Note! Deadline for this call is extended to April 7.
26 February - 07 April 2020
International postdoc grant within development research
The purpose of the grant is to give newly qualified researchers with a doctoral degree from a Swedish higher education institution (HEI) the opportunity to expand their networks and their competences by working abroad under secure employment conditions.
The international postdoc grant within development research is funded by the Government’s development aid funds, and the research shall be of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income countries. The Swedish Research Council rewards research of the highest scientific quality in national competition.
Support form: Career support
Subject area: Development Research
Focus: Development research
Applicant: Individual researcher who has completed a doctoral degree no more than 2 years ago.
Participating researchers: No participating researchers may be invited to join the application.
Grant period: 18–36 months
Grant amount: 1 050 000 SEK per year
Start of grant period: January 2021
Application period: 26 February 2020 (14.00/2 p.m.) – 7 april 2020 (14.00/2 p.m.)
Publication of grant award: No later than January 2021
- You must describe whether sex and gender perspectives are relevant for your research and, if so, in which way you will use such perspectives, or why you choose not to do so. How sex and gender perspectives are managed in the research project will form part of the assessment of scientific quality. Read more under the heading “Research description” and on our website Opens in new window..
- You will need to have a data management plan Opens in new window. for data generated within the research we award funds for. You must not send the plan to us, but according to our general grant terms and conditions, your administrating organisation must confirm that a data management plan will be in place when you start your project or equivalent, and also that the plan will be maintained.
Specific instructions for the call
In addition to reading the specific call text, you also need to consult our Guide for applicants.
The following requirements must be fulfilled in order for you to be eligible to apply for the grant. We carry out checks and reject applications that do not fulfil the requirements.
The goal of the call for international postdoc within development research is to reinforce Swedish research with particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income countries. This means that the research shall be relevant to the overarching goal for Sweden’s international development collaboration; to contribute to creating prerequisites for better living conditions for people living in poverty and oppression, and thereby contribute to the goal for the policy for global development of fair and sustainable global development.
Within the framework for this grant, the research project shall be relevant to one or several of the countries classified as low income countries according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list External link, opens in new window. (columns “Least Developed Countries” and “Other Low Income Countries”).
This means that the project’s questions and results shall be of benefit for these countries, but collaboration and other research activities may be carried out in other countries also.
More information is available on the Government’s website:
- Strategy for research cooperation and research in development cooperation 2015–2021 External link, opens in new window.
- Policy framework for Swedish development cooperation and humanitarian assistance External link, opens in new window.
The research may aim either towards immediate benefit or towards knowledge that is potentially important to the goals of the call. It may cover everything from basic to applied research within all scientific disciplines.
Follow-up of our funding of development research
Development research is funded by Swedish development aid funds and is reported to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC. To enable this, you must state which of the 17 UN sutainable development goals External link, opens in new window. that is/are relevant for your application. For the same reason, you must also classify your application according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s policy markers External link, opens in new window.. The classification does not affect the assessment of your application.
The applicant for an international postdoc grant must be an individual researcher. You must hold a doctoral degree from a Swedish HEI or the European University Institute (EUI) External link, opens in new window., awarded no more than 2 years before the deadline for this call.
Grants from the Swedish Research Council shall be administered by a Swedish HEI or another Swedish public organisation that fulfils our criteria for administrating organisations Opens in new window.. Your organisation must therefore be approved as an administrating organisation for you to apply. The administrating organisation must sign your application in Prisma no later than 7 calendar days after the deadline for this call.
If you are awarded a grant, you must be employed by the administrating organisation at the start of and throughout the grant period and any additional availability period, unless the Swedish Research Council approves an exception from this requirement. The administrating organisation will decide on the employment format, salary and employment terms and conditions. You are, however, expected to remain employed full-time throughout the grant period, which means that you are employed and pay tax in Sweden during your stay abroad. You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying. You and your administrating organisation should review the prerequisites for you as an employee to be stationed abroad before the application is submitted.
Read more about the regulations governing public agency personnel working outside Sweden on the Swedish Agency for Government Employers’ website External link, opens in new window. (in Swedish only).
To apply for an international postdoc grant, your doctoral degree must have been awarded no more than 2 years ago, that is to say awarded no later than the deadline for the call and no earlier than 31 March 2018. We base the career age on the date you fulfilled all the requirements for a doctoral degree, such as mandatory courses, oral defence and an approved doctoral thesis. For applicants with Swedish doctoral degrees, the award date (date of completed studies) listed in Ladok applies. You will not be able to complete your application if your doctoral degree was awarded more than 2 years ago. An exception applies if there are grounds for deductible time after your doctoral degree award that have affected your ability to gain merit as a researcher.
The Swedish Research Council’s recognised grounds are parental leave, positions of trust in trade union organisations and student organisations, mandatory service in the total defence forces, long-term illness (own reported illness or care of child/close family member), general medical internship (maximum 24 months) or further training/specialist medical internship for clinically active professionals (maximum 24 months). Please note that we do not accept other employment, unemployment or holidays as deductible time.
If you wish to claim deductible time, you must specify the recognised grounds and time involved in your application (please see instructions under “Descriptive information” below).
We conduct sample checks. This means that we might request a certificate in evidence of your grounds for deductible time.
Number of applications and previous grants
What grants may I apply for simultaneously from the Swedish Research Council?
You may only submit one application for this grant under this call. You may apply for this grant even if you are simultaneously applying for the Swedish Research Council’s other grants for international postdoc, but you can only be awarded one grant, and must therefore make a choice should this become relevant. Information and other restrictions on the grants you may apply for during the same year are shown in the table below.
What requirements apply if I already have a grant from the Swedish Research Council?
There are certain restrictions if you are the project leader of an ongoing grant, that is to say where the grant period (payment period from the Swedish Research Council) overlaps the grant period of the grant the application relates to. Please note that the availability period, that is to say the time during which you have the right to use your grant, is normally longer than the grant period. You can find information about the requirements for your grant in the “Approval of terms and conditions” you received from the Swedish Research Council.
The table below shows information and other restrictions on the grants you may apply for if you already have an ongoing grant.
Note: If you have been the project leader for previous grants from the Swedish Research Council that have ended, final financial reports for all of these must have been submitted within the permitted time frame in order for you to apply for a new grant. Please contact your administrating organisation if you are unsure whether all your final reports have been submitted.
What applies for applications to or grants from other funding bodies?
If your application to the Swedish Research Council relates to the same project idea as a grant you have already been awarded by, or are applying for to another funding body, please describe this.
You may not invite any participating researchers in this application. Any collaboration partners and their roles shall be described in the research plan (please see instructions under “Research plan” below).
Costs and grant amounts
The grant is awarded in a standard amount of 1 050 000 SEK per year, of which 900 000 SEK is for your salary costs and 150 000 SEK for research expenses relating to your stay and your research (such as consumables, travel including stays at research facilities, and publication costs). The grant amount includes cover of indirect costs. The standard amount for salary costs also includes social security contributions. Grants must not be used for scholarships.
The Swedish Research Council assumes that the administrating organisation, as the employer responsible, will cover any costs in excess of the standard amount.
The grant period is 18–36 months, starting in January 2021. The first payment will be made during January 2021 at the earliest.
A condition of the grant is that at least two thirds of the grant period is spent abroad, of which at least one third in a low income or lower middle income country according to OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list External link, opens in new window. (columns “Least Developed Countries”, “Other Low Income Countries” and “Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories”). This time may, however, be divided up into several shorter periods. You must confirm that you fulfil the mobility condition by attaching a letter of invitation from the foreign host university or equivalent research institution, and also a description and justification of your choice. Both of these must cover the period stated in the application.
Please refer to the application form in Prisma in parallel with reading the instructions below, which describe the call-specific content of the application. More information on what to do in practical terms is available in our Guide for applicants Opens in new window..
Foreign experts are involved in the scientific assessment of the applications. To ensure fair and equitable assessment and efficient processing, please therefore complete the whole of your application in English, apart from the popular science description, which must be written in Swedish.
Sections of the application
The application form includes the following tabs:
- Descriptive information
- Research description
- Budget and research resources
- Administrating organisation
- Review panels
- Participants (only administrators in this call)
The information we request under each tab is described below.
State the country and the host HEI and department where you will be spending your stay abroad. You may state more than one host country/host department.
The first host country stated must fulfil the requirement of being a low income or lower middle income country according to OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list External link, opens in new window. (columns “Least Developed Countries”, “Other Low Income Countries” and “Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories”).
Please state the countries that are relevant for the project.
In the abstract, please describe in brief the following:
- What is to be done: purpose and aims
- How the research will be carried out: project organisation, time plan and scientific methods
- What is important about the planned research
The abstract shall provide a summary of the purpose and implementation of the research. Please use wording to ensure persons with another subject specialisation can understand the information.
The description may cover a maximum of 1 500 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one third of one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Popular science description
Describe the project in such a way that a person who is not familiar with the subject can understand it. Describe what is to be done, and why. Explain also in what way the new knowledge may be important.
The popular science description is an important tool when we inform about the research funded by the Swedish Research Council. If we grant your application, we reserve the right to use the description for information purposes.
The description may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Note: The popular science description must be written in Swedish, unlike the rest of the application.
Please state any longer interruptions in your active research time after your doctoral degree caused by any of the grounds recognised by the Swedish Research Council. Please state the interruption calculated as a full-time equivalent and rounded up into full calendar months. Please see the recognised grounds for deductible time under the heading “Career age” above.
Global goals for sustainable development
State which of the 17 sustainable development goals (according to Agenda 2030) your project is/are linked to in particular, or if none of them is relevant. Further information is available under the heading ”Follow-up of our funding of development research” at the beginning of the call text.
Policy markers OpenAid
State to what extent your project focuses on each policy marker area. You can find a link to a description of the policy markers under the heading ”Follow-up of our funding of development research” at the beginning of the call text.
Describe the ethical issues raised by your project or corresponding. You must also describe how you plan to address ethical dilemmas that may arise. Please justify why the research should be carried out against the background of the ethical issues you have identified. How do your research questions and expected results measure up in relation to the ethical issues? Please also state whether the research involves any handling of personal data, or experiments on animals or human subjects. If no ethical issues are raised, please justify this.
The justification may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Sex and gender perspectives
Please state whether sex and gender perspectives are applicable in your planned research, and justify your decision. Please note that we are not asking for information about the composition of the research team (men/women). Read more about sex and gender perspectives in research content. Opens in new window.
The following applies:
- If you answer “Yes”: Justify your answer, and describe also how you take account of sex and gender perspectives in the research plan (see further instructions under “Research plan”). If you have stated that sex and gender perspectives are applicable, but still choose not to include them in your research plan, you will need to justify this here.
- If you answer “No”: Please justify your answer.
The justification may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
The research plan shall be forward-looking and consist of a brief but complete description of the research task. It shall cover a maximum of 8 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins, including references and any images.
The research plan must include the following headings and information, listed in the following order:
- Purpose and aims: State the overall purpose and specific aims of the research project.
- State-of-the-art: Summarise briefly the current research frontier within the field or area covered by the project. State key references.
- Significance and scientific novelty: Describe briefly how the project relates to previous research within the area, and the impact the project may have in the short and long term. Describe also how the project moves forward or innovates the current research frontier.
- Preliminary and previous results: Describe briefly your own previous research and pilot studies within the research area that make it probable that the project will be feasible. If no preliminary results exist, please state this too.
- Project description: Describe the project design under the following headings:
- Theory and method: Describe the underlying theory and the methods to be applied in order to reach the project goal. When applicable, describe how sex and gender perspectives relate to the choice of design, questions, method and materials, population/study participants and also data processing and analysis, for example statistics and presentation of results divided up by sex.
- Time plan and implementation: Describe summarily the time plan for the project during the grant period, and how the project will be implemented.
- Clarify the contributions of yourself and any other researchers and/or key persons to the implementation of the project, including a description of competences and roles in the project.
- Results: Describe the results you expect from the project.
- Independent line of research: If you are working or will be working in a larger group, please clarify how your project relates to the other projects in the group. If you are continuing a project that was wholly or partly started during your doctoral or postdoc studies, you must also describe the relationship between your project and the research of your former supervisor.
- Security situation in collaboration country: If you are planning to carry out research activities or fieldwork in countries or regions that the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs is advising against travelling to (including work travel), please describe how you are planning your research visit to and work in the country in view of the security situation. Ministry for Foreign Affairs travel information External link, opens in new window. (in Swedish only).
Provide the following information also. If a heading is not relevant to your application, please state this under the heading.
- Equipment: Describe the basic equipment you and your team have at your disposal for the project.
- Need for research infrastructure: Specify the project’s need for international and national research infrastructure. You should primarily use the research infrastructures supported by the Swedish Research Council Opens in new window., which are open to all. If you choose to use other infrastructures instead, please justify this need (also applies for local research infrastructure).
- Other applications or grants: If you are applying for or intend to apply for other grants from the Swedish Research Council, please clarify the relationship between the projects. This applies also if you are receiving ongoing grants from the Swedish Research Council with grant periods that wholly or partly overlap with the grant you are now applying for. You should also justify why you are submitting one or several further applications. Describe also the relationship with other applications to or grants from other funding bodies for the same project idea (from you or another researcher).
Postdoc projects within development research shall have particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income countries (for further information, please see under the heading “Focus” above). In the relevance description, please state how the project contributes to new knowledge with the potential of creating prerequisites for better living conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression, contributes to solving important societal and environmental challenges, or promotes equal and sustainable development in low income countries.
The description may cover a maximum of 6 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one and a half A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Budget and research resources
Please state your activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) in the project. We assume that your activity level as project leader corresponds to a full-time equivalent during the grant period.
The grant is a standard amount and you therefore do not need to enter any budget applied for in the application form.
Please attach your publication list drawn up according to the headings and information below. The list shall cover a maximum of 5 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins.
Please sort the publications under each heading in reverse chronological order, so that the latest publication is at the top of the list. Please only include articles or corresponding that are published or accepted for publication at the time of applying. The author name order shall be identical to that of the published work, and your name shall be highlighted in bold. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
1. Selection of publications: List the 5 publications of greatest importance to your application. Describe how you contributed to each publication, and its relevance to your research project (maximum 4 lines per publication). Highlight your name in bold in the author list. State “Part of PhD thesis” in bold in brackets for the publications included in your doctoral thesis.
2. All publications: Sort the publications, with your name highlighted in bold in the author list, under each heading (publication type) in the following order. State “Part of PhD thesis” in bold in brackets for the publications included in your doctoral thesis.
- Peer-reviewed original articles
- Peer-reviewed conference contributions, the results of which are not included in other publications
- Peer-reviewed edited volumes
- Research review articles
- Peer-reviewed books and book chapters
- Other publications including popular science books/presentations
Invitation from the administrating organisation
The invitation from the Swedish HEI where you will be employed must show that you are welcome to carry out your planned research there. By signing the application in Prisma, the administrating organisation confirms this undertaking.
The invitation shall be addressed to you as applicant, cover the period shown in this call and include:
A description of
- how the applicant’s proposed research relates to the research conducted at the department or research team involved.
- the applicant’s scientific independence in relation to the department or research team involved.
- how the results from the research programme will contribute to the department’s future activities.
Commitment of the administrating organisation
Information on/A description of
- the planned start and end dates of your employment at the Swedish HEI. Information about the applicant’s employment form, and any additional funding or support required to conduct the planned research.
- how the HEI/department will fulfil the project’s needs for premises, equipment and other infrastructure.
- the department’s plan for how the applicant can continue to develop their scientific career and competence during and after the grant period.
The document may cover no more than 2 A4 pages, and shall be in English. You can download the template for the invitation from the administrating organisation here Word, 38 kB, opens in new window. (Word, 38 kB).
Invitation from host department abroad
The appendix shall include a formal invitation from the host department abroad showing that you are welcome to carry out your planned research there. The invitation shall be addressed to you as the applicant from the head of department or equivalent of the host department abroad where the research will be carried out. The name and contact details of the person signing the document shall be included. The invitation shall apply for the period shown in this call and shall include the following:
A description of
- the reason for inviting and hosting the applicant
- how the applicant’s proposed research fits into the research and expertise of the department or research team involved
- the applicant’s proposed role in the research team and/or in the department.
In addition, the invitation shall also describe the host department’s undertakings:
A description of
- the support required to conduct the proposed research and how this will be provided for the applicant
- how the department will fulfil the applicant’s need for premises, equipment and other infrastructure
- how the research environment will support the development of the applicant’s scientific career, networks and competence.
The invitation shall include information on the host department, including the period/s of the stay/s, and contact person at the host department abroad (first name, last name, telephone number and email address). Please also state the faculty of the host department and the postal address.
The document may cover a maximum of 2 A4 pages (2 pages per invitation in the event you will be staying at more than one host department abroad). You can download the template for the invitation from the host department abroad here. Word, 38 kB, opens in new window. (Word, 38 kB)
Description and justification of the host department chosen
The document may cover no more than 1 A4 page and shall contain the following:
- A description of how the research at the host department abroad relates to the research at the Swedish department.
- A justification of your choice of host department abroad and description of your opportunities to develop your skills as a researcher.
Please state the administrating organisation and project site.
Please request the review panel or panels (in priority order) that you wish to carry out the scientific assessment of your application. The final allocation of applications is determined by the Swedish Research Council.
Here you as applicant may invite participating administrators to your application.
Under this tab, please upload your relevant CV information from your personal account in Prisma.
The following information, where available, must always be included in your CV, taking into account the stated limitation in numbers:
- Education: First, second and third cycle higher education and specialist degrees.
- Work: Current employment (including whether permanent or not) and longer relevant employment held, postdoctoral visits (also included as employment if relevant), research exchanges relevant to the research described and any longer interruptions in the research that have impacted on your opportunity to gain merit as a researcher.
- Merits and awards: Docentship, supervisees (doctoral students and students; state the number of persons in each category and list the names of the up to 10 most relevant to you), up to 10 of your most relevant grants awarded in competition, up to 10 of your most relevant prizes and awards, and up to 20 other merits relevant to the application.
- Intellectual property rights: For example, patents and open access computer programs developed by you; state up to 10 of your most relevant.
Scientific quality is the fundamental criterion when the Swedish Research Council allocates grants to research. Your application is evaluated in competition with the other applications on the basis of the following evaluation criteria.
Your application is evaluated by a specialised review panel where the members are Swedish and international researchers active within development research.
Four members review and grade your application individually. The entire review panel then meets at a review panel meeting to discuss and prioritise the applications, and finally to make a proposal for a decision to the Committee for Development Research.
A certain proportion of the applications with the lowest grades from the members’ individual reviews may be screened out in the beginning of the review panel meeting. These applications will not be the subject of discussion, which gives room for more detailed discussion and prioritisation of the applications of higher quality, which have a reasonable chance of being funded.
After the funding decision is made, the screened out applications receive a final statement with their grades. The remaining applications receive a more comprehensive final statement that reflects the review panel’s discussion and overall assessment of the scientific quality of the application.
Evaluation criteria and guiding questions
The evaluation of the scientific quality of your application is made based on four basic criteria (Scientific quality of the proposed research, Novelty and originality, Merits of the applicant, Feasibility). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. Postdoc grants are further assessed according to a fifth basic criteria; Internationalization and the research environment. The criteria are assessed using a seven-grade scale, except for Feasibility and Internationalization and research environment, which are assessed using a three-grade grade scale.
In addition to the basic criteria, your application is also evaluated using an additional criteria (Relevance for the call) using a three-grade scale. This grade is not weighed into the overall grade.
For each criterion, there are guiding questions to support the panel members’ evaluation of your application. These can also function as guidance for you when you write your application.
Scientific quality of the proposed research (1–7)
- Is the project scientifically significant?
- Does the proposal have clear conceptual and theoretical foundations?
- Is the overall design and description of the project sufficiently clear and systematic, for example in its definition of research questions, hypotheses and methodology?
- Are the scientific/intellectual merits of the proposed research clear, convincing and compelling?
- Does the proposed project have the character of thoroughness, e.g. in its definition of the problem, and review of the state of the art?
- Are the proposed research methods suitable to the aims and objectives?
- Are the methods of data management such as data collection, analysis and statistics well defined and appropriate?
- Has the applicant in a satisfactory manner described the possible importance of sex and/or gender for the research project? If not, is there a clear description to why?
- If sex and gender is described as relevant to the research project, has the applicant considered sex and gender in the study design and description of the proposed work, for instance as part of preliminary data, the choice of samples or study population, or data analyses?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- Does the project extend or challenge current understanding, opinion or practice in its field?
- To what extent does the proposed project define new, compelling scientific questions within its scientific area?
- Does the proposed project have the potential to substantially increase the knowledge within its scientific area? (For example novel concepts or theories, new directions for research and advancement of the field)
- Does the project include use of novel technologies/methodologies, or innovative application of existing methodologies/technologies in a novel way or context?
- Does the researcher propose a line of research with clear progression and novelty in relation to previous research in the field or is he/she simply adding details to existing knowledge?
- In what novel way does the proposed project have potential for scientific and/or societal impact in low income countries?
Merits of the applicant (1–7)
- How strong are the applicant’s merits and competence in relation to career age, research area and previous research environment?
- To what degree does the applicant’s previous experience and scientific competence strengthen the project?
- Do the publications and other scientific achievements of the applicant show the potential for a distinct and independent line of research? Focus is on the most relevant and important reports, with emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
- Does the applicant have a sufficient scientific network for implementing the proposed project?
- Is the general design, including time schedule, optimal for implementing the proposed project?
- Does the project include the availability and accessibility of personnel with relevant skills? (Also taking into consideration the activity level.)
- Is the environment suitable for carrying out the proposed research, considering e.g. equipment, facilities/infrastructures and other necessary resources and support?
- If applicable, is it described how the permits for implementation of the project will be acquired?
- Are the proposed research methods, infrastructures, experiments and fieldwork appropriate for the implementation of the project?
- How is the balance between the project´s feasibility and risks and its potential gains? (high risk/high gain)
Internationalisation and research environment (1-3)
Here an evaluation is made of the opportunities for the applicant to develop her or his merits as a researcher at the foreign host institution(s).
- To what extent does the foreign host institution(s) seem relevant for the research the application concerns?
- How suitable is the foreign research environment for the applicant’s ability to develop new competences, his or hers research network and independence as a researcher?
- If the applicant plans to spend time in Sweden, is that time well motivated and is the research environment favourable for the applicant’s ability to develop as a researcher?
Overall grade (1–7)
The above subsidiary criteria are weighed together into an overall grade, which reflects the review panel’s joint evaluation of the application’s scientific quality.
Relevance for the call (1-3)
Relevance to the program objectives is evaluated separately from the scientific quality, and is not included in the overall grade. The Research Project Grant in Development Research is financed through development aid funds provided by the government, and research receiving support must be of particular relevance to poverty reduction and sustainable development in low income countries.
- Does the proposed research have the potential to create preconditions for better living conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression?
- To what extent does the proposed research contribute to tackling important societal and environmental challenges in low income countries?
- Does the proposed research have the potential to promote equitable and sustainable development in low income countries?