The aim of the foundation is to support research of strategic importance for a good living environment. The foundation shall promote the development of robust research environments of the highest international class that will have a positive impact on Sweden's future competitiveness. The research shall play a significant role in solving major environmental problems and contribute to the development of a sustainable society.
An overarching aim of Ways Ahead has been to link natural scientific and technical knowledge about environmental and natural resource issues with existing and new knowledge about the driving forces behind our everyday actions and behaviour as individuals, groups and societies, forces which either give rise to environmental problems or help to solve them and avoid new problems.
MISTRA funds and organises research aimed at solving strategic environmental problems. A MISTRA programme is considered a success when scientifically advanced research has been put to practical use in companies, authorities or other organizations.
MISTRA funds about 20 or so major programmes each of which should have a time span of between six end eight years. Major investment in interdisciplinary research programmes stimulates innovation, new options and new forms of co-operation, benefiting both Swedish environmental research as a whole and Sweden as a nation.
The Government appoints MISTRAS's board and its chairman. The Royal Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry constantly audit MISTRA's activities.
The total cost of the six-years Ways Ahead programme has been about SEK 50 million (about 8 million per year). The programme was funded by a consortium of Swedish research councils and governmental agencies active within the environmental field.