Stockholm University granted two centres of excellence

27 Jun 2023 | Network Updates | Update from Stockholm University
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Studies of dark matter and of global governance are the focus of the two centres of excellence that Stockholm University is granted by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). Language researchers at the university are also part of a new centre at Uppsala University.

After an international panel evaluated the 124 applications received, the Swedish Research Council has decided to fund 15 research environments in the call for centres of excellence. Each research environment will receive SEK 4-6 million per year for five years, with the plan to provide an additional five years of funding after evaluation. The funds will support long-term program activities where researchers from different disciplines gather around a theme or research question.

Two of the centers of excellence granted funding are located at Stockholm University. One is the EDUCATE: Excellence Dark Universe Centre and Technology Enabler, with Professor Ariel Goobar from the Department of Physics as the main applicant. The other center is the Stockholm Center on Global Governance (SCGG), led by Professor Jonas Tallberg from the Department of Political Science. 

Excellence Centre on Dark Matter and Dark Energy

EDUCATE: Excellence Dark Universe Centre and Technology Enabler, with Professor Ariel Goobar as the main applicant, is granted nearly SEK 30 million. Co-applicants include Jon Gudmundsson, Timothy Linden, and Hiranya Peiris from the Department of Physics, as well as Christian Ohm from KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Other key individuals involved are Sara Strandberg, Jens Jasche, and Christophe Clement. The center will be organized within the Oskar Klein Centre, which is a joint venture between Stockholm University and KTH.

"Despite dark matter and dark energy constituting 95 percent of the cosmic composition, we still know nothing about their nature. The mystery of the universe's dark side is undoubtedly among the most fascinating scientific questions we face," says Ariel Goobar.

In the coming years, new sensitive particle detectors will be built, and groundbreaking astronomical observation programs will be carried out. The new generation of instruments requires advanced analysis techniques to handle the volume and complexity of the data. Therefore, a strong emphasis will be placed on developing new algorithms and machine learning techniques to optimize the acquisition of new knowledge.

There are plans to establish a dedicated branch of the doctoral program under the centre's auspices, enabling students to be trained and develop the necessary skills for the optimal utilization of upcoming observations.

"By hosting visits from leading international experts, we will be able to offer world-class education. We are also keen on interaction with representatives from the business sector, specifically high-tech companies. Our ambition is for the interaction with the industry to lead to cross-fertilization between cutting-edge basic research and the most advanced industrial applications," says Ariel Goobar. 

Centre of Excellence on Global Cooperation

The Stockholm Center on Global Governance (SCGG), led by Professor Jonas Tallberg from the Department of Political Science, is awarded over SEK 28 million. It is an interdisciplinary center with co-applicants including Professors Lisa Dellmuth (Department of Economic History and International Relations, also the Deputy Director of the center), Mark Klamberg (Department of Law), Torun Lindholm Öjmyr (Department of Psychology), and Aryo Makko (Department of History).

"The funding for excellence enables us to establish the Stockholm Center on Global Governance (SCGG) and further develop the already strong research environment at Stockholm University in the field of global cooperation," says Jonas Tallberg.

A central theme of the research at the centre will be the question of why, how, and with what consequences global cooperation is challenged by actors such as authoritarian states and populist leaders. The centre will actively engage in research, education, and collaboration with the surrounding society, including extensive programs of seminars, workshops, and visiting researchers.

"Through the establishment of SCGG, a unique interdisciplinary environment is created at the international research frontier, making it Northern Europe's first center for the study of global cooperation," says Jonas Tallberg. 

Research on human history in the last 10,000 years

Jenny Larsson, professor of Baltic languages at Stockholm University, is a co-applicant for a centre of excellence at Uppsala University that has been granted support by the Swedish Research Council. This centre is known as the Center for the Human Past, led by Professor Mattias Jacobsson. Here, researchers in genetics, archaeology, and linguistics will investigate human prehistory, culture, and languages over the past 10,000 years.

This article was first published on 26 June by Stockholm University.

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