Given decision

National Research Programme for Food – First Call: Syntheses within the food area

Last day of application: 31/08/2017

Day of decision: 09/11/2017

Within the framework of the National Research Programme for Food, Formas announces grant funding of SEK 5 million for syntheses that describe the knowledge status and knowledge needs within the food area.

Decision list (only in Swedish) 2017-11-09

The National Research Programme for Food

The purpose of the National Food Research Programme is to meet the needs that have been identified in the Swedish Government's food strategy: to raise the knowledge level throughout the entire food production chain, to strengthen needs-driven research in order to support productivity and innovation in the entire food production chain, as well as sustainable production and consumption of food and the dissemination of research results. The programme is a ten-year programme that is run in collaboration with other relevant research funding organisations and actors. More calls will be announced throughout the course of the programme.

Purpose of the call

Society is facing major challenges associated with food and knowledge is needed about the preconditions and sustainable solutions to meet these challenges. The scientific knowledge base, as well as the implementation and impact of research and development within the area involve many complex issues. The objective of this call is to obtain a picture of the current knowledge status and knowledge needs for sustainable development of the area through syntheses.

The Formas definition of syntheses

The Formas definition of syntheses is intended as a process through which several research studies are evaluated for the purpose of summarizing results that concern a particular topic. The syntheses must be founded on a systematic review of the literature. The criteria that have been applied for the literature that has been included and the methods that have been selected for the study must be clearly defined. The conclusions must be discussed clearly and transparently in terms of importance and validity and in terms of likelihood and reliability. Syntheses must clearly provide added value, in addition to also being a summary of the relevant literature.

The call

The call welcomes syntheses that illuminate the knowledge status for current topics within the food area that are relevant to social challenges and the global goals for sustainable development. Synthesis applications are welcome within both technological and natural sciences, as well as within the humanities and social science areas. The syntheses can be both individual disciplines or interdisciplinary. Relevant users should preferably be included in the work.

A complete synthesis should contain:

  • analysis of the knowledge status surrounding a relevant topic,
  • a clear description of how the methodical work has been carried out to compile, select and synthesise the literature that forms the basis of the conclusions,
  • identification of knowledge gaps,
  • analysis of why these knowledge gaps are important to address and the degree of certainty surrounding these.

Each synthesis effort is expected to result in a scientific article and a report written in Swedish.

Collaboration between commerce, government agencies or stakeholder organisations and an interdisciplinary approach should be aimed for where such is relevant and suitable for the studied area.

The evaluation process will include a portfolio assessment approach for the purpose of ensuring that a diverse range of different topics are addressed. If several synthesis applications are submitted that address similar topics these will also be evaluated in relation to each other.

Guideline for project funding amount: SEK 1- 1.5 million/project
Project duration: 1 year
Call budget: Up to 5 million SEK

Note that it is possible to apply for funding in this call even for those who have already been granted funding for an ongoing project within a Formas annual open call. The total salary amount provided by funding support from Formas may however never exceed 100% of a full-time position.

Guidelines for application

What the application must contain:

  • Project objectives and purpose
  • Project description
  • Potential societal benefit of the project and communication with stakeholders
  • Budget
  • CV and list of publications for the main applicant and participating researchers

Formas recommends that the application is written in English. The evaluation panels of Formas have an international composition and applications in Swedish will be translated into English before they are given to the evaluation panel for assessment. The applicant will not have the possibility to read or make changes to the application after it is translated. The popular science description must however be written in Swedish, and the brief project description must be written both in Swedish and in English.

Evaluation of the application

The applications are evaluated by an international review panel comprised of active researchers within the area, researchers with specific synthesis competence and individuals with the competence to determine the relevance of the project. The applications are evaluated according to criteria for scientific quality and criteria for societal relevance as described below. In the evaluation of the criteria "Method and performance" and "Scientific competence" the feasibility and suitability of the described methods and the competence for synthesis work will be particularly scrutinized. 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.

Criteria for Scientific Quality

Research question

  • Scientific importance of the objectives
  • Originality and innovativeness
  • Objectives appropriate for the call.


  • Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach shall be considered to be positive when appropriate for the research topic addressed.
  • Gender perspective, class, ethnicity and other social aspects shall be included in the research topic addressed whenever possible.

Methods and performance

  • The feasibility of performance and suitability of the methods for syntheses
  • Tangible and realistic work plan
  • Tangible and realistic plan for scientific publication and information dissemination
  • Coordination of the project and research group, including working with the synthesis results
  • Suitability of a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach
  • Ethical considerations
  • Budget feasibility with regard to the structure of the project and anticipated results.


  • The feasibility and suitability of the methods must primary be considered.

Scientific competence

  • Competence to perform synthesis or other systematic knowledge review
  • Scientific quality of publications
  • Ability to carry out the project according to plan
  • Experience of supervising younger researchers (postdocs, doctoral students, and degree project work for applicants who are themselves young researchers)
  • Experience of project management
  • National and international activities, including projects, networks, commissions, honorary commissions, as well as participation at or organisation of workshops or conferences
  • Interest, experience and ability to communicate research and research results with stakeholders/users
  • Strength and competitiveness of the research group.


  • The quality of scientific publications shall be assessed with regard to the standards within each research area
  • When several researchers collaborate the competence of each scientist and the collective scientific competence of the group shall be assessed.

Criteria for societal relevance

Potential societal value of the research topic

  • The research topic addresses important societal/sector issues within the focus area of the call, nationally and/or internationally
  • The project over the short-term or long-term can contribute to sustainable development, nationally and/or internationally
  • Stakeholder/user needs have been considered in the design of the project
  • The objectives are appropriate for the call.


  • Awareness of stakeholder/user needs may comprise references to e.g. directives, environmental objectives and strategies, as well as discussions with relevant stakeholders/users.

Communication with stakeholders/users

  • Description of relevant stakeholders/users
  • Tangible and realistic plan for involving relevant stakeholders/users in the project and for communication of the syntheses results to stakeholders/users.


  • Stakeholders/users shall be defined in a broader meaning as actors external to and/or sometimes also internal to the research community (depending on whether the project is of a more basic research or applied nature) nationally as well as internationally, who can benefit from the research results or facilitate the future use of the results in society
  • Communication with stakeholders/users can be by different means and over different time-frames, depending on the research topic addressed, but should include different forms of dialogue with stakeholders and potential users of the research and research results. See Help when addressing communication criteria.

Decision about grant awards

The Formas Scientific Council plans to make its decision about grant awards on 9th November 2017. The decisions will be published shortly afterwards on the Formas website. Decisions cannot be appealed.

The Prisma application system

Applications are submitted using the application system Prisma. A personal account is needed to be able to create an application in Prisma. Link to Prisma

The application must contain the following information:

Basic information

Number of years that the application is for (1 year for this call)

Project title in Swedish and English (200 characters)

Popular science description in Swedish (4500 characters)

Summary of the synthesis in Swedish and English (1500 characters)

Be aware that the starting date for the project is stored in Prisma and cannot be altered, as funding for the entire project will be paid out in 2017. Funding for research projects may however be used until 31 December 2018, and final reporting takes place a further 3 months after that.

Research programme

The goals and objectives of the project and a background description containing a summary overview of the research area, including key references (7 000 characters).

Project description (including references) that includes project design, theory, methods, performance and a plan for scientific publication (15 000 characters).

Description of the potential societal benefits of the project and planned interaction with stakeholders/users (8 000 characters).

References (4 000 characters).


Salary, including social-security contributions (in whole numbers of SEK) applied for from Formas for this project for each project participant. For existing employment positions, the current salary at the time of application (including social-security contributions) must be used for each of the subsequent years. For new employment positions the starting salary at the grant administrating organisation must be used for each of the subsequent years. Note that Formas does not grant funding for annual salary increases.

State the proportion of activity in the project. This demonstrates if the project participants contribute with services in-kind or have other funding for performing the project.

Specify running costs and costs for premises (in whole numbers of SEK) according to the practice at the grant administrating organisation.

Specify equipment depreciation costs if relevant for the application.

State indirect costs directly in the project budget (in whole numbers of SEK) according to the practice of the grant administrating organisation. Indirect costs are considered to be overhead costs (OH-costs). Formas does not permit OH- costs to be included in equipment depreciation costs or costs for premises.

Budget specification. Here a short motivation for all salary costs and other costs is required. A description of the total budget for the project, including funding from other sources, must also be described. All other costs must be clearly justified, such as participation at conferences, publication via Open Access, etc.

Ethical considerations

Describe only when relevant to the performance of the project. Read more in Formas General Instructions.


Select a subject area. Then select at least one, but at most three, SCB codes. Finally, select at least one, but at most five, key word(s) to describe the project.

Open Access

Research results published through Open Access on the Internet are available for anyone to read and download. Researchers who receive funding from Formas must guarantee that their research results will be available through Open Access within six months of publication. Read more in Formas General Instructions. 

Formas recommends that all data or metadata generated within research projects funded by Formas are made available, as long as this does not contravene national legislation concerning personal data. Formas policy for open access to research data (In Swedish).


If figures, tables or images are needed to describe the project concept, these may be uploaded as an appendix. A maximum appendix size of 4 MB can be uploaded in jpg, png or gif format.

Grant administrating organisations

Select your grant administrating organisation and add the project department or unit where the project is based. Find out more about Formas requirements for grant administrating organisations.

Approved grant administrating organisations are pre-listed in a menu in Prisma. If your higher education institution is not on the list, contact your institution as it must create an organisation account in Prisma.
When the application has been registered and the call closes your grant administrating organisation will automatically receive your application. The grant administrating organisation then has seven weekdays to sign the application.


The main applicant invites the other participating researchers, who are co-applicants for the project. Participants must themselves be registered and have their own personal account in Prisma. The main applicant invites participants by searching their name and e-mail in Prisma (note that the correct spelling of names and e-mails is required).


The applicant retrieves the information from his/her personal profile that is relevant for the current application. It is also important to notify any potential participating researchers well in advance that they must review and revise their own CV in Prisma so that this is complete and current.

Education: Post-graduate (doctoral) education, undergraduate and graduate education.

Employment: state current position and longer-term relevant previous positions, postdoctoral fellowships, research exchange positions relevant for the research described and any longer-term research career breaks (such as parental leave, illness, military service or political service).

Merits and awards

Associate professorships

Supervision of personnel: doctoral students, postdocs and degree project students; list the total numbers in each respective category and name a maximum of the ten most relevant.

Competitive grant awards: list a maximum of the ten most relevant.

Prizes and awards: list a maximum of the ten most relevant.

Other merits: here the main applicant and the co-applicants must provide a brief summary of their bibliographic profiles that are relevant to the project (maximum 800 characters, including blank spaces).

This must include the following:

i) The number of publications of different types (such as articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, books and other monographs, conference contributions, popular science contributions), ii) Any other publications/citation specifications relevant to the research field of the applicant.

Under additional merits state also other merits relevant to the application, such as popular science texts and documented experience of syntheses or other systematic knowledge reviews, collaboration and research communication (up to a maximum of the ten most relevant).

Intellectual property: for example patents and self-developed public access software programmes, list a maximum of the ten most relevant.

Publication list: The main applicant and participating researchers should specify up to ten of their most relevant publications. Be aware that the publications must be linked from the applicants' personal accounts in Prisma.


The call closes and applications must be registered in Prisma by 31st August 2017 at 2 pm. Generate your application in Prisma preferably well in advance in order to be able to receive help if any problem should occur. Applications can be reviewed in advance at any time during the process. Be aware that it is not possible to make any additions to the application after it has been registered.

The grant administrating organisation must sign the application within seven weekdays. The application will only be available for the grant administrating organisation to sign after the call has closed. The application will therefore not be signed, even if you have registered it well in advance of the deadline. This is because you have the possibility up until the deadline to rescind your application and make changes to it.

Contact information


Katarina Nordqvist
Telephone: +46(0)8-755 40 12

Administrative assistance

Anna Kuznetcova
Telephone: +46 (0)76 000 24 95

Prisma technical support

Prisma IT support

Katarina Nordqvist