Swedish diplomat talks about scientific challenges at a SACU luncheon

Magnus H?viden and John W. Hunter

Magnus H?viden, Science Counselor at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, and John W. Hunter

WITH PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA and his administration, there is now a new focus in the U.S. on science, technology and innovation serving as crucial tools for the economic recovery and increased national competitiveness.

THIS WAS THE message of Magnus H?viden, the Science Counselor and Head of the Office of Science at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., when he came to speak at the Swedish American Cultural Union (SACU) luncheon on Wednesday, May 20.

TITLED “What Challenges Lie Ahead that Science Can and Should Solve: Sweden and U.S. Priorities in the Coming Years,” his remarks also highlighted the efforts of the Obama administration to use science and technology on the global scale to address environment, health and energy issues.

MR. H?VIDEN works primarily with policy intelligence affecting information and communication technologies, space research, globalization and national competitiveness issues, research policies and Swedish-American co-operation in research and economic development related areas.

MR. H?VIDEN TALKED extensively about the challenges that confront Sweden and the United States. For example he said that today in the U.S. the majority of graduate students and researchers in science, technology and engineering are Asians, who may return to their home countries, because of visa problems and immigration rules in the U.S. and because of increased opportunity in their home nations. He said that Sweden also has problems attracting and retaining research talent because “In Sweden we have a gloomy climate and high taxes.”

MR. H?VIDEN mentioned that Sweden (and Israel) in relative figures invest close to 4% of GDP in research and development (R & D), which is the highest percentage rate of investment in R&D of any country.

HE ALSO NOTED the importance of the Nobel Prize augmenting Sweden’s ability to attract research dollars and talent. “We try to profit from that.”

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