First of all, SGU’s research money is directed at geoscience research being done in Sweden and being of relevance for SGU. As such projects applied for to SGU do not need to be on the cutting edge of science, do not need to be supported by a super outstanding CV and do not need a long publication list with Science and Nature papers. These project proposals just need to be well written and focused, need to have a Swedish geoscience theme, and need to be supported by a CV and a publication list that show that the applicant is capable to do what he/she proposes to do. Several of the project applications may have a possibility to also get financed by other funding agencies, but most often, SGU is the only possible funding option.
Secondly, SGU finances good science and has done so over the past decades. The projects that have been financed have been able to move Swedish geoscience forward and have delivered a wealth of new results, important to SGU and to the Swedish geoscience community. Many of the projects also make use of the different data bases that are available at SGU, and by doing so, create an important link between SGU data sets, the science community and the general public.
Thirdly, I would not be where I am now without research funding from SGU. Twenty years ago, a research grant from SGU saved me from becoming unemployed. This grant made it possible to employ me as research assistant at Lund University, which in turn made it possible for me to also obtain money from the Swedish Research Council (VR) – because I now had a university position. Without SGU’s research grant, I would not have had a position and I would not have been able to get VR research money. Thanks to continued support from SGU for various research projects concerning the Swedish varved clays, I was able to fill my research assistant position with project money and was thus able to survive for six consecutive years. So to cut it short – without financial support from SGU, I would not be Professor in Quaternary geology today.
SGU needs to take funding of external research projects serious. Here I don’t mean joining large and huge research networks or EU projects. I mean providing decent funding for smaller projects that are directly related to Swedish geoscience. If the current trend goes on, there won’t be any more research funding from SGU in the near future.
The statistics on my blog roared yesterday and today. The topic seems definitely to be of interest to many.