Instructions for applying for funds for two-year postdoctoral projects in 2022

2021-10-18, revised 2021-11-02 (see revision history at the bottom of the page)

A postdoctoral project grant concerns funding for an individual researcher with a recently obtained doctoral degree. The grant must be used to conduct a well-defined research task within a limited period. The researcher personally formulates the research problem, method and implementation.

Eligible to apply: an individual researcher with a doctoral degree, who may apply up to three years after obtaining it.

Project period: two years.

Amount of grant: salary funding may cover 80–100% of a full-time annual position.

Key dates

  • The application system opens on Monday 10 January 2022 at 9:00 am.
  • Stage 1 applications must be submitted not later than on Wednesday 2 February 2022 at 3:00 pm.
  • Notification of approval for applications to proceed to Stage 2 will be sent in March 2022.
  • Stage 2 applications must be submitted not later than on Wednesday 27 April 2022 at 3:00 pm.
  • Decisions on whether to approve applications will be taken by the Board of the Foundation on Thursday 6 October 2022.

Applications are submitted in the Foundation’s application system.

Instructions and conditions

A. General

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.

On this occasion, the application relates to funding from 1 January 2023.

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

From Stage 1, the project manager must secure approval from the grant administrator/head of department in charge that funds are being applied for from the Foundation.

Applications in Stage 2 must have the grant administrator’s approval. This is given by means of a form signed by the project manager and the grant administrator’s authorised representative (usually the 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 on 27 April 2022 at 3:00 pm. Applications that have not been signed by the project manager and grant administrator’s authorised representative will not be processed. See more about signing and what it involves under the heading ‘Application Stage 2, signature’.

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

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

Applying for funds for the same or a similar postdoctoral project from the Foundation and CBEES (the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies) at the same time is not permitted.

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

Projects funded by the Foundation must be based at Södertörn University, which must accordingly be the grant administrator.

If a 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 authorised representative of the grant administrator means that the latter 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 website for examples of how to configure central parts of a data management plan.

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

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.

When an application is submitted to the Foundation, information is collected and processed to enable the application to be dealt with. See also the Foundation’s Data Privacy Policy.

On its website, the Foundation publishes details of grants awarded. This information is taken from the applications and may, for each, 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 published on the Foundation’s website.

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. Applicant: project manager

The project manager must have obtained a doctorate by the date of application.

Funding of postdoctoral projects may be applied for up to three years after the doctorate is obtained (allowing the usual deduction of time on parental leave, sick leave, service in the Armed Forces and trade union or political office).

See the overviews headed ‘Which grants may be applied for simultaneously’ and ‘What the rules are if a researcher has an ongoing project’.

Only one application for funding of a postdoctoral project may be submitted.

In a given year, taking part in only one application for funding of a 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 both a postdoctoral project application and, for example, a project application. If the applicant is included as a researcher in an ongoing project, the aggregate working time for the projects cannot exceed 100%.

The project manager does not need to be employed by the grant administrator at the time of the application. However, during the project period the project manager must be employed at Södertörn University.

C. Costs and amount of grant

Salary funding for postdoctoral projects may be applied for to cover 80–100% of a full-time annual position for two years.

Funds may be applied for to cover costs related to the 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). Conference funding may be applied for attending conferences that are relevant, in terms of research, and for holding minor workshops in connection with the project, but not for major conferences that conclude a project. The Foundation funds costs of disseminating results from the project with a standard grant of SEK 50,000, 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.

Teaching, if any, or other assignments (up to a maximum of 20%) within the framework of a postdoctoral position are not funded by the Foundation.

It is the project manager’s responsibility to find out the grant administrator’s attitude to funding of research that is to be partly conducted in countries other than Sweden. It is the grant administrator for the funding concerned who, where necessary, decides to pay for activities and services carried out in other countries, and is responsible for such payment.

D. Project period, grant availability period and monitoring

Two years’ funding for postdoctoral projects may be applied for.

The Foundation adds an extra year of grant availability to the duration of an approved project, counting from the approved start of the project.

Halfway through the project period, as a rule, the Foundation reviews the project. More information on this mid-term review is provided on the Foundation’s website.

When the grant availability period has ended, a final report comprising a financial part and a scientific part must be sent to the Foundation within four months. The final scientific report is published in unedited form on the Foundation’s website. Other forms of monitoring of the project may also occur.

E. Assessment

Applications to the Foundation for funding of new research projects are assessed by the Foundation’s research committee. This committee comprises a group of researchers with a broad composition in terms of subject specialisation. The composition of the research committee is shown on the Foundation’s website.

Assessment of applications takes place in several stages

The research committee reviews the applications on the basis of the set criteria for assessment. A number of applications are selected for further review and approved to proceed to Stage 2, while the others are rejected. The project manager is notified by email. No reasons for rejections are given. For an application selected for further review in Stage 2, the project manager concerned sends an in-depth application for assessment by external experts (at least two per application), who provide written statements of opinion.

The experts are appointed by the research committee. Appointees are academically qualified people with knowledge relevant to the application. The committee does not accept nominations of external experts from the applicants.

The committee then assesses the in-depth applications and uses the external experts’ statements as a supplementary basis for its proposals. The experts’ statements are also assessed by the committee.

The committee 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 every application that is approved, a contract for the project is signed by the project manager, the grant administrator’s authorised representative and the Foundation.

Assessment criteria

The criteria for assessing applications are:

  • scientific quality
  • relevance of the research to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe.

These criteria are specified in more detail below.

Scientific quality
Research funded by the Foundation must be of consistent highest scientific quality. Overall, the research must contribute to theoretical and methodological development, and display originality and depth.

Relevance to 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’. The ‘Baltic Sea Region’ is the Baltic Sea itself and the surrounding areas. ‘Eastern Europe’ refers to post-communist Central, Southern and Eastern Europe (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. The relevance of 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 lower.

Overall assessment
In light of the criteria specified above, the Foundation’s research committee reaches an overall assessment of which applications can be approved. In this connection, every individual application is first assessed on its own merits, whereupon every individual project is assessed in relation to the other applications. Also assessed is how the application relates to the current international state of research and the feasibility of the project. Where applications are assessed as being of equivalent scientific quality, the committee considers gender composition and the distribution of disciplinary research domains in selecting the projects for which support is proposed.

F. Application instructions

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

The whole application must be written in English.

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

In the application system, it is important to choose the application form for the correct category of support. Otherwise, there is a risk of the application being rejected without consideration.

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

Stage 1 application

The summary may be up to 1500 characters, including spaces, in length. 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, too, can understand. If the application is approved, the summary of the project is published in unedited form on the Foundation’s website.

In Stage 1, the project description for a postdoctoral project must comprise a maximum of four pages of text (Times New Roman 12 points, line spacing 1.5).

The project description must give a clear account of:

  • the purpose and research question
  • the contribution to new knowledge and to the international research frontline
  • theory and method
  • materials
  • time schedule and design
  • scientific relevance to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe and usefulness of the project for overall knowledge building in the area
  • collaboration with guest researchers, if any, and any other research contacts in the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, both national and international.

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. References relate to the academic literature to which the project description refers, and not to letters of recommendation or other testimonials, for example.

CVs may not exceed two pages in length. Every CV must contain the following information: date of doctoral degree (YYYYMMDD); employment position; the applicant’s five most important academic publications, preferably with reference to the proposed project; previous external research grants; experience of project management and supervision; and international research stays. Within this form of support, allowance may be made for time spent on parental leave, sickness leave, service in the Armed Forces, trade union positions or political office. If allowance is relevant, specify the period and reasons for deduction.

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 costs of travel and material collection, must be specified and justified in detail in the space for ‘Budget commentary’. This means, first, that you must provide a realistic calculation of individual costs, and define them precisely at a level of detail that permits assessment of their suitability in relation to the purpose of the project. Second, it means that the costs must be justified and arguments for them presented, based on the purpose and implementation of the individual project. 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 3,000 characters, including spaces, in length.

Stage 2 application

The project description must contain the same information as in Stage 1 but in more detail, and also include a plan for how to communicate within the discipline and to society at large, first, project information and, second, the research results.

In Stage 2, the project description may not exceed six pages (Times New Roman 12 points, line spacing 1.5) in length.

Between the Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications, the project description must be developed. Only minor changes may be made in the other parts of the application. The Stage 1 application and the Stage 2 application may not diverge substantially in terms of study design and amount of funding applied for.


The application must be signed by the project manager and the grant administrator’s authorised representative, who is usually the head of the department where the project is intended to be based. 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.

The project manager’s signature represents confirmation that:

  • the information in the application is correct and in line with the Foundation’s instructions
  • necessary permits and approvals are in place, for example regarding ethical review, by the start of the project
  • a data management plan will be in place by the project start, and this plan will be maintained (see also A.11)
  • the project manager will comply with all the conditions applying to the grant.

The grant administrator’s signature represents confirmation that:

  • the research, employment and equipment described, including employment positions, remuneration and assignments for researchers who are not, at the application date, employed by the grant administrator, can be accommodated at the department during the period and on the scale specified in the application
  • the applicant will be employed by the grant administrator for the period to which the application relates
  • the grant administrator approves the cost calculation in the application
  • the research carried out in the project will be conducted in accordance with Swedish legislation
  • a data management plan will be in place by the project start and the plan will be maintained (see also A.11)
  • the grant administrator will comply with all the conditions applying to the grant.

The parties must have discussed all the above points before the project manager and the grant administrator’s representative approve and sign the application. 

Revision history
From Stage 1, the project manager must inform the grant administrator and/or head of department in charge that funding from the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies is being applied for.