General instructions

General instructions for applicants to Formas and aspects to consider when applying for grant funding.

Who can apply for grant funding?

The following applies for all research and development grant calls announced by Formas, solely or jointly with other research funding bodies, nationally or internationally:

  • The main applicant and all researchers participating in the project must have a doctoral degree.
  • Other members of staff working within the project do not need to have a doctoral degree.
  • To apply for a mobility starting grant within the Formas Annual Open Call the applicant does not need to have a doctoral degree on the final day of application for the call. A copy of the degree certificate must however be submitted to Formas by 1 October of the same year that funding is applied for. No document other than a copy of the degree certificate is accepted.
  • Grants for research projects can only be administered by a Swedish university or university college, or other Swedish public organisation that fulfils Formas eligibility requirements for grant administrating organisations. Special rules apply for applications within the framework of the Strategic Innovations Program (SIP). Refer to the call announcement text for each respective call.
  • There is no age limit for applicants and participating researchers within a project, but researchers who are full-time pensioners cannot receive grant funding for their own salary.

To apply for funding within the calls for Communication Projects and Conferences and Workshops the applicant does not need to have a doctoral degree, but the same eligibility requirements for grant administrating organisations apply. To apply for grants within the Strategic Innovations Program the applicant does not need to have a doctoral degree if this is not specifically stated in the call announcement text.

What can you apply for grant funding for?

You can apply for grant funding for direct and indirect costs:

  • Salary costs can be sought for researchers, doctoral students and technical staff, unless stated otherwise in the call announcement text. Social-security contributions should be included in the salary costs. Formas does not grant funding to cover annual salary increases. For existing employment positions the salary that applies at the time of application must be used for each subsequent year. For new employment positions the starting salary at the grant administrating organisation must be used. Salaries for doctoral students can be awarded for up to three years, if not otherwise specified in the call text. Note that the total salary costs awarded by Formas for an individual researcher, doctoral student or other member of the project may never exceed 100 per cent of a full-time position. This means that additional funding for salary costs cannot be accepted by anyone who already receives grant funding from Formas for a full-time salaried position.
  • Operating costs – for example for disposable items, equipment (up to a maximum of SEK 500 000), travel costs, conferences, publication in journals and databases that are Open Access.
  • Depreciation costs for equipment (up to a maximum of SEK 500 000).
  • Costs for premises
  • Indirect costs – overhead costs must be stated according to the practices of the grant administrating organisation. Formas does not allow overhead costs to be applied to depreciation costs for equipment or costs for premises.

Development grants

Formas also funds development projects. For development grants a minimum of 50 percent co-funding is required. A development project is defined as a systematic and methodical use of research results, scientific knowledge and new ideas to develop new, or substantially improve, existing products, processes or systems (OECD Frascati manual). 

Consider the following when writing a grant application

Evaluation criteria

Applications are evaluated based on scientific quality and societal relevance. Overall this encompasses the following five criteria:

Criteria for Scientific Quality

  • Research question
  • Methods and performance
  • Scientific competence

Criteria for societal relevance

  • Potential societal value of the research question
  • Communication with stakeholders/users


All of the criteria must be addressed in the application and applicants are encouraged to clearly and specifically relate the application to these criteria. The applicant is encouraged to be thorough with the structure and clarity of the application, as the review will be based solely on the information provided in the application. Gender and other critical perspectives should be taken into consideration in the applications where this is relevant.

Applications in targeted calls should be reviewed based on the evaluation criteria stated in the specific call text. If no additional criteria are stated, Formas standard criteria for Scientific Quality and Societal Value are applied.

Information about how Formas processes your application and manage conflict of interest


You may write your application in Swedish or English. Formas uses international evaluation panels to assess the applications. For that reason it is recommended that you write in English. For applications submitted in Swedish Formas will translate the research programme text into English before the application is assessed by the evaluation panel. The applicant is not given the possibility to read or make changes to the translated research programme text. Please write budget specifications in English, even when working in the Swedish version of Prisma. Budget specifications in Swedish are not sent for translation but are assessed by an international evaluation panel.

The popular science description must be written in Swedish, while the project description summary must be written in both Swedish and English. If the project is granted funding, Formas has the right to use the popular science description for dissemination of information about the research.

Intellectual property rights

Formas does not claim ownership rights or rights to use the research results from the projects it funds. However, it is a precondition that you comply with legislation and agreements within the area of intellectual property rights, both national international when relevant.

Open access

Research results that are published as Open Access on the Internet can be freely read and downloaded. Researchers who receive funding from Formas must guarantee that their research results will be available through Open Access within six months of publication. Researchers may either publish in journals with an Open Access practice, in journals that archive published articles in large publicly available databases or that archive already published articles in freely searchable databases. Open Access requirements apply only to scientifically reviewed texts in journals and to conference reports. The Open Access requirements do not apply to monographs and book chapters. Funding to cover publication costs in Open Access journals can be included in research project applications as a direct cost.

Formas promotes the accessibility and use of scientific data. This can be by making (meta)data available from research projects funded by Formas in existing national or international databases, as long as this does not contravene national legislation concerning personal data. Read more about Formas policies for open access to research data. (In Swedish)

Anyone applying for grant funding for projects, or the equivalent, needs to fill out and upload Appendix K – research data as a part of the application. If data collection is not part of the project or if it is not possible to make the data available through open sources this should be stated in the research data form. Data should preferably be published within a reasonable period and be made available through relevant national and/or international organisations for data-publishing. 

Categorization of Formas projects under the sustainable development goals

Formas will from 2017 categorize all applications received and all approved projects according to the 17 global sustainable development goals. The purpose of categorizing all applications according to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is in order to be able to show how Formas research funding contributes to sustainable development and in solving various societal challenges. The classification makes it easier for us to provide a more balanced image of our funding portfolio and to describe how well it responds to societal challenges. The Sustainable Development Goals is a system used by many organizations globally, which will increase the usability and comparability of data collected. Furthermore Formas is required to show how we are working to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

When you categorize your project based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals this should be based on the direct purpose or expected implementation of your project results. More information about the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ethical considerations

The applicant should always state whether the project includes specific ethical aspects. If this is the case, the ethical issues in question and the way they will be treated in the context of the research must be described. This may be a matter of research that involves the utilization of personal data, for example, or experiments on humans or animals.

Ethical considerations are of particular relevance to the following issues:

Research on humans and personal data (confidential data)

 If the project concerns research on humans or personal data (confidential information about and from individuals currently living or about deceased individuals where there is a risk that survivors may experience distress due to the publication of the research results) and approval has not already been obtained from an ethical review board, the applicant must present the ethical considerations that concern the project.  If no ethical problems are anticipated to be associated with the research, this must also be stated and justified. The presentation must also clarify how ethical aspects will be managed and related to the ethical codes within the area.

Human and animal research

If the project includes human or animal research, approval must be obtained from an ethical review board. If such approval has not been issued at the time of submission of the application it must be obtained as soon as possible. State on the grant application form if approval has already been obtained or if it will be applied for. When a grant is awarded, it is assumed that the university/university college/corresponding institution where the work will be carried out guarantees that approval has been obtained prior to commencement of research. The representative of the university/university college/corresponding institution confirms this by approving the application.

Central ethical review board

The Ethical Review of Research Involving Humans Act (2003:460), including biological material from humans, is applicable to research that involves physical intervention or is performed using a method intended to affect a human physically or psychologically. Research involving physical intervention involving a deceased person or research concerning studies of biological material removed from a living person or removed for medical purposes from a deceased person that can be traced to the individual involved must also be ethically reviewed. The Act also applies to research that is performed without the expressed consent of an individual and research that concerns sensitive personal data according to the Personal Data Act (1998:204).

In accordance with Swedish legislation the ethical review of research must be performed by regional boards that are independent authorities. The regional boards are located in Gothenburg, Linköping, Lund, Stockholm, Umeå and Uppsala. Appeals against decisions made by these boards may be made to the Central Ethical Review Board. More information can be obtained from The Ethical Review Board website. The ethical review of animal experimentation is also performed by ethical boards. Application forms are available from The Swedish Board of Agriculture website.

Gender and other critical perspectives

It is part of the mandate of Formas to work for gender perspectives to be recognised in research. If you apply for grant funding from Formas you should always consider how issues that concern gender and other power relations, such as class, ethnicity etc., are relevant to the questions addressed by the research. You must in such instances describe in the application how these aspects will be handled within the project.


When you apply for funding from Formas your application must be submitted using the Formas application system, Prisma 

Post-registration and submitting supplementary information

Formas does not allow registration or changes to be made to an application after the closing date for the call. Applications can be opened and edited by the applicant until the final day of application for the call, even if the application has been registered. When the call closes the registered applications are submitted automatically. For calls where applications can be submitted at any time the application cannot be reopened for editing after it has been registered.

Unless otherwise stated in the call announcement text, Formas does not allow supplementary information to be added to an application after the final day of application for the call.

Early rejection

The Secretary General of Formas decides if an application will be rejected without being evaluated.

 Reason for rejection Applicable to the following calls:
The application has been refused by the applicant's organisation/grant administrating organisation. All calls
The application has not been signed by the applicant's organisation/grant administrating organisation within 7 days. All calls
Previously funded projects have not been reported within the set time limit. All calls
The application is incomplete, i.e. mandatory information is missing in the application form or in the appendices. All calls
The research focus is not within Formas’ areas of responsibility. All calls
The application does not fulfil the requirements of a specific call. Targeted call. The requirements are stated in the call text.
The focus of an application does not suit the area of a specific call. Targeted call. The requirements are stated in the call text.
The project leader has ongoing project funding from a prior Formas Open Call. The Annual Open Call.
The applicant has more than one registered and signed application in the Annual Open Call. The Annual Open Call.
The total amount applied for exceeds the average annual amount of SEK 1 million. Research and development projects and Research and development projects for Future Research Leaders in the Annual Open Call.
The date of award of the doctoral degree is not within the time limit required by the call. Mobility Starting Grants and Future Research Leaders in the Annual Open Call.

























Exceptions to these rules may apply in the event of technical problems with the application system Prisma most of the last day of the call. 

Public access/disclosure

An application (including appendices) submitted to Formas is according to Swedish law regarded as a public document. Decisions about grants awarded are published on the Formas website.

Formas transfers information about awarded grants to the Swedish Research Council for publication in SweCRIS, a national database created by the Swedish government containing information about granted research projects. The database is intended to communicate Swedish research and make it accessible to the public and also to enable aggregated statistical analyses. Data transferred to the database includes information about the calls, information from the project application about the applicant/co-applicants, and information about the decisions made with regard to the application. Please note that personal identification numbers and contact information will not be made public. Information in the SweCRIS database may be shared with the university that is the grant administrating organisation for the grant in question. Registration in SweCRIS is voluntary, so please contact us if you do not wish to have your information transferred to SweCRIS.

If you are registered in SweCRIS you have the right to request an extract of the registered information so that you can check what information has been registered about you. The Swedish Research Council is the Controller of Personal Data responsible for handling the data within SweCRIS and is obligated to correct erroneous information if a person who is registered requests this. Contact if you would like further information.


Decisions are made by the Formas Scientific Council based on the recommendations of the review panels. Decisions about grant awards are not subject to appeal.

The applicant can log in and check the current status of the application in Prisma.

The applicants will receive a notification by e-mail after decision.

Applications awarded funding

Applicants awarded grants as well as their organisation should log in to the personal account in Prisma and sign "Approval of terms" after receiving notification of the decision.

When funding is awarded for conferences or workshops it is expected that a representative of Formas is invited to attend the meeting. It is also expected that the organizer announces the meeting in a suitable manner and clearly acknowledges that Formas has provided funding for the event.


The grant recipient/project leader must write a final report on their project including both the project results and project costs. In international calls and calls in cooperation with other funding organisations other requirements for reporting might apply, this is then included in the call text and the guidelines for that call. Here you can read more about Reporting in Formas Direct and Prisma.

How to acknowledge funding from Formas 

When publishing results from projects funded by Formas it must be clearly acknowledged that Formas has contributed project funding. Formas should be acknowledged as follows: ”The Swedish Research Council Formas” or ”The Research Council Formas”.

Ethical Policy

As a governmental, tax-financed research council Formas is accountable to the general public for all of the work that is performed and also for how this work is carried out. Formas' ethical policy.

Kajsa Ljung