New research school to strengthen the digitisation of teacher education programs

Jönköping University (JU), together with nine other Swedish universities, received 40 million SEK from the Swedish Research Council to develop a new research school. The money will be used to strengthen the teacher educators' ability to teach digital techniques in education. “Inspiring and developing,” says Ylva Lindberg, head of research at the School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University, who has been the university's representative while working on the application.


The research school will be called UPGRADE – which is short for Teacher Education and School Digitisation. UPGRADE is a national research school which will accept at least nine PhD students in the coming years. The research school is funded by the Swedish Research Council and the aim is to strengthen the digital competence in teacher education and increase the proportion of teacher educators with postgraduate education. This is done to strengthen the research connection and create better conditions for expanding the teacher education and manage the shortage of teachers.

- For the School of Education and Communication and Jönköping University, this means that the research group CCD - Communication, Culture, and Diversity will be included in the research school. CCD will contribute to the research school with its already established research in digitalisation linked to learning, language and literature. The research school also becomes a development area within JU's strategic investment project LeaDMe - Learning, Digitalization, and Media. The research school creates new opportunities for research collaborations between academia and practice, which the School of Education and Communication actively develops in the areas of education and communication, says Ylva Lindberg.

Currently the plan is that one of the nine PhD students will be placed at the School of Education and Communication, but there could be more since opportunities to co-finance more PhD students together with municipalities or private actors will arise. Through participation in the research school, one will gain access to networks and research conducted within the framework of the research school at the other universities.

- We already have a success story in the research school GRADE, which we received funding for in 2018, and UPGRADE will be a natural continuance. Together they form an entity with a focus on digital techniques in both teacher education and the school system, says Ola J. Lindberg, professor at Umeå University and coordinator of the two research schools.

The research school UPGRADE consists of Jönköping University, the Royal Institute of Technology, the University of Gothenburg, the University of Gävle, Halmstad University, University West, Linnaeus University, Mid Sweden University and Umeå University, which is the host university and coordinator of the project.