16 October 2012

Confidence in Mistra very high

Mistra, regarded as the leading stakeholder in Sweden’s strategic environmental research, is getting to grips with key environmental problems. This overall opinion emerges from a questionnaire survey among key people in the sectors of society where Mistra works. The majority have great confidence in Mistra’s way of conducting its activities.

The survey also shows that Mistra is regarded as the best Swedish research funder in terms of interdisciplinary research initiatives.

Malin Lindgren, Mistra’s Communications Manager, says: ‘This underlines the fact that confidence in how Mistra conducts its assignments is very high. According to our survey partner, Novus, we should be really pleased. It’s unusual for surveys of this kind to give such clear results.’

Respondents in the stakeholder survey carried out in May 2012 on Mistra’s behalf included researchers, asset managers, funders and decision-makers. Altogether, the survey comprised 389 interviews.

Large programmes effective

Eight out of ten respondents knew something about Mistra, and for an equal or higher proportion the Foundation’s work had a positive image. Credibility, long-termism and clarity are words that permeate the opinions expressed. Knowledge of and confidence in Mistra are greater in the higher age groups and peak in the 60+ group, while being somewhat more limited among the under-45s.

Six out of ten consider that the most effective use of Mistra’s funds is to fund large programmes. The proportion is slightly higher among those aged over 60. However, there are those who think Mistra should offer less project support.

Mistra’s communication, too, gets a high rating.

‘We’re known by the people we want to be known by, and they’re familiar with our profile. This confirms what we thought: that being more visible in the press than we are now isn’t an end in itself for us,’ Lindgren says.

Few aspects criticised

Few aspects of Mistra’s work appear problematical. The only research funder that, in a few contexts, gets higher ratings than Mistra is the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). ‘Initiating research of high academic quality’ is one such context.

Such criticism as is nonetheless discernible in the respondents’ replies relates, for example, to administration of the programmes. Some researchers think it is too cumbersome. Mistra is working to reduce this administration, but also seeks to become better at communicating.

‘For this reason, we believe some administration is necessary,’ Lindgren explains.

Text by Thomas Heldmark, Vetenskapsjournalisterna

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