Published 2020-03-09

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‘A spectacular year’: former Mistra Fellows’ appreciation of international research exchanges

The Mistra Fellows Programme gives researchers associated with Mistra-funded programmes the opportunity to work for organisations abroad that focus on policy issues. The purpose is to establish collaborations and boost exchange of knowledge. Last week, programme directors and researchers from Mistra’s research programmes met to share their experience and develop the Fellows Programme.

Mistra Fellowships enable not only researchers engaged in Mistra programmes to work in organisations outside Sweden, but also researchers and experts from foreign organisations to stay in Sweden and join Mistra’s research programmes. Altogether, eight researchers from Sweden and three from other countries have been included in the Programme.

According to Svenne Junker, a researcher at the Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (Misum) who spent a year at the OECD in Paris, the Center’s contacts with both the OECD and Misum’s host, the Stockholm School of Economics, were strengthened during the year. On a personal level, too, it afforded development.

“It was a spectacular year,” he says.

Junker points to the comprehensive pre-exchange administration and emphasises how important it is for the organisation you work to perceive great value in the Fellowship Programme as well.

Malin Mobjörk, a researcher in Mistra Geopolitics at Linköping University and director of a programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), spent six months as a visiting researcher at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington DC in 2018. There she studied climate security efforts in the US, prompted by President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

‘There was great interest in exchange and collaboration on both sides. I was able to take part in a lot of dialogues that can be hard to follow in the normal course of events,’ Mobjörk says.

Björn-Ola Linnér, Programme Director for Mistra Geopolitics, states that Mobjörk’s exchange provided the international perspective that may be difficult to acquire without being physically present in another country.

To Milan Elkerbout, a researcher at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), a leading think tank in Brussels, who is currently in Sweden working in Mistra Carbon Exit, the exchange has enabled him to gain greater understanding of Sweden’s national viewpoints:

‘I think more people working in the “Brussels bubble” would benefit from regularly studying national perspectives.’

Programme managers and researchers alike are keenly in favour of the Mistra Fellows initiative, and discussed how to develop the Programme. Their wishes included more extensive exchange of experience, a simplified administrative process and ways of maximising opportunities before, during and after exchanges.