Swedish Higher Education

Financing, Organisation, Enrolment, Outcomes,
1950-2020  (SHEFOE).

Directed by Professor Mikael Börjesson, financed by The Swedish Research Council 2017-2020.

Financing, Organisation, Enrolment, Outcomes, 1950-2020 (SHEFOE).

Although there is a consensus that higher education and research are crucial pillars in the knowledge society, there remain fundamental gaps in our understanding of basic demographic, social, economic, and organisational conditions that impact the development of Swedish higher education over a longer time span.

To fill these gaps, this multidisciplinary project includes a historical perspective to analyse the major transformations of higher education from 1950–2020. The project traces transformations across various fields (social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, etc.) and at different levels (basic, advanced and doctoral education). The project is made up of four studies addressing four basic dimensions of higher education: its organisation, financial conditions, enrolment patterns, and outcomes in terms of relations to the labour market. This is done using statistical data on students and university teachers, in combination with interviews, archival records and policy documents.

The project assembles researchers from four different research milieus: Sociology of Education and Culture (SEC), Uppsala University, Forum for Research on Profession (FPF), Linnaeus University, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE), and Nordisk institutt for studier av innovasjon, forskning og utdanning (NIFU), Oslo, and is associated with the European research program INTERnational COoperation in the SSH: Comparative Socio-Historical Perspectives and Future Possibilities (INTERCO-SSH).

The project is financed by The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).
​Period Jan 2017 – Dec 2020.


The project comprises four studies relating to the four themes of the project.

I. Organisation. This study will produce in-depth knowledge about the transformations towards a more complex higher education landscape at both the national and local level.

II. Financing. This study on government funding of higher education will focus on both the development of funding schemes over time and the outcomes of these schemes.

​III. Enrolment. This study will capture changes in student enrolment within Swedish higher education over time, as well as map the overall structure of the entire national field at different points in time.

​IV. Outcomes. This study explores the relations between higher education and the labour market through one investigation of the overall patterns, and one of professions.

Last modified: 2023-11-23