Welcome to the Institute for Future Studies! We are an independent research foundation where researchers from different social science disciplines conduct research on issues that are of great importance for the future of our society.
Why we exist
The institute has its roots in the discussion that began in the 1960s about the fact that the way we live affects the lives of future generations. At this time many countries founded institutes for futures studies, and so did the Swedish government, in 1973. At first it was a part of the Prime Minister’s Office, but in 1987 the institute became an independent research foundation. What makes us special today is that all research conducted here should have a long-term perspective and be of relevance for the future of our society. The research conducted here changes every few years which makes it a dynamic environment. Researchers from different disciplines, including sociology, philosophy, political science, business economics and psychology, collaborate, which creates a fertile ground for new perspectives on various topics.
Our mission: Research and communication
The institute has two tasks, one of which is to conduct future studies, to promote a future-oriented perspective in Swedish research, and to use and develop appropriate theory and methodology. Our research is guided by research programs, and the current program includes research on climate change, new technologies, prejudices that govern our actions, who will make what decisions, and the well-being of our young. The researchers at the institute mainly conduct research in this program. Our second mission is to stimulate an open and broad discussion about possibilities and threats to future social development. We do this by organizing seminars, publishing reports and communicating research via newsletters, Facebook, Twitter and this site, but also by our researchers participating in debates, visiting politicians, government agencies and companies, and sharing their knowledge through public media.
Organisation and funding
The institute has a director who is employed to write and head a research program for a period of four to six years at a time. The researchers who work here are employed to conduct research within the program, either on our government subsidy, on funds they have received from research councils or on funds they have sought in collaboration with the institute.
As the research programs varies, the number of researchers also varies considerably over time. The current research program "What future? Challenges and choices for the 21st century” runs between 2015 and 2020. In 2019 we are about 90 people working here, many part-time. About 10 people work with administration and communication, the remaining staff consists of researchers and research assistants.
Our international collaborations are constantly increasing and the research group is becoming more and more international. Since the climate is an important future issue we have invested in video conference equipment that will enable meetings with people from many different places in order to reduce our travels. We also offset our travels by paying directly to carbon offset projects.
The director is appointed by the board, which is appointed by the government. Our board has nine members and the current chair of the board is Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd. The institute is financed through a government subsidy and through funding from research councils or authorities. For details, see the annual report.
Several of the issues discussed widely in media today concern the future of our society, and several of them are also studied by our researchers. How will AI affect the way we live? How well do young immigrants integrate? How can we respect the wishes of future generations in democratic decisions? What choices are acceptable when dealing with climate change? We often invite researchers from other universities and countries to share their work and insights with us. Sometimes we also contribute to projects outside the research community with our knowledge.
If you are curious about what we are doing and want invitations to our activities, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook!