Given decision

The challenges and opportunities of urbanization

Last day of application: 05/04/2016

Day of decision: 27/09/2016

The Swedish Research Council Formas announces the availability of SEK 50 million over a five year period (2016-2020) for research and development projects examining urbanization. The purpose of the call is to support research investigating the challenges the increasingly urbanized world brings, how inhabitants are affected by the perception that an urban life is the norm, as well as existing possibilities to meet the needs of a growing population while reducing environmental impact and improving quality of life. This initiative is also aimed at strengthening the capacity of young researchers.

Decision

Decision list (only in Swedish)

Review panels

  • Ingemar Elander, Örebro universitet
  • Beate Volker, Uutrecht University
  • Charlie Gullström Hughes, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)
  • Charlotte Lemanski, University of Cambridge
  • David Lerner, The University of Sheffield
  • Erik Swyngedouw, The university of Manchester
  • Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Uppsala Universitet
  • Gunilla Bjerén, Stockholms universitet
  • Johan Kotze, Helsinki University
  • Kristina Mjörnell, SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut
  • Lukas Smas, Nordregio
  • Michael Woods, Aberystwyth University
  • Pia Westford, Boverket
  • Richard Murray, Mapsec
  • Sofia Thorsson, Göteborgs universitet
  • Stephen Wheeler, University of California UC Davies

An update of the application system Prisma has entailed smaller changes regarding the titles of participants within a project. Please pay attention to these changes as well as the related clarifications in the call text under “Application in Prisma” (Budget and Participation).

Broadcast from the information meeting about the call

Description of the call

Background

Increasing population numbers and resources are concentrated around cities, both in Sweden and throughout the rest of the world. Although urbanization as a process is nothing new, development towards an increasingly urbanized world has quickened pace since the 1950s, when 30% of the world population lived in cities, to the present day when more than 50% of the world population lives in urban areas. Even Sweden has a relatively high degree of urbanization, which according to SCB was 85% in 2010.

According to UN forecasts the urbanized world population will rise to 66% by the year 2050, and the promotion of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable urban environments is one of the 17 new UN sustainability goals. Many cities have become important hubs economically, politically, culturally and environmentally on local, national and international scales, which inherently brings great opportunities; with a significant population density urban areas can be beneficial for development and innovation within the areas of technology, economy and ecology, they can be incubators for new cultural expressions and increased tolerance and, with the help of good infrastructure, they can function as important links between rural areas and other cities. At the same time the growth of cities can also imply major challenges to sustainable development, concerning for instance climate and environment, production and consumption as well as accessibility, equality and democracy.

Formas, the Research Council for sustainable development, has the remit of promoting and supporting research and development in the areas of the Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. In the pleading for the Swedish national research policy for 2017-2027, Formas highlighted rapid urbanization as an important societal issue in great need of more research. The current call focusing on the challenges and opportunities of urbanization further builds on previous targeted calls that Formas has funded within sustainable building and planning, as well as together with other European research funding agencies within JPI Urban Europe.

The purpose of the call

The purpose of the call is to support research investigating the challenges the increasingly urbanized world brings, both for cities and peri-urban areas as well as rural areas, how inhabitants are affected by the perception that an urban life is the norm, as well as existing possibilities to meet the needs of a growing population while reducing environmental impact and improving quality of life. The call supplements the research examining cities, peri-urban and rural areas that is funded by Formas via the annual open call by enabling larger and longer projects with wider perspectives.

The approach is broad and applications are welcome within both technology and natural sciences, as well as within the areas of social and human sciences. The research project may study the challenges and opportunities of urbanization from a disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective, for example by investigating housing and construction, service and welfare, accessibility, social lives and communities, the design of public spaces, power structures, infrastructure, technology, planning and governance, utilisation of resources and provision, ecosystem services, or environmental and climate-related challenges.

The project may focus on both Swedish and foreign contexts and the research approach is encouraged to take a holistic view to investigating urbanization, where the focus could for example be on system analyses or on different forms of power relations. Where relevant the project proposal should consider critical perspectives as well as gender and intersectional perspectives (interactions between power relations such as gender, ethnicity and class).

To strengthen the area over the long-term, the call also aims to stimulate and support the capacity of young researchers. A requirement is that the applicant, or as a minimum a participating researcher, has been awarded his or her doctoral degree within a maximum of eight years prior to the application date (01 January 2008 at the earliest), or alternatively that the project includes funding of a doctoral student or postdoctoral position (read more under the headings "Who can apply" and "What funding can be applied for"). Collaboration between research groups and research disciplines, as well as between different national and international stakeholders is viewed as positive, but is not a requirement.

Application contents and project execution

Information about what the application should contain, eligibility, what funding can be applied for and how the application will be evaluated is provided below. Read the information carefully. More information about the application in Formas' new system, Prisma, can be found under the heading "Application in Prisma". Further information concerning Formas general guidelines for applicants, approved grant administrating organisations and support for registering and applying in Prisma can be found at the end of the call text.

What funding can be applied for

The grants awarded by Formas can only be administered by a Swedish university or university college, or by another Swedish public organisation that fulfils the grant administrating organisation eligibility requirements of Formas (read more about Formas requirements for grant administrating organisations). The applicant (the project leader) and any participating researchers must have a doctoral degree. Other staff members participating in the project, such as a participating administrator, assistant or the like do not need to have a doctoral degree. If the project does not include the funding of a doctoral student or postdoctoral position the applicant or participating researcher must have been awarded his or her doctoral degree within a maximum of eight years prior to the application date (01 January 2008 at the earliest). There is no age limit for applicants, but fully retired researchers cannot obtain funds for their salary from Formas.

Note also that for this call the application must fulfil at least one of the following criteria:

  • The applicant or participating researcher has been awarded his or her doctoral degree within a maximum of eight years prior to the application date (01 January 2008 at the earliest). Parental leave, illness, public service or other similar circumstance that has prevented research activities during the period following the award of the doctoral degree should be specified in the submitted CV and may constitute reason for exemption from the eight year rule.
  • The project includes the funding of a doctoral student position (max. 3 years full-time)
  • The project includes the funding of a postdoctoral position

Salary for doctoral students can be awarded for up to three years full-time. 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 further funding for salary cannot be awarded for a researcher, doctoral student or other project staff member who is already receiving entire salary funding from Formas or from another research funding body.

In this call funding can also be sought for costs related to collaborative activities.

For development projects specific conditions apply. Development work is defined as systematic, methodical use of research results, scientific knowledge and new ideas to develop new, or significantly improve existing products, processes or systems (OECD Frascati manual). Joint financing (minimum 50 per cent) is a requirement for development projects.

Guidelines for funding amounts

The purpose of the call is to supplement the research on urban and rural development funded by Formas via the annual open call by enabling larger and longer projects with wider perspectives. The project applications in this call may be for up to an average of SEK 2 million per year over the total number of years of project duration (max. 5 years, 2016-2020). If the total amount applied for exceeds an average annual amount of SEK 2 million the application will be rejected.

Who can apply

The grants awarded by Formas can only be administered by a Swedish university or university college, or by another Swedish public organisation that fulfils the grant administrating organisation eligibility requirements of Formas (read more about Formas requirements for grant administrating organisations). The applicant (the project leader) and any participating researchers must have a doctoral degree. Other staff members participating in the project, such as a participating administrator, assistant or the like do not need to have a doctoral degree. If the project does not include the funding of a doctoral student or postdoctoral position the applicant or participating researcher must have been awarded his or her doctoral degree within a maximum of eight years prior to the application date (01 January 2008 at the earliest). There is no age limit for applicants, but fully retired researchers cannot obtain funds for their salary from Formas.

Note that the restrictions for the maximum permitted working hours in the project and the maximum number of simultaneously ongoing Formas projects (stated in the Formas Handbook 2015 for the annual open call) do not apply for this strategic call.

What the application must contain

Applications must include a clear description of the project:

  • The aim and objectives of the project
  • How the project will be executed
  • The societal relevance of the project – potential societal value and dissemination of the research
  • Budget
  • CV and publication list for the applicant and any participating researchers

For additional information about the contents of the application please see the headline "Application in Prisma" below.

Evaluation of the application

The applications will be evaluated by an international review panel comprising active researchers and people with competence to assess the relevance of the research. Each application is evaluated according to the criteria for scientific quality (research question, methods and performance and scientific competence) and the criteria for societal relevance (the potential societal value of the research question and communication of the research with stakeholders and users). The fairness of the budget is evaluated in relation to the structure of the project and the anticipated results. Note that the application will be refused if the project budget exceeds an average of SEK 2 million per year over the total number of years of duration of the project. The application will also be refused if it is deemed to fall outside of the framework of the call or if the application fails to fulfil at least one of the criteria for the promotion of young researchers (see the above headline "What funding can be applied for").

More information about grounds for early refusal or rejection of an application can be found in Formas General instructions. 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

The research question

  • Scientific significance of the aim
  • Originality and novelty of the aim, theory and hypotheses
  • Potential for scientifically significant outcomes
  • Aim in line with the call

Clarifications

  • Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches should be considered as being advantageous when appropriate for the research question
  • Gender perspectives, class, ethnicity or other social aspects should be included when appropriate to the research question

Methods and performance

  • Feasibility and adequacy of the scientific methods
  • Innovativeness of the methodology
  • Concrete and realistic work plan
  • Concrete and realistic plan for scientific publication and dissemination of information
  • Coordination of the project and the research group
  • Suitability of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches
  • Ethical considerations
  • Fairness of the budget in relation to the structure of the project and the anticipated results

Clarifications

  • The feasibility and adequacy of scientific approaches and methods should be primarily considered

Scientific competence

  • Scientific quality of the publications
  • Ability to carry out the project according to the project plan
  • Experience of supervision of younger researchers (postdoctoral and doctoral students, as well as degree project students for applicants who are young researchers themselves)
  • Experience of project management
  • National and international activities, including projects, networks, assignments, honorary commissions, participation in or organisation of workshops and conferences
  • Interest in, experience and ability to communicate research and research results to stakeholders/users
  • Strength and competitiveness of the research group

Clarifications

  • The quality of the scientific publications should be assessed, taking into account the standards within each scientific field
  • When several researchers collaborate, the scientific competence of the individual researchers and the collective scientific competence of the group is assessed

Criteria for societal relevance:
Potential societal value of the research question

  • The research question addresses important societal/sector issues within the call topic, nationally and/or internationally
  • The project may, over a short-term or long-term perspective, contribute to sustainable development nationally and/or internationally
  • Stakeholder/user needs have been taken into account in the design of the project
  • The objectives are consistent with the call

Clarifications

  • 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
  • Specific and realistic plan for the involvement of relevant stakeholders/users in the project and for the communication of the research and its results to these parties

Clarifications

  • Stakeholders/users must be regarded in a broad sense as actors outside and/or sometimes also inside the scientific community (depending on whether the project has a more basic research or applied research character), nationally as well as internationally, who can benefit from the research results or facilitate their future use in society
  • Communication with stakeholders/users may take different forms and have different time scales depending on the research topic addressed, but should include different forms of dialogue with stakeholders and potential users of the research and the research results

Granted funding

Formas' Scientific Council is expected to reach a decision on 27 September 2016. The decisions will be announced shortly afterwards on Formas' website. Decisions about grant awards cannot be appealed.

Written statement

All project leaders receive a written statement as feedback from the review panel. This consists of:

  • A score for each criteria
  • An overall score
  • A short written comment

Reporting of projects awarded funding

Formas will demand reporting of each of the projects granted funding according to guidelines that will be notified. The applicant, or alternatively other participating researcher, in projects granted funding is expected to participate in seminars and workshops held by Formas for this call.

Application in Prisma

Applications are submitted directly in the application system Prisma. The applicant (the project leader) initiates the application in Prisma. Formas recommends that applications are written in English as they will be evaluated by an international panel of experts. The popular science description and a brief summary of the project must however be submitted in both Swedish and English. If the application is written entirely in Swedish the application may be translated into English by Formas.

Please note that the call closes and applications must be registered in Prisma by 2 pm on 5 April 2016. Technical support is open until the call closes. Make sure that applications are submitted in good time prior to 2 pm on the final submission day in order to receive help if a problem should arise. The grant administrating organisation must sign the application in Prisma within seven days after the call closes.

Basic information

  • Number of years the project can apply funding for (max. 5 years)
  • Project title in Swedish and English (200 characters)
  • Popular science description in Swedish and English (4 500 characters)
  • Summary in Swedish and English (2 500 characters)

Project description

In the application the research programme for the project is described under three headings:

  • Project aim and objectives (max. 8 000 characters)
    Under this heading the problem formulation of the research project in relation to the focus of the call is described, as well as the aims of the project, originality and objectives. A background description that includes an overview of the research area, including key references, should also be included here. Gender equality aspects should be taken into consideration in project proposals where this is relevant.
  • Project plan (max. 15 000 characters)
    The work plan and structure of the project should be described under this heading, which means a description of the theory, methods and how the project will be performed. State also if any specific fundamental equipment is required for the project and if this is available or if funding is intended to be sought for this. Where relevant, confirm in advance that international agreements and regulations will be complied with and state if any ethical considerations have been addressed.
  • Societal relevance and research communication (max. 7 000 characters)
    Provide a description of the societal benefit of the project under this heading, as well as a plan for how communication with stakeholders and potential users will take place. Describe briefly the national and international collaborations and collaborative activities that are relevant for the project.
    Formas General instructions

Note that the application will be evaluated according to Formas' review criteria, see above under the heading Evaluation of the application. It is therefore strongly recommended that all of these criteria are explicitly and clearly addressed in the application. The applicant is encouraged to be thorough with the structure and clarity of the application, as the evaluation will be based solely on the information provided in the application.

Budget

Project applications in this call may be for up to an average of SEK 2 million per year over the total number of years of project duration (max. 5 years, 2016-2020). Summarize and justify the funding amounts applied for in the application according to the following:

  • Salaries, including social-security contributions (in whole numbers of SEK), for each project participant. Please choose roles in the project from the following options: applicant, participating researcher (postdocs included), participating administrator, PhD student, other personnel with a doctoral degree and other personnel without a doctoral degree.
  • 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. Note that the activity level cannot be lower than the percentage of the salary that is applied for. Please choose roles in the project from the following options: applicant, participating researcher, postdoc, participating administrator, PhD student, other personnel with a doctoral degree and other personnel without a doctoral degree.
  • Specify running costs and any costs for premises (in whole numbers of SEK)
  • State indirect costs directly in the project budget (in whole numbers of SEK) when additional costs have been entered. Indirect costs refer to overhead costs and must be stated in accordance with the cost calculation model used by the host university/research organisation. Formas does not permit overhead costs to be included in equipment depreciation costs or costs for premises.
  • The justification of the budget should include:
    • Description of the total budget for the project, including funding from other sources
    • Job descriptions for all people involved in the project. For doctoral studies the main supervisor must also be stated
    • Justification of salary costs
    • Description of running costs, for example travel to participate in conferences and for research exchange visits and collaborative activities

Participants may remain unnamed. Note that 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 university/research institute should be used. Formas does not grant funding for annual salary increases.

Ethical considerations

Animal and human trials are described when these are relevant to the execution of the project. Formas General instructions

Classifications

Select the subject area and add a subheading. Then select at least one SCB code with two sub-levels to create the combined code (a maximum of three combined SCB codes can be selected). Finally, provide at least three, and at most five, key words that describe the project.

Appendices

In general the application does not require appendices. If the applicant wants to describe the project using figures, tables or images that are difficult to include in the project information, appendices may be uploaded. A PDF of a maximum file size of 4 MB can be uploaded, as well as images in the formats JPEG, PNG, GIF up to a total size of 4 MB.

Grant administrating organisation

  • Select your grant administrating organisation and add the project department or institute.
  • Approved grant administrating organisations are listed in a selectable menu field in Prisma. If your educational institution is not included in the list, contact your institution as it must create an organisation account in Prisma.
  • When your application is registered your administrating organisation will automatically receive your application for approval. The administrating organisation then has seven days to assign your application to an authorized representative for signature.
    Formas requirements for grant administrating organisations

Review panels

No choice is available. The review panel is selected by Formas.

Participation

The applicant (the project leader) can invite a participant by searching for his/her first-name, surname and e-mail address in Prisma (please note that the exact spelling of names and e-mail addresses is necessary). Participants have to create their own user account in Prisma. Invited participating researchers as well as named postdocs can then connect posts from their CV in their user profile to the application. A participating administrator can also be invited to help completing the application form. This person does not have to include a CV for assessment.

CV

Information relevant to the application is connected from each applicant's profile. No separate CV in PDF-format is uploaded for this application. The applicant(s) should however link information from his/her profile to the application by clicking Edit and connecting the following information:

  • Education: Research education, education at basic and advanced levels, as well as any specialist qualifications.
  • Employments: Current position and longer-term previous relevant positions, postdoctoral placements, research exchange visits relevant to the described research project, as well as any extended period of interruption to the research (for example parental leave, illness, public service or other similar circumstance that has prevented research activities).
  • Merits and awards:
    • Docentur (Associate professor)
    • Supervised persons: doctoral students, postdocs, and degree project students (primarily for applicants who are themselves young researchers); state the total number in each respective category and provide the names of a maximum of the ten most relevant.
    • Funding awarded in a competitive context, a maximum of the ten most relevant grants.
    • Awards and distinctions, a maximum of the ten most relevant.
    • Other merits, including bibliometric summary: Here the applicant(s) must provide a brief summary of his or her bibliometric profile for the past 5 year period and in total (max. 800 characters including spaces). This should include the following:

    • H-index and any other relevant citation calculation scales (state according to which database: Web of Science, Scopus or Google Scholar).
    • The number of publications of different types (such as articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, books and other monographs, conference abstracts/contributions, popular science contributions). For younger researchers, state also the number of publications with and without the co-authorship of the supervisor.
    • Any other publications/citation specifications relevant to the research field of the applicant.

      Under other merits, state also additional merits relevant to the application such as popular science texts and documented experience of stakeholder collaboration and research communication, a maximum of the ten most relevant.

  • Intellectual property: For example patents and public access software programs developed by the applicant, a maximum of the ten most relevant.

Publications

State a maximum of the ten most relevant publications. Note that publications are linked to the application in Prisma and should not be uploaded as a separate attachment.

The call closes and applications must be registered in Prisma by 2 pm on 05 April 2016 at the latest. Supplementary information or revisions of the application will not be accepted after the application has been registered.

Links

Note that the Formas Handbook 2015 Part A does not apply for this call. Guidelines for reviewers in the Formas Handbook 2015 Part B do however still apply for this call, but the evaluation criteria in section 17.3 have been ammended (according to the above, in "Evaluation of the application").

Formas General instructions
Formas requirements for grant administrating organisations
Formas instructions for using Prisma
Prisma user support
Apply for grants (in Prisma)

Contact information

Responsible

Ann Rodenstedt, Senior Research Officer, Formas
Telephone: +46 (0)72 554 94 77
E-mail: ann.rodenstedt@formas.se

Administrative assistance

Carina Hillerhag, Research Administrator, Formas
Telephone: +46 (0)8 775 40 63
E-mail: carina.hillerhag@formas.se

IT support

Prisma IT support

Ann Rodenstedt

9/29/2016