To apply for a grant for Research projects for early-career researchers, the main applicant must have completed their doctoral degree January 1, 2013 at the earliest and no later than December 31, 2019. Funding can be applied for a maximum of 4 years and a total of 4 million SEK.
Formas’ Annual Open Call offers two types of grants to apply for: Research projects and Research projects for early-career researchers. The purpose of the Annual Open Call is to enable researchers to formulate their own research questions based on societal challenges within Formas’ areas of responsibility. The research we fund should be of the highest scientific quality and be of relevance for sustainable development of society. The research can be both basic research and needs-driven for the ecological, economical and socially sustainable development of society.
To apply for a grant for a research project for early career researchers, the main applicant must have obtained a doctoral degree, diploma issued, no earlier than January 1, 2013 and no later than December 31, 2019. Deductible time, as parental leave, sick leave, military service, political duties or other similar circumstances, may be cause for granting exceptions to the time rule. The grants may only be administered by a Swedish university, university college or public agency that meets Formas’ criteria for administrating organisations for all types of calls.
Research projects that are judged to be outside of Formas’ areas of responsibility are ineligible to be granted funding and will be rejected before review.
Before you apply
- The main applicant must have completed their doctoral degree two to eight years ago. For the application year 2021, this means 1 January 2013 at the earliest and no later than 31 December 2019.
Deductible time: interruptions in research
- Your doctoral degree can be approved for the Annual open call even though it was issued earlier than 1 January 2013. This only applies if you have not been able to conduct research during the period immediately following the doctoral degree due to an approved reason for deductible time. To claim deductible time, you must specify the approved reason(s) and time interval(s) in the CV section of your application. The deductible time shall not be stated as a lump sum but shall be clearly specified in periods with dates and percentages of absence from research activities. Exceptions for deductible time can include parental leave, sick leave, military service, political duties or other similar circumstances. Please note that we do not approve other employment, unemployment or holidays as deductible time. Formas only performs eligibility checks on registered applications after the call has closed. So, you as an applicant are responsible to calculate the deductible time and see if the date of your doctoral degree will be within the approved time interval before you apply to the call. Your application can be rejected if it contains procedural errors in the mandatory information, regarding deductible time, required in the application form. Your application will be rejected if your claimed deductible time does not meet the approved reasons or the time interval requirements of a doctoral degree for the call. Please note that you cannot have deductible time after 31 December 2019.
- Participating researchers must hold a doctoral degree by the close of the call at the latest. A licentiate degree or research competence corresponding to a doctoral degree is not counted as a doctoral degree. Applications where participating researchers do not have a doctoral degree will be rejected. Other staff involved in the project do not need to have a doctoral degree.
- The proposed grant recipient must be stated as the main applicant in the application.
- Grants for Research projects for early-career researchers may only be administered by a Swedish university, university college or public agency that meets Formas’ criteria for administrating organisations.
Become an administrating organisation for all types of calls
- There is no upper age limit for the main applicant and participating researchers. However, researchers who are full-time pensioners are ineligible to receive funding towards salaries, without first reducing their pension by the corresponding percentage.
- The main applicant may register a maximum of one project application to Formas in the Annual open call 2021. Researchers who meet the eligibility requirements in both grants (Research projects and Research projects for early-career researchers) are only allowed to submit one application. If the main applicant has more than one registered application in Prisma after the call has closed, all the main applicant’s applications in the Annual open call 2021 will be rejected.
- A main applicant is allowed to simultaneously apply as a participating researcher (co-applicant) in other applications in the Annual open call 2021.
- An applicant is not allowed to submit the same application with different main applicants under Formas’ Annual open call. This applies within and between both the Grant for Research projects and Research projects for early-career researchers. All finally registered applications that have the same content will be rejected.
- The duration of a project must be 12, 24, 36 or 48 months, that is one, two, three or four years.
- Project period indicates the period during which project funds will be disbursed (pay-out period) from Formas and how long the funds can be utilised (availability period). A project is counted as ongoing during the years funds are disbursed from Formas, even if the availability period is longer than that. It is only allowed to have one ongoing project grant as a project manager (main applicant) under Formas’ Annual open call. Project applications from researchers who already have an ongoing project grant with pay-out period during 2022 from one of Formas’ Annual open calls, regardless of the grant type, are rejected before review. It is, however, allowed to have an ongoing project from an Annual open call if the project’s pay-out period has passed but the availability period is still ongoing in 2022.
- Funding can be applied for under the Annual open call 2021 if the main applicant has an ongoing project that ends later in 2021, as long as the pay-out period does not continue into 2022.
- It is possible to apply for the Annual open call 2021 if the main applicant has ongoing project grants from one of Formas’ targeted calls.
When you apply for project funding, you can apply for grants to cover both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include costs for salaries, equipment and travel. Indirect costs are costs that are shared with others in your organisation, such as for administration, IT and renting of premises. Indirect costs are sometimes called overhead costs.
- Grants for Research projects for early-career researchers can be used to cover salaries for researchers, doctoral students and other staff.
- From 2021, funds can be granted for annual salary increases, in the Annual open call.
- Grants for Research projects for early-career researchers can include, in addition to salary funding, funding to cover operating costs (for example consumables, purchase of services, equipment, travel, conferences, publication in peer-reviewed journals and open access databases), depreciation costs for equipment and premises costs. The maximum amount allowed for equipment and depreciation costs is a total of 500 000 SEK for both costs.
- If funds will be transferred from the grant administrating organisation to another organisation that participates in the project, the receiving organisation’s overhead costs can be applied to the funds transferred. Explain and report the various overhead costs in the budget specification. The total overhead cost of the project should be entered into the budget table.
- International collaboration. Grants from Formas can be used to fund research that is partly conducted outside Sweden, although the research must be initiated and managed from Sweden. The administrating organisation must be located in Sweden and approved by Formas and is responsible for hiring any foreign staff or paying for activities or services outside Sweden in accordance with the administrating organisation’s guidelines.
- Grants for Research projects for early-career researchers can cover a maximum of 1 million SEK per year, on average, over the years the application is valid for. So, applicants can apply for more than 1 million SEK for one year as long as the amount applied for during another year of the project period is less than 1 million SEK. Applicants may not apply for 4 million SEK in total for a period shorter than 48 months.
- If the total amount applied for exceeds the average Annual open call amount of 1 million SEK, the application will be rejected.
- Note that the total salary amount for a single researcher, doctoral student or other staff must not exceed 100 percent of full-time employment. This means that additional salary funding cannot be granted to researchers, doctoral students or other staff who already receive grants or contributions with full salary funding.
- Funding can be requested for a maximum of four years (48 months).
- A research project under the Grant for Research projects for early-career researchers in the Annual open call 2021 can start on 1 January 2022 at the earliest and is expected to start during the 2022 calendar year.
You should write the application in English since the review panel consists of many international reviewers. For applications written entirely in Swedish, only the research program will be translated by professional translators into English. In such cases, it will not be possible for applicants to view or make linguistic adjustments to the application after it is translated and submitted to Formas’ review panel for assessment. The popular science description must be written in Swedish, while the abstract should be in both Swedish and English. Please note that you should always write the budget specification and your CV in English. Any Swedish budget specification or CV will not be translated but will instead be reviewed as is by the international review panel.
According to Swedish law, your application and its appendices are considered as general public documents once they have been submitted to us. This means that anyone can request and read your application. Before we disclose any applications we always conduct a confidentiality assessment, but we can only hide information as legislated for in the Public Access and Secrecy Act (2009:400).
The popular science description and project abstracts in Swedish and English will, if the project is granted funding, be published in open access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of these fields should not contain sensitive information.
We at Formas are very keen to fund projects that maximise positive and minimise negative impacts on the environment and climate. We therefore encourage grant applicants to design their projects so that collaboration takes place primarily through online meetings and that any necessary travel takes place in a climate-smart way. We also suggest that you include measures that minimise energy use and other resource consumption, emissions and waste in project planning. However, this will not be part of the assessment of your application.
Formas is tasked with working to achieve sustainable societal development. Crucial to such development is that it is equal and inclusive. Formas, therefore encourages grant applicants, to design projects so that they can contribute knowledge that reflects and is relevant to different groups in society. Formas also encourages applicants to consider that the project group has an even gender distribution and that it includes participants with different backgrounds and experiences. However, this will not be part of the assessment of your application.
How to apply
You apply in Prisma
To apply for a grant from Formas, you as main applicant should register an application online in the Prisma application system. To create an application in Prisma, you need a user account. We recommend that you create an account and an application as early as possible and contact Formas with any questions in good time.
In order to register an application, you as main applicant must have one, by Formas approved administrating organisation for all types of calls.
All limits for the maximum number of characters refer to characters including spaces. A recommendation is to choose the Arial font in font size 12 for the information you enter in all text boxes.
Note, that if you write your application in a word processing program and then paste your application into Prisma, there is a risk the formatting will disappear.
To ensure you don’t risk losing valuable information, tables and figures with advanced formatting or formulas should be uploaded as an appendix.
Your application must include a clear description of the project under the following sections:
- Number of years applied for.
- Project title in Swedish (max. 200 characters including spaces).
- Project title in English (max. 200 characters including spaces).
- Popular science description in Swedish (max. 4 500 characters including spaces). The popular science description will, if the project is granted funding, be published in open access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of this field should not contain sensitive information.
- Abstract in Swedish (max. 1 500 characters including spaces).
- Abstract in English (max. 1 500 characters including spaces).
The project abstracts in Swedish and English will, if the project is granted funding, be published in open access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of these fields should not contain sensitive information.
- Aims and objectives of the proposed project, and a background description containing an overview of the research area (max. 7 000 characters including spaces).
- Description of the project, including a summary of the structure, theory, methods, performance, and a concrete and realistic plan for scientific publication and communication of results (max. 15 000 characters including spaces).
Include the following points if you consider them relevant to the project:
- a short description of existing and future needs for basic equipment
- a brief description of national and international collaboration
- confirmation of compliance with international agreements and regulations
- supervisor if funding is sought for a doctoral student.
- Description of the societal value of the research question and planned communication with stakeholders and end users (max. 8 000 characters including spaces).
Briefly describe the societal relevance of the research, how the project in the short or long term can contribute to sustainable development, how stakeholders and/or end users' needs have been taken into account in the design of the project and how the research and its results are communicated with and benefit stakeholders and end users.
Support for addressing grounds of assessment for societal relevance and communication (pdf)
- References. List the in-line references pertaining to the above sections in a separate field (max. 5 000 characters including spaces).
You report the project budget in Prisma Note that you should always write the budget and budget specification in English; any Swedish budget specification will not be translated but will instead be reviewed as it is by the international review panel. In Prisma, amounts should be written in full. For example, 1 million SEK should be written as: 1 000 000 SEK.
The budget should include:
- Salaries including social fees for each person in the project, that is, researchers, doctoral students and other staff for whom there is an employment relationship.
Note that the total salary amount for a single researcher, PhD student or other staff must not exceed 100 percent of full-time employment. This means that additional salary funding cannot be granted to researchers, PhD students or other staff who already receive grants or contributions with full salary funding.
Researchers who are full-time pensioners cannot, in addition to their pension, receive funding for their own salary, without first reducing their pension by the corresponding percentage.
- Percentage of salary refers to the percentage of the applicant’s full-time salary that is equivalent to the salary in the project.
- Activity level in the project refers to the percentage of full-time service a project participant contributes. It indicates whether the applicant contributes in-kind services or other funding for completing the project.
- Running costs can include the cost of consumables, travel, conferences and publication fees for open access journals and databases. This also refers to research services, technical knowledge, consulting services and corresponding services that have been purchased or licensed from external actors on market terms and that are used exclusively for the project. These purchased services must be reported excluding VAT. Specify running costs in accordance with practices at the administrating organisation.
- Equipment costs and depreciation costs. Specify depreciation costs for equipment if relevant to the application. The total maximum amount you can be granted for equipment and equipment depreciation costs is 500 000 SEK in total.
- Premises. You can apply for funding for premises if this is not already included in the overhead cost in the project budget. Specify premises costs in accordance with practices at the administrating organisation.
- Total applied/Subtotal regard data already completed in previous budget tables and will be automatically transferred to this table.
- Indirect costs relate to overhead costs. Specify the indirect costs in the project budget in accordance with the practices at the administrating organisation. If funds will be transferred from the grant administrating organisation to another organisation that participates in the project, the receiving organisation’s overhead costs can be applied to the funds transferred. Explain and report the various overhead costs in the budget specification. The total overhead cost of the project should be entered into the budget table. Formas does not allow overhead for equipment depreciation costs or costs of premises.
- Other costs refer to funds that are not sought for but that are relevant for completing the project. An example is co-funding from collaborative partners. Also specify whether the project receives funding from other sources.
- Total cost refers to a budget summary.
- Budget specification. Provide a brief justification of the budget in words. Indicate how the amount applied for is divided into the amount per year and the total amount per organisation if several organisations are applying. Provide a brief justification for all salary costs and other costs. A description of the total project budget, including funding from other sources, should also be included. All other costs must be clearly justified, such as costs for participating in conferences, publication fees for open access to publications and data, etc. If you write in Swedish, please note that a budget specification in Swedish will not be translated to English but is a part of the evaluation of the international review panel.
You must specify whether there are specific ethical concerns in your project. If so, you must describe the relevant ethical considerations and how they will be managed. Examples include research that uses personal data, or experiments on humans or animals.
If you are researching people, human tissue or sensitive personal data, you must obtain ethical approval from the Swedish Ethical Review Authority. In the case of animal testing, you must also have ethical approval. You can apply for this via the Swedish Board of Agriculture's e-service.
You must state in your application whether you have ethical approval or not. If you do not have it, and your application is granted funding, you must have ethical approval before the described experiments begin.
Even if your research is not expected to involve ethical approval, you should write this in your application, and justify how and why.
Formas uses project classifications only in internal analyses and supporting documentation on an overall level. The classifications are made when the applicant states the subject area, SCB codes and at least one Sustainable Development Goal the project can contribute to.
- Subject area. Select at least one and a maximum of three subject areas and add a sub-heading.
- Research subject (SCB code). Select at least one and a maximum of three SCB codes with two sub-levels that together form the entire code.
- Keywords. Select at least one and a maximum of three keywords describing the project.
- Sustainable Development Goals. Select a minimum of one and a maximum of three Sustainable Development Goals that fit your project. When selecting more than one goal, set the goals in order of priority. As the meaning of the goals is sometimes narrower than what the title indicates, we encourage you to follow the link and read in more detail about the goal/goals you intend to specify to ensure that the intended research contributes towards achieving that particular goal.
Read more about the Sustainable Development Goals on the UN Development Programme website.
- Choose the review panel which you wish to have your application assessed by.
- Choose in order of priority two additional review panels as alternatives.
- If Formas judges that a different review panel than one of the three proposed is better qualified to assess an application, we reserve the right to transfer the application to another review panel.
Administrating organisation – the organisation receiving the grant
In this call, only applicants who have an approved administrating organisation for all types of calls can register an application. Prisma contains a default list of approved administrating organisations
- Select your approved administrating organisation from the drop-down list.
- Select your project site in the drop-down list.
An administrating organisation is the organisation that receives the grant from Formas when a grant is awarded. The main applicant must have a, by Formas, approved administrating organisation.
- The main applicant invites participating researchers.
- A participating researcher is a researcher with a doctoral degree that is considered as a co-applicant for the project. A participating researcher must hold a doctoral degree by the close of the call at the latest. This must be outlined in the CV. See the CV section. Please note that a licentiate degree or research competence corresponding to a doctoral degree is not counted as a doctoral degree. Doctoral students cannot be participating researchers. It is also possible to have participating administrators, they are not involved in the project but help you fill in the application form.
- Each participant must have created a user account in Prisma.
- The main applicant invites people to participate in the application process by searching for their given name, surname and email address in Prisma (note that exact spelling of names and email addresses is required).
- Please note that invited participating researchers must accept the invitation to be a participating researcher and transfer their CVs and publications in the application so that the main applicant can register the application when it is completed. See further details in the CV section.
- The main applicant retrieves the data from their personal profile in Prisma.
- Participating researchers (Co-applicants) add their CV details from their profile to the application in Prisma. A participating researcher must hold a doctoral degree by the close of the call at the latest. This must be outlined in the CV. Please note that a licentiate degree or research competence corresponding to a doctoral degree is not counted as a doctoral degree. Doctoral students cannot be participating researchers.
- Applicants should review their CV in Prisma in good time to ensure that it is complete and up to date.
- If participating researchers have not filled in the required fields correctly, the main applicant will not be able to complete the registration of the application.
- Participants who are not co-applicants do not have the opportunity to attach their CV information, instead their competence for the project should be described in the research program.
The CV information should include
Education. Postgraduate (doctoral), undergraduate and graduate level.
Professional history. Current position and relevant previous longer-term positions, postdoctoral residencies, research exchange visits relevant to the described research project, and any significant period of interruption in the research (such as parental leave, illness, military service or political duties).
Merits and awards:
- Associate professorships.
- Supervision. Doctoral students, postdoctoral students, and exam project students; add as an individual or/and a group. When adding a group, state the total number in each respective category. When adding an individual provide the names of the most relevant supervisions (max. 10).
- Grants awarded in competition. Specify the most relevant grants (max. 10).
- Merits and awards. Specify the most relevant ones (max. 10).
- Other merits, including summary of publications. Here the main applicant and participating researcher’s publication history, for the last five years and in total if the applicant's active research period is longer than five years, should be summarised (max. 800 characters including spaces).
This summary should include:
- The number of publications of various types (such as articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, books and other monographs, conference papers and popular science contributions).
- Any citation measures must be stated without self-citations and from which database these are retrieved.
- The summary should not contain information about the H-index, Journal Impact Factor or any other type of measure used to rank publishers or journals. Under “Other merits,” you can list other qualifications that are relevant to the application, such as any popular science publications or proven experience of collaboration and research communication (max. 10).
- Intellectual property: For example, patents and open source software that you have developed (max. 10).
List of publications
The main applicant and participating researchers should list up to ten of their most relevant publications. Note that the publications should be linked from the applicant’s personal profiles in Prisma. You must report the publication summary in Prisma under Other merits.
Appendix for illustrations. If you need figures, tables or images to describe the project, you can upload them as attachments here. A maximum of one PDF attachment of 4 MB can be uploaded. Please note that a CV should not be attached as an appendix.
After registering your application
You can make changes to your registered application (unregister it and re-register) until the call closes at 14:00 on Thursday 8 April. After that, the status of your application will change from “registered” to “finally registered”. Unless any errors have been identified in Prisma, no changes may be made to the final registered application. Furthermore, you cannot make any additions via, for example, email or by phone, and the application will be assessed in its existing condition.
Your finally registered application is automatically sent to the administrating organisation when the call is closed. The administrating organisation has seven days to sign the application digitally in Prisma.
We first verify whether your application falls within Formas’ areas of responsibility and the scope of the call. If it does, it continues to a review panel for assessment. If it does not, it is rejected.
Your application can also be rejected if:
- It contains procedural errors or is incomplete, meaning that it lacks the necessary information in the application form or the appendix. The basic requirements that must be met in this call can be found in Applicant and organisation requirements.
- It has not been signed or is rejected by the administrating organisation.
The main applicant has not finalised their reporting for completed projects in any of Formas’ other calls.
- The main applicant has applied for more than one million per year, on average.
- It contains procedural errors in the mandatory information, regarding deductible time, required in the application form.
The applications are assessed and ranked in one of Formas’ ten review panels for the Annual open call based on what is described in the application. It is therefore important that the application is clear, and that all important and relevant information is included.
The review panels are problem oriented and broadly defined in order to cover Formas’ different areas of responsibility. Each panel includes both active researchers and users of research results who are qualified to assess the potential societal benefit. A majority of the review panel members are researchers. The review panel members have the expertise required to assess applications within the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, health sciences and engineering sciences within Formas’ areas of responsibility. The panels can also review multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research.
Applications are assessed with respect to scientific quality and societal relevance. This includes the following four grounds of assessment:
Grounds of assessment for scientific quality
- Research question
- Scientific relevance of the purpose.
- Originality and novelty of the purpose, theory and hypotheses.
- Possibility of significant scientific results.
- Method and performance
- Feasibility and suitability of the scientific methods.
- Well-defined and realistic work plan.
- Coordination of the project and the research group.
- The appropriateness of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, where relevant.
- Where the proposed research requires ethical considerations, how these are taken into account.
- Reasonability of the budget in relation to the implementation of the project.
- Scientific competence
- Scientific quality of the publications.
- Ability to carry out the project according to the project plan.
- Experience of supervision.
- Project management experience.
- National and international activities, including projects, networks, commissions, honorary commissions, participation in or organisation of workshops and conferences.
- Interest in, experience and ability to disseminate research and research results to stakeholders/end users.
- Strength and competitiveness of the research group.
Grounds of assessment for societal relevance and communication
- Societal value of the research question and communication of the result
- The research question involves important social/sectoral issues, nationally and/or internationally.
- The project has the potential over a short-term or long-term perspective to be utilised and contribute to sustainable development nationally and/or internationally.
- Stakeholder/end user needs have been taken into account in the design of the project.
- A concrete and realistic plan for both, scientific publishing and communication of results with relevant stakeholders and/or end users throughout the project’s duration.
All grounds of assessment must be addressed in the application, and we advise applicants to clearly relate their application to these grounds of assessment. We also strongly advise applicants to structure and write the application clearly and accurately, as the review is based solely on the information contained in the application.
Formas’ Scientific Council is expected to reach a decision on 25 November 2021 concerning which projects will be granted funding. Decisions will be announced the following day, at the latest, on Formas’ website. Information that decisions have been made will be sent out via email from Prisma. The applicant’s decision is available in Prisma. Decisions about funding grants cannot be appealed.
The final financial and scientific reports for projects granted funding must be submitted to Formas within three months of the end of the availability period. For projects longer than 18 months, financial statements must be submitted each year.
How to report expenses and results
Results from research funded by Formas must be published with open access.
Open access to research results and data
You need to have a data management plan for the data produced in the project. If you receive funding, you need to develop a plan for data management. The plan should not be sent into us but you should be able to present the plan upon request. We recommend that you follow the guidelines for data management plans developed by Science Europe. Read more about the guidelines in the report Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management
Formas shares information about awarded grants to SweCRIS, a national database of grant-funded research that was instituted by request of the government.
Support and shortcuts
- Ethical policy
- Formas’ review process
- Formas’ own sustainability work
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Good to know before you apply
- How it works
- Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management
- Prisma online user support
- Review panels in the Annual open call
- Support for addressing grounds of assessment for societal relevance and communication (pdf)
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Who can become an administrating organisation for all types of calls?
For more specific questions regarding the call contact the responsible persons for a review panel
Webinars – ask us about the call
During 6-8 April, Formas Hotline answers general questions about the call between 9:00–16:00 CET. We are closed for lunch 12:00–13:00 CET.
Telephone: +46 (0)8-775 40 05
Chat with us
From 6–8 April, Formas’ chat service answers general questions about the call between 9:00–16:00 CET. We are closed for lunch 12:00–13:00 CET.
March 25, 2021 Clarification regarding grants to researchers who are full-time pensioners (Applicant and organisation requirements, and Budget).
March 25, 2021 Clarification regarding annual salary increases (Costs that qualify for funding).