Instructions for applying for funds for grand projects 2021

2020-09-09

‘Grand projects’ are those undertaken by a group comprising at least four researchers, with a joint, coherent research task. This task must be more extensive and challenging than would be possible for an individual researcher to address. To secure funds for grand projects, one condition is for an advanced research environment or highly qualified research network, with a sound base in the international research community, to be in place. Grand projects aim to engage in collaboration across subject and institutional boundaries and national borders, and to enable researchers to form a research group that is active in the long term. Grand projects are characterised by a strong international element in the research group.

Eligible to apply: a group of at least four researchers, who may also apply for funding within the framework of grand projects for postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students.

Project period: four to five years.

Amount of grant: a maximum of SEK 5 million a year.


Key dates

  • The application system opens on Monday 11 January 2021 at 9:00 am.
  • The closing date of application is Wednesday 3 February 2021 at 3:00 pm.
  • Notification of whether applications have been approved to proceed to assessment by external experts and subsequent interview will be sent in April 2021.
  • Decisions on whether to approve applications or not will be taken by the Foundation’s Board on Wednesday 6 October 2021.

Applications are submitted in the Foundation’s application system.


Instructions and conditions

A. General

1.
Please note that the whole application must be written in English. Incomplete applications and/or applications written partly in Swedish will not be considered. Neither will applications that clearly fail to meet the Foundation’s basic requirement of relevance to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe.

2.
On this occasion, the application relates to funding from 1 January 2022.

3.
No appendices may be attached, apart from the PDF files that are requested in the application system.

4.
The application must have the grant administrator’s approval. This is obtained by means of a form signed by the project manager and head of department. The form is downloaded from the application system. The undersigned form must be uploaded to the application system not later than the end of the application period, 3 February 2021, at 3:00 pm. The signatures represent confirmation that the project, as described in the application, can be accommodated in the department, including positions, fees and assignments for researchers who are not employed at the University at the time of the application, for the period and on the scale specified in the project plan. The signatures also denote certification that a data management plan will be in place when the project starts, and that the plan is maintained (see also point A 9). Applications that have not been signed by the project manager and head of department will not be processed.

5.
The project manager is responsible for the ongoing project work. The project manager is also the contact person for the project towards the Foundation and the grant administrator when the application is created, during the assessment period and after a funding decision has been made.

6.
If funds for the same or a similar project are applied for from another funder, this must be stated in the application. If funds for the grand project are received from another funder, the Foundation’s secretariat must always be notified of this fact. The project manager may then choose which of the grants to utilise.

7.
The Foundation does not normally approve co-funding of research projects with another funder.

8.
Grand projects funded by the Foundation must be based at Södertörn University, which must accordingly be the grant administrator. In administrative terms, every grand project awarded a grant by the Foundation must be affiliated to a responsible Södertörn University department.

9.
If a grand project is approved, a data management plan is required for data generated in the research that the Foundation has undertaken to fund. This plan must describe how data collected and/or created will be managed in the course of the research, and how the data will be dealt with subsequently. The plan need not be submitted to the Foundation, but the signing of the form by the project manager and head of department mean that the grant administrator also certifies that a data management plan will exist by the time the project commences and, moreover, will be maintained. (See the Swedish Research Council’s information page about how to configure central parts of a data management plan.)

10.
The project manager is responsible for ensuring that ethical review is carried out, and that approval is granted before the research commences.

11.
Researchers with grants from the Foundation must publish their research findings online with open access. This applies to peer-reviewed journal articles and conference publications.

12.
When an application is submitted to the Foundation, information is collected and processed to enable the application to be dealt with. For applications with two or more participants, the project manager is responsible for ensuring that all the participants are informed that the Foundation collects the personal data required for processing the application. See the Foundation’s Data Privacy Policy.

13.
The Foundation publishes details of grants awarded on its website and in its annual report. This information is taken from the applications and, for each, may include the registration number, project manager’s name, project title, department, amount of grant, project period and project summary. The scientific part of the final report on the project is also uploaded to the Foundation’s website.

14.
Information on grants awarded by the Foundation is submitted for publication in SweCRIS, a national database of grant-funded research. The Swedish Research Council is a data controller for the purpose of processing data in SweCRIS.

B. Applicants: project manager and participants

1.
Grand projects may include researchers with doctoral degrees, postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students.

2.
Grand projects must comprise at least four participants (including the project manager, excluding postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students).

3.
All participating researchers for whom salaries are applied for must have obtained a doctoral degree by the date of application.

4.
All the participants to be engaged in research must be named in the application. Exceptions are doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers that must be recruited at the start of the project after an appointments procedure.

5.
If doctoral students are included in the grand project, they must be well supervised and given particularly good conditions for becoming integrated in the research environment.

6.
See overview of Which grants may be applied for simultaneously and Which grants may be applied for if a researcher has an ongoing project.

7.
In a given year, taking part in only one application for funding of research project from the Foundation is allowed, irrespective of whether the researcher applies as the project manager or a project participant. Accordingly, a person cannot take part in for example both a project application and an application for a grand project in the same year.

8.
A project manager for an ongoing project (i.e. one on which no final report has been submitted) funded by the Foundation may not apply, as a project manager, for a grand project until after the final report on the ongoing project is submitted. This also applies to projects involving doctoral students where the student’s part of the project has not been completed. Thus, it is not possible to lead two research projects with grants from the Foundation at the same time.

9.
A project manager for an ongoing project on which no final report has been submitted by the application date, may apply as a project participant in one new grand project at the most; however, see below for maximum working time.

10.
A project participant in an ongoing project may apply as a project participant or project manager in one grand project at the most; however, see below for maximum working time.

11.
A postdoctoral researcher who is recruited may not have a doctoral degree obtained more than three years previously (allowing the usual deduction of time on parental leave, sick leave, service in the Armed Forces and trade union or political office).

12.
Researchers who, at the time of application, are involved in the Professors Programme funded by the Foundation may apply for project funding, but not for their own personal salaries throughout the forthcoming project period.

13.
There is no age limit for applicants seeking grants from the Foundation. The requirement for receiving salary in the grand project is for the researcher not to be in full-time retirement, and to hold a departmental position at the time of the application.

14.
Neither the project manager nor the participants need to be employed by the grant administrator at the time of the application. During the project period, the project manager must be employed at Södertörn University, while the other participants must normally spend some time there.

C. Costs and amount of grant

1.
The budget of a grand project may not exceed SEK 5 million a year. The budget may be distributed differently from year to year but may not exceed SEK 25 million altogether for the entire project period for a grand project.

2.
Funds may be applied for to cover costs related to the grand project, such as salaries, payroll overhead in the form of social security contributions (lönekostnadspålägg, LKP), indirect costs, costs of premises and operating costs (including, for example, costs of investigations, travel, workshops and conferences directly related to the project). It is possible to include assistants and technical staff in the budget for ‘other costs’. The Foundation funds costs of disseminating results from the project with a standard grant of SEK 200,000, which is automatically added by the application system. Costs of printing, language editing, translation, publication with open access etc. may therefore not be included in the application.

3.
The project manager’s working time in the project must be equivalent to at least 20% of a full-time annual position. This working time may be distributed differently from year to year.

4.
Funding for researchers in a grand project may be applied for to cover up to 50% of a full-time annual position per person. Working time may be distributed differently between the years, but may not exceed 250% altogether for one person in a five-year grand project. A researcher included as a project manager or a participant in an ongoing project may apply as a project participant in one project at the most. However, total working time for the ongoing project and the one applied for may not amount to more than 75 per cent of a full-time position annually. Funds for one or more postdoctoral researchers may be applied for to cover 80–100% of full-time salary a year per person for two years. The Foundation does not fund any teaching or other assignments (up to a maximum of 20%) within the framework of the postdoctoral position.

5.
If a doctoral student participates in the project, project funds may not be used as salary for the student’s teaching or other departmental work. For a doctoral student, salary for a maximum of four years with 100% working time may be applied for.

6.
Costs associated with the public defence of a PhD thesis and supervision, and any costs of a doctoral student after the end of the project period, are the grant administrator’s responsibility.

D. Project period, grant availability period and monitoring

1.
At least four years’ and up to five years’ funding for grand projects may be applied for.

2.
An additional year of grant availability is added to the duration of a grand project, counting from the approved start of the project.

3.
Not later than 31 December 2024, the project manager must submit a mid-term report on the grand project. The Foundation normally carries out a review of the financial administration and work in the grand project after three years. In the event of substantial deviations from the operational plan and time schedule, the Foundation can decide to terminate the funding of the grand project. Other forms of monitoring of the project may also occur.

4.
When the grant availability period has ended, a final report comprising a financial part and a scientific part must be submitted to the Foundation within four months. The scientific report is published in unedited form on the Foundation’s website.

E. Assessment

Applications for major projects are reviewed by a specially appointed assessment panel comprising researchers with a broad composition in terms of subject specialisation.

Assessment of applications takes place in several stages

Every panel member reviews the applications on the basis of the set criteria for assessment. At a panel meeting, a number of applications are selected for assessment by external international experts (at least three per application), who submit written statements of opinion. The experts are appointed by the assessment panel. Appointees are academically qualified people with knowledge relevant to the application. The Foundation does not accept nominations of external experts from the applicants. Based on the applications and experts’ written opinions, the assessment panel then interviews a selection of the research groups who have applied for grand projects.

The panel ranks the applications in order of priority and proposes to the Foundation’s Board which applications should be rejected and approved respectively.

After the Board has made its decision, the applicants are notified by email, and also receive the external experts’ statements. No reasons for the decisions are given. For the applications that are approved, a contract for the project is signed by the project manager and the head of department in charge, and by the Foundation.

Assessment criteria

The criteria for assessing applications are:

  • scientific excellence
  • relevance of the research to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe
  • innovativeness and originality
  • the international standard of the research
  • the research group’s composition and skills
  • feasibility of the grand project.

The criterion of relevance of the research to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe is specified in more detail below.

Relevance of the research to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe
According to the Statutes, the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies funds research related to ‘the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe’. ‘Eastern Europe’ refers to post-communist Central, Southern and Eastern Europe. The ‘Baltic Sea Region’ is the Baltic Sea and the states surrounding it (see further information here). The Foundation does not fund research relating exclusively to Sweden or Swedish conditions. However, support may be provided for research that concerns Sweden, or countries entirely outside the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, in comparative studies where this is scientifically justified.

For the research to be deemed highly relevant to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, it must make a practical contribution to our knowledge of this area. Research within the region that involves collaboration with researchers, research institutions, and other stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, is particularly relevant. Research with a more theoretical main question, in which the importance of the Baltic Sea Region or Eastern Europe is not justified in terms of the main question or the link to the region is indirect, is regarded as less relevant.

F. Application instructions

1.
Applications are submitted in the Foundation’s application system. See Instructions for users of the application system.

2.
The whole application must be written in English.

3.
The person who creates the application must also be the project manager. The project manager’s email address must be used to log in to the application system.

4.
It is important to choose the correct form of support. Otherwise, there is a risk of the application not being considered.

5.
Once the application has been submitted, it cannot be changed. If you need to make changes, please contact the Foundation’s secretariat.

The summary may have a maximum total of 1500 characters including spaces. It must describe and give reasons for the research task, and report on theory, method and empirical basis. The summary must be formulated in a way that people with other research specialisations can understand. If the application is approved, the summary of the project will be published in unedited form on the Foundation’s website.

The project description for a grand project must comprise a maximum of 15 pages of text (Times New Roman 12 points, line spacing 1.5).

The project description must give a clear account of the grand project’s:

  • purpose and research question
  • contribution to new knowledge and to the international research frontline
  • theory and method
  • materials
  • time schedule and implementation
  • scientific relevance to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, and usefulness of the project for overall knowledge building in the area
  • project organisation, researchers’ functions and responsibilities in the project
  • how doctoral students, if any, are to be supervised and given particularly good prospects of becoming integrated in the research environment
  • collaboration with guest researchers, if any, and any other research contacts both in the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, and both national and international
  • how the research environment of the grand project is intended to continue after the end of the project period
  • a plan for how both information about the project and the research results are to be communicated, both within the discipline and in society at large.

References are listed separately, with complete references for the sources referred to in the project description. The references may not exceed five pages in length.

CVs may not exceed two pages in length per participant. Every CV must contain the following information: date of doctoral degree, employment, the applicant’s five most important academic publications, previous external research grants, experience of project management and supervision, and international research stays.

Project costs must be specified in the form of a budget in SEK for the whole project period. Fill in the form according to the instructions in the application system.

Budget commentary. Please note that all direct costs, including resource requirements for non-research staff and costs of travel and material collection, must be specified and justified in detail in the space for ‘Budget commentary’. Implementation of the project must be reflected in this commentary. Unspecified or unjustified costs are not approved. Note that the commentary, too, must be written in English and that it is obligatory. The budget commentary may be up to 4,000 characters including spaces in length.

Signatures. The application must be signed by the project manager and the head of department in charge. A special form for these signatures is downloaded from the application system, signed and then uploaded to the application system. The Foundation processes signed applications only.