According to their new funding target agreement (regleringsbrev) The Swedish Research Council (VR) is to reserve 25 MSEK 2013 within the area infrastructure for register-based research and shall within the authority develop activities to improve the availability to and facilitate the use of register data for research purposes. VR shall support researchers with information on registers and on relevant legislation. Linked to its annual report VR shall declare the progress of the commission to the Ministry of Education.
Previous information related to the topic:
October 11, 2012, the government published “Research and Innovation”, the government research proposition for 2013-2016. A special section (12.4) deals with the infrastructure for register-based research. During 2013 the government proposes 25 MSEK, thereafter 50 MSEK per year for “the construction of a function at the Swedish Research Council (VR)” with the purpose to facilitate register based research, primarily by providing information on available data sources and regulations, and direct support to researchers in their efforts to acquire data from the statistical authorities (i.e. all authorities with research relevant personal data). VR is to collaborate with the big data owners in this endeavor.
The proposal is based on the government inquiry SOU 2012:36 “Registerdata för forskning”. The government agrees with the SOU on the desirable actions to facilitate register-based research, but does not support its proposal to launch a new government agency for this purpose. Instead, the government proposes that the function be created as part of the Swedish Research Councli.
The questions regarding new legislation and distributed data solutions (such as federated data systems or cloud computing) are described as highly relevant but “complex” and the government intends to address these issues at a later time point.
It is worth noting that the purpose of the described effort is identical with the purpose of SIMSAM-INFRA but with a considerably greater budget. Hence, the government now suggests a full scale implementation.