The Hidden University: The Military Research Institutes as Knowledge Producer in Cold War Sweden

The aim with the project is to examine the role of the military research institutes as knowledge producers in Cold War Sweden. Swedish military research during the period was a national security priority, it was extensive, and it commanded a major proportion of the total research funds. Furthermore, it was concentrated to the most advanced areas in scientific and technical research. We assume, based on preliminary empirical observations and on international literature, that Sweden’s military research has played a crucial and largely unknown role for the development of post-war civilian research. We argue that the military research institutes functioned as ’the hidden university’ of the Swedish research system. It produced both research and researchers in close connection with and for industry and academy. In the project, we aim to demonstrate that military and civilian technical research was mutually constituted. A key asset in the project will be the largely unused archive of the Swedish Defence Research Establishment (Försvarets forskningsanstalt, FOA). The project centres on two central themes. Firstly, we investigate the mobility of researchers between the military research institutes, the industry and the academy with the help of prosopographic method. Secondly, we examine the research-intensive state-industry alliances that FOA formed with different industrial firms.

Partner organizations

  • Uppsala University (Academic, Sweden)
Start date 01/01/2019
End date 31/12/2021

Published: Thu 11 Apr 2019.