Instructions on funding applications for grand projects in 2022

2021-10-18

‘Grand projects’ are those undertaken by a group comprising at least four researchers with a joint, coherent research task. A grand project must be characterised by excellence in the various parts of the application, and as a whole. The research 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 10 January 2022 at 9:00 am.
  • The closing date of application is Wednesday 2 February 2022 at 3:00 pm.
  • Notification of whether applications have been approved to proceed to assessment by external experts and subsequent interview will be sent on Wednesday 20 April 2022.
  • Decisions on whether to approve applications or not will be taken by the Foundation’s Board on Thursday 6 October 2022.

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 2023.

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 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 2 February 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 ‘F. Application instructions’, subheading ‘Signature’.

5.
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.

6.
If funds for the same or a similar project are also 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 research funder.

8.
Grand projects funded by the Foundation must be based at Södertörn University, which must accordingly be the grant administrator.

9.
If a grand project is approved, a data management plan is required for data that is 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 the 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.

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.
On its website, the Foundation publishes details of grants awarded. 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 awarded, 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.
Grand projects are characterised by a strong international element in the research group.

4.
All participating researchers for whom salaries are applied for must have obtained a doctoral degree by the date of application.

5.
All the participants to be engaged in research must be named in the application. Exceptions are doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers who must be recruited at the start of the project after an appointment procedure.

6.
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.

7.
See the overview of ‘Which grants may be applied for simultaneously’ and ‘Which grants may be applied for if a researcher has an ongoing project’.

8.
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.

9.
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. An exemption is made for research networks: a person who is the project manager of an ongoing research network may apply for a new research project.

10.
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.

11.
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.

12.
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).

13.
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 during any part of the project period.

14.
There is no age limit for applicants seeking grants from the Foundation. To receive salary in the grand project, the researcher may not be in full-time retirement during the project period. The project manager must hold a position throughout the project period.

15.
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). Conference grants are applied for to allow attendance at conferences relevant to the grand project in terms of research, and holding of small workshops connected with the grand project, but not for major conferences that mark the completion of a grand 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 75% of a full-time annual position per person. Working time may be distributed differently between the years, but may not exceed 375% 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 can be applied for. However, any costs of a doctoral student after the end of the project period are the grant administrator’s responsibility.

7.
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 appoint foreign staff or pay for activities and services carried out in other countries, and is responsible for such appointments and payment.

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

3.
Roughly halfway through the project period, the project manager must submit a mid-term report on the grand project. The Foundation’s secretariat will contact the project manager when the time comes. In the event of substantial deviations from the operational plan and time schedule, the Foundation can decide to terminate its 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 sent 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. The composition of the panel is shown on the Foundation’s website.

Multi-stage assessment of applications

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 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 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
  • the 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’. 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. 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 project manager. The project manager’s email address must be used to log in to the application system.

4.
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.

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 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 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 purpose and research question
  • the contribution to new knowledge and to the international research frontline
  • the contribution to innovativeness and originality
  • theory and method
  • materials
  • time schedule and implementation
  • research relevance to the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, and the usefulness of the project for overall knowledge building in the area
  • project organisation and the 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 in the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, 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. References relate to the 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 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’. 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 network. Second, it means that the costs must be justified and arguments for them presented, based on the purpose and implementation of the individual network. 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 grant administrator’s authorised representative, who is usually the head of the department where the research network 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.9)
  • the project manager will comply with all the conditions applying to the grant.

The grant administrator’s signature represents confirmation that:

  • the activity described, the appointment and the equipment, including positions, remuneration and assignments for researchers who are not employed by the grant administrator at the time of the application, 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 is conducted in accordance with Swedish law
  • a data management plan will be in place by the time the project starts, and also that the plan is maintained (see also A.9)
  • 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.