden have selected four associated SweDev researchers to join the Swedish delegation at the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development taking place 25th – 28th of April.

Jesper Sundewall at Lund University, George Marbuah, Research Fellow at SEI, Sana Rouis Skandrani, Researcher at Karlstad University and Janet Vähämäki, Director of SweDev and Team Lead at SEI, will all be joining the Swedish delegation and contribute with their research expertise to the Forum on Financing for Development. 

“I am really happy that researchers representing academia were invited to the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development. This shows that the SweDev network can play a role in coordinating representation to these types of High-Level Conferences on Global Development and thus bridge science and policy.”

Janet Vähämäki

The opportunity was offered to SweDev members after a request from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to coordinate participation from researchers at the Forum. Future opportunities are offered only to SweDev members – sign up below to become a member.

Read more about the 2022 ECOSOC Forum

Become a SweDev member

News text written by Ylva Rylander, Communications Officer at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) for SweDev.

DevRes 2022 – Transforming Development Research for Sustainability

The upcoming DevRes conference will be held on August 22-24, 2022 and will be hosted by GlobeLife, a joint initiative of Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet. The conference will offer both onsite participation as well as digital live-streaming and chat functions. The 1st day of the conference will be at Uppsala University, the 2nd day fully online and the 3rd day at Karolinska Institutet.

SweDev at DevRes2022

More details will follow.

  • ‘Bridging research and policymaking in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda’: 13:30-14:30 on 22 August in Uppsala. Onsite participation only.
  • ‘Planetary health: the role of coastal ecosystems’: 11:00-12:00 on 22 August in Uppsala. Hybrid: onsite and online participation.
  • SweDev annual assembly: 16:45-18:45 on 23 August. Learn more about SweDev, influence the workplan and meet SweDev’s secretariat and Steering Committee. The SweDev assembly is open to all. Join us online or in Uppsala. Registration is required. We invite all participants to a mingle after the event.

Transforming Development Research for Sustainability

The theme for the upcoming conference is ‘Transforming development research for sustainability, as It is becoming increasingly clear that sustainability is the key to our planet and the future of humanity. We must make haste at achieving this before 2030, estimated as the climate’s ‘tipping point’, which could lead to unpredictable consequences.

A major part of the conference will focus on how we can achieve sustainability in health for both humans and our planet. This requires that we look at transforming large parts of our society and restructuring systems within our society such as food and energy production, urban planning, digitization, education, preventive health work as well as health and social care.

In order to achieve this globally for all people and not just individual countries, we need to explore both new forms of cooperation and the generation of new knowledge. Here, research is absolutely essential if we are to discover novel systems that will ensure the longevity of our society.

About DevRes

The Development Research Conference (DevRes) was founded in 2016 as a multi-disciplinary forum for researchers working in fields linked to development and sustainability.

The conference aims to promote networking and collaboration between researchers, public agencies, policymakers, organisations and practitioners, in order to find solutions for poverty and develop strategies for the future of sustainable development.

Studies within thematic areas prioritised by the EBA

Turbid waters spill out into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) has decided to allocate funds for studies within any of its prioritised areas (poverty and its drivers; environment and climate; steering of Swedish aid). Funds are available for researchers active at institutions based in Sweden in order to conduct studies of direct relevance for the MFA, Sida and/or other Swedish development cooperation actors.

Background and motive

EBA works with a ”double independence” in the sense that the Expert Group independently decides what to analyse and evaluate, while commissioned authors and experts independently answer for conclusions and possible recommendations in published studies. To the EBA, it is essential to collaborate with knowledgable and competent authors, experts in their respective fields.

To increasingly use the resource base of researchers active at institutions in Sweden, the EBA allocates funds for studies specifically authored by researchers. EBA is not providing research grants in the way research foundations do, but finances specific studies of relevance for Swedish international aid. The current initiative aims at increasingly engage researchers in formulating proposals and conduct studies at the request of the Expert Group.

The choice of theme and research questions are left to the applicants. However, the proposal shall be included in any of the following themes:

• Poverty and its drivers
• Environment and climate
• Organising and steering of Swedish aid

The proposed studies shall focus on Swedish development aid and be relevant for the MFA, Sida and/or other actors in Sweden’s development cooperation. Applicants shall have documented expertise within the proposed field. Funding is allocated to separate studies, and not as additional funding to already financed research.

Application process, budget and timetable

The application is made in two separate steps. In a first round a project idea is briefly presented, with full author CVs annexed. Final day for project ideas is Sunday 22 May, 2022, at midnight.

A review committee invites short-listed applicants to provide a full application.

The costs of each study may not exceed SEK 700 000 (excluding VAT). The timing of the study may be freely decided, however to be relevant to Swedish development aid, it might be important to link the study to events or ongoing processes, which may impact on the timing.

About EBA

The Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) is a governmental committee with a mandate to analyse and evaluate Swedish international development aid. The EBA contributes knowledge to improve Swedish development cooperation and sheds light on current issues and themes which have not received enough attention. EBA also arranges seminars in areas of relevance for Swedish development cooperation.

Members of the Expert Group are: Helena Lindholm (chair), Johan Schaar (vice chair), Sara Johansson de Silva, Kim Forss, Torgny Holmgren, Magnus Lindell, Joakim Molander, Julia Schalk, Staffan Lindberg and Janet Vähämäki.

New EBA call for project proposals

Turbid waters spill out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Are you a development researcher based in Sweden with expertise in poverty issues, environment and climate or the steering of Swedish aid? Do you have an idea that is of relevance to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sida and other Swedish development cooperation actors?

The Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) has decided to allocate funds for studies within any of its prioritised areas (poverty and its drivers; environment and climate; steering of Swedish aid). Funds are available for researchers active at institutions based in Sweden in order to conduct studies of direct relevance for the MFA, Sida and/or other Swedish development cooperation actors.

The application is made in two separate steps. In a first round a project idea is briefly presented. Final day for project ideas is Sunday 22 May, 2022.

A review committee invites, after selection, short-listed applicants to provide a full application by 22 June, 2022. Final date to provide full applications is 14 August, 2022.

Development Geographies: Current Debates

Stockholm University and Gothenburg University offer a course at the National Doctoral College (NDC), which is also open to PhD students in other social sciences and other European countries (given the partially hybrid format of the sessions).

About the course “Development Geographies: Current Debates”

We live in unprecedented times, when ‘normality’, including around development processes, is perforated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also become a moment for reflection on the harms (to people’s livelihoods, for instance) and recompense (the environment) of this pause, with this awkward phase rightfully nudging us to revisit questions on the nature of the global economy and development processes itself. This course is on development geographies. Yet, instead of revisiting the depth and richness of the development paradigm and its contested nature, we use COVID-19 as a point of departure to focus on current debates around feminism and social reproduction, degrowth, political ecology, and decoloniality. These contemporary discussions will help us disrupt development geography, as we have known it – and hopefully, help craft a toolbox that brings to the forefront the need for regenerating state that recognizes the depletion and social harm four decades of the market-centric global economy has wrought.

We will organise the course around three pivot points:

  • depletion, social reproduction and regeneration – to make feminist and gender debates central to contemporary contributions to global development;
  • political ecology and the calls for degrowth in rebalancing the global economy;
  • decoloniality and urban life – the calls for disrupting and uprooting the development
  • paradigm from its colonial past and the contested nature of claim-making

Course admissions and information

This course is directed to geographers, anthropologists, sociologists and economic historians who are pursuing research that relates to development geography in some way. The course is conducted as a Swedish national PhD-course in Human Geography, which means that in case of a large number of applications, priority will be given to PhD-students at member departments, ie human geography departments in Sweden. However, the course is also open to doctoral students in cognate disciplines both from Sweden and beyond; as well as in rare cases to early career researchers.

There is no course fee, but participants will have to cover travel, accommodation etc. by their own
arrangements. PhD candidates from the Departments of Human geography in Sweden make the
arrangements with their home institutions.

The course will be held via two online sessions and a final one together as a group. The course assessments will consist of continuous evaluation of class participation and engagement, along with an obligatory 4,000-word essay framed alongside viewpoints, critical reviews, and research notes (including references). The assessment details will be distributed and discussed in further detail at the first meeting (September 2022).

National PhD research courses

The National Research Program in Human Geography was established in 1997. It aims at:

  • Providing all doctoral students with access to research courses at the Swedish geographic departments;
  • give all PhD students the opportunity to gain access to research skills outside their own institution;
  • offer courses with lectures by invited scholars from Sweden and abroad;
  • offer doctoral students the opportunity to meet other PhD students and researchers.

Should you have further information, please refer to Kanchana Ruwanpura or Lowe Borjeson.

Caring in a changing climate: Centering care work in climate action

“The global care crisis is being exacerbated by the global climate emergency, with interlocking impacts that threaten lives and livelihoods in all parts of the world. These impacts are particularly severe among rural livelihoods in low-income countries. Climate change intensifies the work involved in caring for people, animals, plants, and places. It reduces the availability and quality of public services in marginalized communities and directly compounds the unfair distribution of unpaid care work that sustains gender inequality.”

“Yet the intersections of climate change and care work have been overlooked in the development literature. Strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation have paid relatively little attention to how care work is affected by climate impacts, nor have they considered whether interventions improve or intensify the situation of carers. Instead, when designing “gender-sensitive” climate actions, the focus has been largely on women’s economic empowerment as opposed to alleviating or transforming existing distributions of care work.”

“The aim of this report is to fill a knowledge gap by examining the points of interaction between climate change impacts and the amount, distribution, and conditions of unpaid care work. We focus on care workers rather than those who are cared for, while stressing the relational nature of care and acknowledging that carers too require care.”

The research report is written by Seema Arora-Jonsson, MaeveCohen and Sherilyn MacGregor, and is published by Oxfam.

About Oxfam Policy & Practice

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