Applying for a grant for research infrastructure

The Swedish Research Council funds research infrastructure of national interest within all fields of science. Here you can read how the process works – from our inventory of needs for new research infrastructure, via our call for proposals, to the grant decision. The whole process takes around two years.

1. We inventory the needs

Every two years, the Swedish Research Council conducts an inventory to capture new needs for research infrastructure of national interest. The proposals we are looking for shall relate to:

  • Needs for entirely new research infrastructure.
  • Needs for bringing together and significantly developing existing resources into a research infrastructure. All component parts shall be of national interest, and the bringing together of them shall result in clear added value for research within the field.
  • Needs for comprehensive development within existing infrastructures with funding from the Swedish Research Council. The aim shall be to create a significant change to the scientific production or the technical approach. Routine maintenance or gradual improvements shall not be included.
  • Needs for new international research infrastructure – both needs for Swedish participation in the build-up of new international research infrastructure and for Swedish membership of existing research infrastructure.
  • The needs inventory 2023–2024 also includes research infrastructures with ongoing grants that will terminate in the near future, and which are therefore also planning to apply for a grant under the upcoming call.

The inventory is aimed at higher education institutions, public authorities with research responsibility, research funding bodies and researcher teams.

Once the inventory is completed, we start our assessment and prioritisation of the proposals.

2. We assess and prioritise the proposals

The Swedish Research Council’s Council for Research Infrastructures (RFI) has three advisory groups and one e-infrastructure committee that review and prioritise the proposals from the needs inventory. Ahead of the assessment, the groups consult the Swedish Research Council’s scientific councils and committees involved. They also conduct a dialogue with the Universities’ Reference Group for Research Infrastructures (URFI).

The proposals for new needs for research infrastructure are assessed based on their scientific quality and strategic/national value. They are divided up into seven categories, from A1 to X, where A1 covers areas with the highest priority.

It is only the areas in Category A1 that may be considered in the next call. Other areas may be considered only after the next needs inventory. The proposals must then be resubmitted.

A1

Relevant for consideration as infrastructure of national interest, ready for call.

A2

Relevant for consideration as infrastructure of national interest, but funding currently not prioritised by the Swedish Research Council.

A3

Relevant for consideration as infrastructure of national interest, not ready for call.

3. We issue a call for grant proposals

The Council for Research Infrastructures, RFI, decides on which high priority areas (A1) will go forward to the next stage – the call for proposals for research infrastructure. That an area has been categorised as A1 is therefore a prerequisite, but not a guarantee, for being included in the call.

Apply for a grant for national research infrastructure

The applicant shall be an organisation. If several organisations are included in the operation, they shall be represented by a consortium where all parties shall be approved as administrating organisations by the Swedish Research Council. One of the organisations in the consortium will be the administrating organisation for the grant, and is responsible for the entire operation towards the Swedish Research Council. You can apply for a grant for a maximum of six years, and the Swedish Research Council can contribute up to 50 per cent of the overall budget.

Applying for a grant for membership of an international research infrastructure and for infrastructure projects linked to international research infrastructure

If you are applying for a grant for international infrastructure, you do not have to represent a consortium. Nor is there any requirement for co-funding. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are, however, expected to contribute with greater engagement to enable the membership of the international research infrastructure to be as valuable as possible for Swedish research.

Time plan

The needs inventory and subsequent call for applications constitute a process that covers two years in total.

Autumn year 1, odd years – needs inventory

The Swedish Research Council gathers in proposals to inventory the needs for new research infrastructure.

Spring year 2 – prioritising the proposals from the inventory

RFI decides which proposals will be prioritised, based on the needs inventory.

Autumn year 2 – decision on which infrastructures to include in the call

Based on the result of the needs inventory, RFI decides on the new areas and existing research infrastructures that are entitled to apply under the upcoming call. An information meeting about the upcoming call is held later during the autumn.

Spring year 3 – call for proposals

The call opens before the year-end and closes in early spring (generally in February). The applications are assessed during spring.

Autumn year 3 – grant decision

RFI decides which research infrastructures will receive a grant. Following the decision, a dialogue is held between the administrating organisation and the Swedish Research Council where the final grant decision is established.

Autumn year 3 – needs inventory

The Swedish Research Council carries out another needs inventory – and then the process starts again.

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