Americans who question the use of public funds for abstruse research projects may take some solace that the practice knows no national boundaries. Swedish researcher Ake Daun at Stockholm Technical High School was recently awarded 155,000 krona ($31,000) for his new project, ''Punk rockers and their families - a study of the socialization of divergent gangs.'' The cash comes from a fund sponsoring studies aimed at lessening crime in society.
Perhaps the most ironical award was 152,100 krona ($30,420) to Lief G. W. Persson of Stockholm University. His study? ''Measures against economic crime.'' Comments one Swede: ''Those are quite sensible projects compared to some of the crazy surveys we've had in the past. One I remember in particular was an investigation into the different ways pensioners wash their feet.''