Faculty benefits from Council's munificence

10 November 2016

The Swedish Research Council recently approved project grants of SEK 8.1m and 1.8m respectively for two Faculty of Law professors: Carl-Fredrik Bergström and Iain Cameron. In addition, Professor Bengt Domeij and Assiciate Professor Anna-Sara Lind are joining an interdisciplinary project in medicine and health that has been awarded funding of SEK 2.1m.

Professor and project manager Carl Fredrik Bergström, along with Professor Adrienne Héritier (from the European University Institute in Florence and an honorary doctor at Uppsala's Faculty of Law), Professor Dominique Ritleng (from the University of Strasbourg and a visiting researcher at the Faculty) and a junior researcher, are to receive SEK 8.1m in grants for their project 'A Centralisation of Rulemaking in Europe? The Legal and Political Governance of the Financial Market'.

During recent years there have been striking changes in the patterns of rulemaking within the EU internal market. That can be seen, most obviously, in a shift of instruments for rulemaking; from directives which 'leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods' to regulations which are 'directly applicable' and uniformly implemented across all member states. But the changes extend also to procedures for rulemaking and actors involved. Typically, today, extensive 'regulatory frameworks' are established by the EU legislature within which delegation is made of normative and executive powers to the European Commission and a new breed of EU regulatory agencies, for example the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX).

Even if such changes can be observed throughout the internal market, the most prominent development has taken place in the area of 'banking and finances' where EU rulemaking has been intense in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The functioning of the financial market is a central concern of the modern society and the development offers rich opportunities for legal and political science with their complementary views on legal institutions and political processes unfolding within these institutions.

In this project both legal and political science researchers examine if, why and how the patterns of the procedures and instruments used for EU rulemaking in the financial market indicate an increasing centralisation, and what the implications are for the EU system of legal and political governance, focusing on the preconditions for accountability (They will investigate, for example, how scope for judicial proceedings is affected by the form given to the rules, who issues them or the national parliament's influence and control). 

For his project 'Regulating signals intelligence in a comparative perspective', Professor Iain Cameron is to receive SEK 1,770,000 to apply a comparative legal perspective to analysis of signals intelligence agencies' operations.

In June 2013 Edward Snowden, a former employee of a private firm that carried out assignments for the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US, accused the NSA and other signals intelligence agencies of engaging in mass surveillance and bugging of people around the world. Snowden's disclosures triggered an extensive public debate about data privacy and use of the Internet.

To determine whether there are grounds for concern about mass surveillance and bugging, one needs to examine national and international legislation and other legal sources (ordinances, official regulations and court judgments) that regulate signals intelligence agencies. The principal research questions are:

- How are different national models for regulating signals intelligence constructed, and how do they work in practice?
- What judicial checks exist to protect people against the abuse of power?
•- What protection exists for human rights?
•- What are the advantages and disadvantages of the models chosen?
•- How can the models be improved?

The four states to be studied are the US, UK, Germany and Sweden. The first three collect mainly information material through signals intelligence covering all democratic states. Sweden is interesting since this country seems to have made most progress in establishing effective control and surveillance mechanisms.

Some participants in public debate are opposed to signals intelligence as such, and recommend an offensive strategy to undermine this surveillance by using encryption. But signals intelligence is not set to disappear. For democratic states that respect the principle of the rule of law, there are also legitimate reasons to conduct signals intelligence. But signals intelligence must be subject to proper supervision. The question of whether proper controls exist or can be devised in the future may be answered only by means of a detailed comparative analysis of how signals intelligence is actually regulated, controlled and supervised in all democratic states.

A multidisciplinary project which will provide analysis of the ethical and legal aspects of using human embryonic stem cells to develop islets of insulin producing cells for patients with diabetes has received SEK 2.1m from the Swedish Research Council. The project is run in collaboration between the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB), the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology and the Department of Law at Uppsala University. Mats G. Hansson leads a group consisting of Olle Korsgren, Professor of transplantation immunology, Pär Segerdahl, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Anna-Sara Lind, Associate Professor of Public Law, Bengt Domeij, Professor of Private Law.

More about the project


Altogether, the Swedish Research Council approved project grants amounting to SEK 357,755,200 for the whole funding period 2016–20, and of the 870 applications that were received 88 were approved. The approval rate was thus 10.1%.

More about the Research Council's funding decisions (in Swedish)

More about the Research Council's grants to Uppsala University's research projects in humanities and social sciences (in Swedish)

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