The Swedish Agency for Public Management

The organisation and function of the Nordic Africa Institute (2013:3)

The Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) in Uppsala was formed in 1962. It is a Swedish agency with the task of promoting research on the social, political and economic development in Africa. This includes conducting its own research, stimulating research on Africa in the Nordic countries and in other ways promoting cooperation and contacts between Nordic and African researchers. Other tasks are to disseminate information based on research, to pursue an active policy dialogue and to provide a library.

The review of the Nordic Africa Institute

On 28 June 2012, the Government decided to commission Statskontoret (the Swedish Agency for Public Management) to carry out a review of the Nordic Africa Institute's role and function as a Swedish agency and to consider how its activities should be organised in the future. This includes considering another form of organisation, governance and management for the activities. Statskontoret is also to analyse the conditions for the agency to be useful and relevant for its commissioning bodies.

In analysing the Institute's future organisation, Statskontoret has observed general principles of public management and the Government's ambition of achieving a more efficient and appropriate administration of international aid. The Institute's activities and organisation are also assessed with reference to the Swedish policy for research and higher education.

Statskontoret's assignment initially included coordinating a quality review of the Institute's research. This part of the assignment was excluded in accordance with a decision by the Government on 18 December 2012. However, because research constitutes a central part of the Institute's activities, Statskontoret has seen it as appropriate to describe the focus of the research and to take note of other researchers' views on the research.

Statskontoret's report, submitted to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 18 March 2013, will form a basis for the Government's considerations of the future activities and organisation of the institute.

An institute dating back to the 1960s

Before the Nordic Africa Institute was formed, the need for an Africa institute of Nordic character had been discussed and investigated in both Nordic and Swedish contexts. In 1961, a Nordic committee of ministers examined the need for a common Nordic training programme for experts prior to service in developing countries. At this time, Sweden undertook to consider establishing an Africa institute of Nordic character. Denmark's representatives showed interest in an Asia institute. (The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies was established in Copenhagen in 1968). Norway and Finland were content to participate in the work of their neighbours' institutes.

Initially, the Nordic Africa Institute's tasks were mainly focused on the training of personnel for aid operations in Africa and on disseminating information about Africa. The task of conducting research was included in the agency's instruction in 1981, while the task of training of personnel for assignments in Africa was removed from the instruction in 1989. Today, the Institute carries out its tasks in the context of the three operational branches of research, communication and library.

When the institute was first formed, it was thought that this kind of institute could be financed by the host country covering the costs of premises, personnel and administration, while the other Nordic countries would contribute by providing certain documentation. The fact that the other Nordic countries would have higher travel costs could be regarded as a performance in kind. Quite soon, however, the other Nordic countries began to contribute to the Nordic Africa Institute's activities. In 2012, the Institute's total revenues amounted to approximately SEK 44 million. Appropriations from the Swedish government amounted to SEK 28 million, while contributions from the other Nordic countries totalled just over SEK 8 million. The institute is predominantly financed by aid funds.

To begin with, the Nordic Africa Institute had a board where four of the nine members were appointed following nominations from the other Nordic countries. However, this Nordic board was not considered to be in accordance with administrative law and was therefore replaced in 1989 by a Swedish board and a Nordic programme and research council. In 1996, the management form was changed once more through the dissolution of the board. Since then, the Institute is a director-general-governed agency with a director as head of the agency. The Institute also has a programme and research council consisting of members from the Nordic countries. The members represent the research community and the foreign ministry or international aid administration in their country. The council is to function as an advisory council, but it also has certain other tasks such as setting out the focus of the Institute's research.

The Nordic Africa Institute has previously been the subject of reviews. Based on the review conducted in 2008, the analyst at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs presented about twenty proposals aimed at tackling problems of relevance, quality and efficiency. The Government has subsequently placed demands on the Institute to take a number of measures.

Statskontoret's overall conclusions and suggestions

The following is a presentation of Statskontoret's overall conclusions on the Nordic Africa Institute's activities in terms of its function, organisation, governance and management. We also present a potential future organisational solution.

The Nordic undertaking needs to be reviewed

The Nordic Africa Institute's activities are strongly characterised by the outcome of political negotiations on a Nordic level just over 50 years ago. At that time, the Swedish government decided that the activities conducted by the Institute should also include and benefit other Nordic countries. For Sweden, this has meant a geographically broader undertaking by central government – a Nordic commitment – which has not been reviewed since that time.

Difficult to unite the management form with a Nordic influence
Statskontoret's review demonstrates that it has been difficult to combine the Swedish form of organisation and management with the ambition of the other Nordic countries having influence over the Nordic Africa Institute and its activities. This partly explains why the Institute has not succeeded in corresponding to many of the requirements and expectations of the Swedish government or the other Nordic commissioning bodies.

Sweden's undertaking has been accompanied by the ambition of inviting the other Nordic countries to a kind of joint ownership of the Institute. Through their financial contributions, the countries have been given the opportunity to influence the activities. Representatives of the countries have also been included in the Institute's organisation through the programme and research council. The council has assumed the character of a hybrid advisory council, scientific council and Nordic board without powers of decision. This has created tensions within the council between both the countries and the professions that are represented.

Naturally, the influence of the other Nordic countries can be seen as an important prerequisite for creating a Nordic operation. At the same time, this ambition has entailed problems for the Institute. The requirements and expectations on the Institute have not been coordinated between the countries. This has made the director's control of the activities more difficult. It has also contributed to an ambiguity as to the role of the Swedish government, the function of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the council and the position of the director as absolute head of the agency. The chain of responsibility between the Government and the director has become unclear.

The basis for the Nordic undertaking is weakening
The basis for Sweden's Nordic undertaking for the Institute's activities is weak. Since the Institute was founded, the governments of the Nordic countries have not entered into any written agreement on what kind of responsibility the countries have in relation to the benefit they are expected to gain from the Institute. Responsibility for managing the undertaking has thus largely been left to the Institute, such as by allowing the director to enter country-specific agreements and to manage the countries' different expectations.

To all intents and purposes, the Nordic Africa Institute is dominated by Sweden and Swedish interests. Besides Sweden's principal responsibility, this also relates to such matters as financing the activities, the researchers at the Institute and the users of the Institute's library. Among the Nordic foreign ministries, aid agencies and embassies in Africa, it is primarily Sida and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs that to some extent benefit from the Institute's activities. However, the Institute has been very successful in the task of maintaining a Nordic base and a Nordic interest in its research promoting activities. These activities mainly target other researchers.

Our review shows that there is a tendency for Nordic interest in the Nordic Africa Institute to decrease, at least at government level. This manifests itself in the overall decrease in Nordic financial contributions in recent years, but also in the fact that the Institute is not an obvious choice when the commissioning bodies need knowledge about Africa. From 2013, Denmark has discontinued its contribution completely and has also resigned its representation in the programme and research council. The question has then arisen among the other countries as to whether, for example, Danish researchers and students can continue to claim the Institute's services and scholarships. Norway's future commitment to the activities is uncertain as well and depends on whether the Institute succeeds in living up to the demands set by Norway through its agreement with the Institute. This, of course, raises the question of the extent to which the Institute can be considered Nordic if it no longer includes all the Nordic countries.

Statskontoret believes that Sweden's Nordic undertaking for the Nordic Africa Institute needs to be reviewed. Statskontoret considers that future activities should not be controlled and financed by the foreign ministries or aid agencies of the other Nordic countries.

Better preconditions for efficiency

Statskontoret believes that the Nordic Africa Institute has not been given sufficiently good conditions to operate efficiently. The assignment is broad and unfocused at the same time as the needs and expectations of the commissioning bodies in general are not well communicated to the agency. In addition, the Institute has not taken sufficient responsibility for clarifying the assignment by defining and delimiting the activities and their target groups.

In certain respects, the overall requirements on the Institute may be characterised as unreasonable. The Institute is expected, for example, to be relevant to the aid policy of the different Nordic countries. At the same time, the Institute is to conduct its own research of high academic quality with regard to the social, political and economic development in a continent consisting of over 50 countries.

The ambiguities in the assignment and the appropriation terms make it difficult to determine what the Institute's core activities should be and what the allocated appropriations and other external funds are intended to finance. This ultimately results in difficulties for the Government to assess whether the Institute is pursuing the right avenues and achieving the desired results in relation to the funds allocated. The large number of activities is therefore in many respects an outcome of what the Institute itself has assessed to be relevant and important. It also reflects a desire to fulfil the wishes of the commissioning bodies and the council. However, the Institute's ambitions for its activities and its description of performances rather give the impression of an operation without strategic priorities or clear goals. Since the review in 2008, the Institute has made efforts to improve its internal control and to reallocate resources from administration to core activities. Statskontoret believes that the Institute still does not meet the requirements of efficiency and good internal control that can be expected of an agency.

Opinions on the activities from our interviews with Nordic Africanists and Nordic commissioning bodies can be seen as an indicator of how well the Institute has succeeded in its intentions. The observations of our review largely confirm those made in previous reviews. The activities are valued more highly among Nordic researchers than among the commissioning bodies. The Institute has not been the commissioning bodies' first choice with respect to seeking knowledge about Africa as a basis for policy. This means that the strengths of the Institute lie in its research and research-promoting task.

Statskontoret considers that the Nordic Africa Institute needs to be given better preconditions for operating efficiently and that its assignment therefore needs to be refined and clarified.

The activities should not be conducted in agency form

The Nordic Africa Institute conducts activities of a nature that is not suitable for being conducted in a traditional Swedish government agency.

Research is the main focus of operations
The Government's control of the activities in recent years has led to the Institute increasingly taking on the character of a research institute. Today, the focus of the agency's activities is on conducting its own research. These activities are increasingly conducted under conditions similar to those applying to universities. In order to enhance research quality and relevance, the Government has imposed requirements that have resulted in researchers at the Institute to a greater extent applying for and also obtaining research funding in competition with other researchers. This has also meant that research results in the form of reports and articles increasingly undergo peer review before publication.

Overall, these requirements and developments have meant that the influence on research has to a greater extent shifted from the Government, the director and the programme and research council to external research financiers. At the same time, external publishers have gained a greater influence on which research results are published. The director of the agency, responsible to the Government for its activities, does not make the decisions in such central issues as the publication of reports and other works in the agency's name. The Institute's only specific agency task is the director's decision on which researchers and students are to be awarded scholarships.

The opportunity to direct the research has not been utilised
The Nordic Africa Institute is not a traditional government agency in the sense that the Government actively controls the focus of activities as a means of implementing its policy. The focus of research has not been set more specifically than that it should encompass the social, political and economic development in Africa. This control can thus not be regarded as clear if the Government has had the intention of making the research more relevant and suited to its foreign, trade or aid policy. It is true that financing operations with aid funds has indicated expectations that the research is primarily to contribute knowledge for aid policy, but this expectation is not expressed in the Institute's instruction, which is the most important governing document for an agency.

The purpose of conducting research in agency form is the very opportunity for the Government to direct the focus of research so that it covers certain specific needs. If the research is not guided by the commissioning body, the activities can be given better preconditions within universities and university colleges. It would have also been fully possible for the Government to give specific research assignments to the agency. But since the Government has, by all accounts, regarded the agency as an independent research institute, there has been uncertainty as to how much its research is to be controlled. Detailed control has been perceived to be completely contrary to the research policy principles of research freedom. We also believe that there are no practical preconditions for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to actively control the research at the Nordic Africa Institute.

The Government's choice to increase the scope of the agency's own research and to refrain from controlling its focus in detail has contributed to the Institute not being able to be considered a government agency in the traditional sense. Since the Institute's research finds little specific use in policy, there are additional reasons for arguing that it should not be conducted within the framework of a government agency.

Statskontoret considers that the Nordic Africa Institute's activities should not be conducted within the framework of a government agency.

Starting points for a future organisation

Our review indicates several problems with the current way of organising the Nordic Africa Institute. According to the assignment, Statskontoret is also expected to provide guidance on how activities can be organised in the future. The following is a presentation of our assessment of which parts of the Nordic Africa Institute's activities should continue to be conducted and in what form. We make this assessment under the proviso that the academic quality of the research has not yet been evaluated.

There is a need for knowledge and research about Africa

Africa is of interest to Sweden in a variety of ways. This warrants a continued Swedish production of knowledge about this particular geographical area. Sweden has long had a strong commitment to Africa within the framework of the international development cooperation. In 2011, just over half of Swedish aid was directed to countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa also constitutes a strong growth region that can become of great importance for Swedish trade and industry.

The Government has previously stated that Swedish research competence is necessary if Sweden is to be able to participate in various bilateral, regional and international collaborations. According to the Government, it is also important for researchers in Sweden to have collaboration with researchers internationally so as to strengthen the quality and relevance of their own research.

An institute provides added value

There is thus a need for knowledge and research about Africa, but is a special institute necessary? Several universities and university colleges in Sweden conduct research on Africa. The Government supports research on development issues in areas including Africa through the specific Programme for Development Research (U-forsk). From 2013, the programme is managed by the Swedish Research Council. Thus, if the Government only wants to support research on Africa, there is the possibility to do so by stimulating the research already conducted at Swedish universities. No special Africa institute is necessary for this.

However, we see advantages in retaining parts of the Nordic Africa Institute's activities as an integrated unit. With support from the other Nordic countries, Sweden has for half a century invested in structures for research and collaboration, which has resulted in an institute that by all accounts has a good reputation among its peers. The Institute's networks with researchers and decision-makers in Africa have been a resource for Swedish research that could be lost if the Institute is closed.

By combining research, the library and the task of promoting research and collaboration, an added value has also been created in which the various elements reinforce each other. A clear example of such added value is the attraction of the Institute's library with respect to researchers from the Nordic countries and Africa. The demands from researchers and African visiting researchers in turn leads to the library becoming an even better resource for African Studies and thereby a promoter of this research. The close access to a specialised library on Africa also constitutes an important prerequisite for the Institute's own research. There are thus reasons for giving the Institute an opportunity to develop its activities through better preconditions in the form of a more delimited assignment and a more appropriate form of organisation.

The Institute should not conduct policy dialogue

As previously outlined, Statskontoret believes that the tasks of the Institute need to be refined. The agency's own research and its promotion of research and collaboration should form the basis of a future organisation. However, the task of conducting policy dialogue should not be transferred to a new organisation for the Institute.

Our review shows that the Institute, despite increased efforts, has still not succeeded in reaching decision-makers in the Nordic countries. The Institute's organisation and competence profile are primarily adapted to the task of conducting its own research. Our assessment is that it would require excessively great efforts to enable the Institute to develop into an advisory organisation that can provide decision-makers with current data for making policy. The Institute would, among other things, need to make major changes to its competence profile and develop a much closer cooperation with, for example, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

We also do not see the Government as being in need of another Swedish actor tasked with an advisory role in the design of aid policy. In January 2013, the Government established the Expert Group for evaluation and analysis of Sweden's international development cooperation (dir. 2013:11). The task of the Expert Group includes compiling knowledge overviews based on relevant research and submitting recommendations to the Government.

Better preconditions within a university

Statskontoret believes that what in practice has evolved to become the Institute's core activities, that is, conducting research of high academic quality, can be given better preconditions if these activities are conducted within a Swedish university or university college. A closer association with a prestigious university is likely to increase the ability to attract experienced researchers, thereby improving the preconditions for developing a prominent research environment.

It is true that, formally, most Swedish universities are government agencies. But these universities enjoy a more independent position in relation to the Swedish Parliament and the Government. For example, research freedom at universities and university colleges is guaranteed by the Instrument of Government and the Higher Education Act. There are also special rules that have been designed to facilitate the activities of universities. Through the Institute's activities being assumed by a university, they will become subject to these rules and its research will be given better preconditions than if it is conducted within a traditional government agency.

The Nordic Africa Institute has previously advocated the organisation of the Institute as a foundation. However, our assessment is that a foundation would not solve any of the fundamental problems of the Institute. A foundation would continue to be dependent on direct financing and control from the Government. The forming of a foundation also presupposes that property or capital is allocated for the purpose. There are also problems with this form of organisation that have previously caused the Government to be restrictive with respect to the establishment of new foundations. The form of foundation impedes governance, transparency and accountability. It also requires exceptional reasons for making a retrospective change to the focus of a foundation.

A potential organisational solution

Statskontoret believes that parts of the Nordic Africa Institute's activities should in future be conducted within a Swedish university or university college. A potential organisational solution is for a transition of the Institute into a centre of excellence within a university. By this we mean an organisationally integrated unit that spans several academic disciplines and thus does not belong to a specific department. Below, we elaborate on how such an organisational solution can be designed and what considerations are required in the further process.

Finding a university to take over the Institute

Our proposal presupposes that a university shows interest in taking over and developing the Nordic Africa Institute's activities as a centre of excellence. For this reason, the details of how the activities would be taken over need to be developed in dialogue between the Government Offices and the university or university college in question.

According to the Government, universities and university colleges shall as far as possible be free from direct central government control. Among other things, this means that the universities themselves are to determine their organisation in the first instance, e.g., with respect to special centres of excellence. In recent years, the Government has abolished the central government regulation for several centres of excellence and has allowed the higher education institutions themselves to decide whether and how these activities will continue. Only a few centres of excellence remain under central government regulation (see note 1)

In some cases, there may be a clear national interest in a particular activity, but according to the Government it is then natural in the first instance that the universities in question establish this activity. However, it should be possible for the Government to issue a special assignment to a university to pursue a particular activity. The Government has in recent years also issued a number of such assignments to various universities. However, an assignment to take over the Institute's activities cannot be made too specific. It should largely be at the university's discretion to define the activities to be conducted. The preconditions for the university's taking over of activities should also include an evaluation of the centre of excellence after a few years, following which the organisational solution may be amended if necessary.

Uppsala University is best suited

The most natural solution is for Uppsala University to take over the Nordic Africa Institute's activities. Uppsala University is one of the universities and university colleges in Sweden already conducting African Studies. That research could be further strengthened by the University taking over the Institute's activities and assets in the form of, e.g., the library and the established collaborations that exist with African researchers and organisations.

Circumstances of a practical and administrative nature also speak in favour of Uppsala University in particular being best suited to take over the activities. The Nordic Africa Institute already works with the University on several administrative issues. The Institute's library and Uppsala University Library have long had an almost symbiotic relationship that it would be difficult to sever. Uppsala University has for a long period financed acquisitions to the Institute's library and has therefore not built up its own collection on modern Africa. If the Institute's library were to be located at another university, it would entail a complicated division of property between the Institute and Uppsala University. In addition, the University would lose the library resources that to a great extent are used by precisely the University's students and researchers.

We have not seen it as Statskontoret's task to negotiate a future organisational solution with Uppsala University. The Government must, as a first step, take a position on Statskontoret's conclusions and suggestions in this report. Uppsala University is of course not the only conceivable option, even though in our opinion it is best suited for practical reasons. For example, the University of Gothenburg and Lund University also have strong research environments that could come into question. However, a solution that involves a university other than Uppsala University taking over the activities would probably lead to higher transition costs.

The main assignment should be research
The activities to be taken over by a university must conform to the main tasks of universities and university colleges as expressed in the Higher Education Act, that is, education, research and collaboration with the community. This does not pose a problem for a large part of the Nordic Africa Institute's activities since they already largely correspond to the activities of universities and university colleges.

The main assignment of the Institute in its new form should be to conduct research on Africa. It is true that the Institute's research has not been evaluated and we are therefore unable to comment on the academic quality of the research. However, the research has begun to be increasingly exposed to external assessment through research financing and publication. This means better preconditions for the academic quality of the research. Our proposal also means that the Institute will be covered by the university's own evaluation of its research activities.

The more detailed design of the assignment should be determined in consultation between the Government Offices, the university and Institute. This involves whether the research will continue to focus on the social sciences and whether the interdisciplinary ambition is to be retained and developed. Another issue is the extent to which researchers at the Institute shall be involved in the university education.

The task of promotion should be retained but clarified
The task of promoting research and research collaboration sets the Nordic Africa Institute apart from other research environments for African Studies in Sweden. The Institute's work has been appreciated by researchers. The well-developed collaboration with African researchers and decision-makers can also be seen as a valuable competitive advantage for the Institute's research. The task of promotion should therefore be retained if the Institute's activities are transferred to a centre of excellence.

However, there is reason to clarify more specifically what the task of promotion is to contain. The Institute's work of promotion has mainly consisted of conference and seminar activities in order to promote collaboration between Nordic researchers, cooperation with African researchers and organisations, scholarship programmes for Nordic Master's students as well as programmes for Nordic and African visiting researchers. The task of promotion also requires basic financing.

Travel scholarships should be reviewed
Statskontoret's assessment is that the Institute's administration of its travel scholarships is not obviously consistent with the main tasks of universities and university colleges. Moreover, there are strong similarities between the travel scholarships and other scholarships financed with aid funds.

Travel scholarships have been awarded by the Institute for a very long time. However, they have been awarded with neither an explicit assignment nor other ordinance regulation. Since scholarships can be considered to be targeted government grants to individuals, this should have been regulated.

If the Government's assessment is that the Institute's travel scholarships should remain in place, the administration of these travel scholarships needs to be reviewed in relation to other scholarships financed with aid funds. The Government should specifically review how the travel scholarships relate to scholarships for Minor Field Studies (MFS scholarships) managed by the Swedish Council for Higher Education and financed by Sida.

No assignment beyond the universities' collaborative task
Universities and university colleges already have the task of collaborating with the community, and the university should not be given any assignment that goes beyond this. The collaborative task of universities and university colleges aims in part to see the knowledge generated being of benefit to society and to provide researchers with good opportunities for insight into problems and current issues for companies and other organisations.

So although the task of conducting policy dialogue is not transferred to the Institute in its new form, there is nothing to prevent the Government and Sida, for example, from benefiting from the knowledge generated by the research. A university may conduct contract research by agreement. The Institute could also be of use to the newly created Expert Group for evaluation and analysis of Sweden's international development cooperation through this Expert Group being able to order research overviews or impact evaluations.

Nordic cooperation between researchers

Our assessment is that it is not possible to have a continuing formal influence from the governments of the other Nordic countries. Since the Institute is not expected to conduct policy dialogue, the direct link to both the Swedish and other Nordic foreign ministries disappears.

However, there is nothing to prevent the Institute in its new form from being able to continue having a Nordic character to its activities and also retaining its present name. The Institute may, for example, continue to recruit researchers from the other Nordic countries and choose to appoint a scientific council with members from Nordic universities.

The Institute may also apply for financing from Nordic universities, as does the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) at the University of Copenhagen (see note 2). Such a solution could also mean that the Institute's task of promotion and library services may continue to be directed towards students, doctoral students and researchers in the Nordic countries. However, regardless of any Nordic financing, the Institute in its new form may very well collaborate with researchers from other universities and countries. The Institute already has an international network of researchers that extends beyond the Nordic region.

Basic financing with aid funds is possible

The Nordic Africa Institute has begun to reorganise its activities by financing its research to a greater extent with external funds. As with departments at universities and university colleges, however, not all research should be expected to be financed with external funds. A certain basic financing should therefore be available for research at the Institute in its new form. In addition, taking over the Institute's activities will involve increased administrative costs for the university. Finally, the task of promotion necessitates a certain level of basic financing.

Today, the Institute's activities are predominantly financed by funds counted as international aid. In order to meet the requirements of the OECD-DAC, the research conducted must aim at promoting economic growth or welfare in developing countries. In principle, Statskontoret sees nothing to prevent parts of the Institute's activities from also continuing to be financed with aid funds, provided that the requirements of the OECD-DAC are fulfilled.

The principle of autonomy in higher education means that funds should not be earmarked for specific purposes, but that the university itself determines how the funds are to be used. If the Government is not able to earmark certain funds for the Institute's activities, it is also difficult to count these funds as aid. Therefore, a balance must be struck between the principle of autonomy in higher education and a possible desire to finance the Institute's activities with aid funds. One solution could be for funds to be transferred to Sida, which is then commissioned to contribute funds to the university for the Institute's basic financing.

Regardless of how the activities are to be financed, our assessment is that our proposal can reduce the costs of these activities. Certain tasks will disappear, and it will be possible to decrease administration and library costs when the functions are coordinated with the university.

1. One example of a centre of excellence under central government regulation is the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) at Uppsala University. The Collegium is a national institute for advanced studies, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, and is regulated by the Government through the Ordinance (1995:1079) on the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study.

2. The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen is partly financed through contributions from a number of Nordic universities that cooperate with NIAS. In return, representatives from these universities are included in the Nordic NIAS Council. Students and doctoral students from these universities are also given priority to NIAS scholarships.