SLF (the Swedish Farmers' Foundation for Agricultural Research) provides funding for applied research and development (R&D) within the areas of agriculture and horticulture. The primary aim expressed by SLF is to contribute to commercial sustainability and competitiveness within agriculture and horticulture.
The government assigned Formas the task of evaluating whether or not the extra 208 million Swedish crowns resulting from the tax on fertilisers and pesticides, during the period 2002-2007, were used in accordance with government intentions – to improve scientific quality, social relevance and efficiency within this research. A panel composed of representatives from the Nordic countries was assembled and this panel has now presented a final evaluation report that focuses on the scientific quality of the research into sustainable agriculture and for related commercial activities in Sweden.
The evaluation has been carried out in two phases and 248 projects have been analysed by independent assessors from all of the Nordic countries. The panel has examined strengths and weaknesses within the following different thematic areas – Agricultural and horticultural research; Plant nutrient turnover and pesticide-related research; Animal production research; Economy and market-related research; Working environment-related research.
In the evaluation the panel highlights, among other things, the need to have fewer projects, but that these should be larger, in order to obtain more from the research. In addition SLF must increase publication numbers, both in terms of scientific and popular science publications, as well as improve the dissemination of the results. Furthermore the research needs to be more cross-disciplinary.