Note! Deadline for this call is extended to April 7.
26 February - 07 April 2020
Network grant for international collaboration - Swedish Research Links
The purpose of the network grant Swedish Research Links is to establish a network around a specific research idea, aimed at a joint research project. The grant shall support the development of long-term joint research between Swedish researchers and researchers from low income countries and lower middle income countries.
Calls for proposals are issued within the area of development research, which is financed by the Swedish Government’s development aid funds. The research idea shall be relevant to the goals for Sweden’s international development collaboration. Grants are available within all scientific areas. The Swedish Research Council rewards research of the highest scientific quality in national competition.
Support form: Research environment and collaboration support
Subject area: Development Research
Focus: Swedish Research Links
Applicant: Individual researcher
Participating researchers: A minimum of 1 and maximum of 6 researchers shall be invited to join the application. At least 1 of these shall be invited as an international project leader.
Grant period: 1–2 years
Grant amount: Maximum 400 000 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
- All international project leaders and other participating researchers must register in Prisma in order to be able to participate in the application with the necessary information. Please therefore make sure to begin this step as soon as possible to avoid any problems with registering the application.
- You will need to have a data management plan 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 aim of the call for the network grant Swedish Research Links is to lay the foundation for joint long-term research collaborations and knowledge exchanges between Swedish researchers and researchers from low income countries and lower middle income countries (see information under “Collaboration countries”). The network grants shall in the first instance lead to joint applications for research funds from funding bodies, nationally and internationally. The application for a network grant shall be developed jointly by the collaborating partners and be clearly based on mutual benefit and collaboration of equal value.
Network grants are in the first instance intended for new collaborations. However, existing networks may apply if they have new research ideas. If the network is not intended to develop new research projects, but to construct a network around existing research, the application must state strong grounds for why this is of great scientific importance.
The research idea shall be of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income and lower middle income countries. The research shall thereby contribute to reaching the goals for Swedish development collaboration. For further information, please see the following documents:
- Strategy for research cooperation and research in development cooperation 2015–2021
- Policy framework for Swedish development cooperation and humanitarian assistance
The call is open to researchers within all scientific disciplines, and covers both basic research and applied research. Research collaborations with a multi- and inter-disciplinary perspective are particularly encouraged.
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 sustainable development goals 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. The classification does not affect the assessment of your application.
Collaboration countries shall be low income countries and lower middle income countries according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list (the columns Least Developed Countries, Other Low Income Countries and Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories in the document linked to below).
The applicant for a network grant must be an individual researcher. You shall be the project leader and have scientific responsibility for the research collaboration. You must hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent foreign degree, awarded no later than the deadline for this call. The degree award date we use is 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 listed in Ladok applies.
Grants from the Swedish Research Council shall be administered by a Swedish university or HEI or another Swedish public organisation that fulfils our criteria for administrating organisations. 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 employment must equal at least 20 per cent of a full-time equivalent. You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying.
Number of applications and previous grants
The requirements described in this section only apply to you as applicant (project leader).
What grants may I apply for simultaneously from the Swedish Research Council?
You may submit more than one application under this call, provided the applications relate to different collaborations (collaboration partners and countries). You may also be included as a participating researcher in other applications, as long as the applications relate to different collaborations. 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.
If you are the project leader for an ongoing network grant within Swedish Research Links, you cannot make an application for the same collaboration under this call. On the other hand, you may apply with a new collaboration partner in another country. If you are or have been the project leader for a grant within Swedish Research Links, where the grant period (payment) ends in 2020 or ended earlier, you may apply for this grant with either the same international partner (provided the application relates to a different project concept), or a new collaboration partner in another country.
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 concept as a grant you have already been awarded by, or are applying for to another funding body, please describe this.
Your application must include a minimum of 1 and maximum of 3 international project leaders. They shall participate in drawing up the application and be involved in the network collaboration as described in the application. The international project leaders shall have a doctoral degree or corresponding competency, and shall be associated with an HEI or research institute in a low income country or lower middle income country. You may choose up to 3 collaboration countries, and each country must be represented by an international project leader active in the country in question.
In addition to the international project leaders, other researchers linked to the project may also be included as participating researchers, that is to say other researchers with a doctoral degree or corresponding competence, whose scientific competence will be crucial for the implementation of the proposed research. Participating researchers do not have to be employed by a Swedish HEI or – as is the case for the international project leaders – associated with a research institution in an approved collaboration country.
You may include up to 6 participating researchers (including international project leaders) in your application.
International project leaders and other participating researchers shall provide the necessary information themselves in Prisma, and upload these to the application.
Note: We will not allow any exception from the requirement for all international project leaders and other participating researchers to register in Prisma and approve their participation in the application.
Costs and grant amounts
The grant may be used for costs associated with international network building and collaboration, such as
- travel, food and lodging in conjunction with the preparation/planning of joint research applications
- research and/or working stays between the collaborating partners
- joint seminars, conferences or workshops aimed at exchanging knowledge and adopting a joint research agenda.
Grants may not be used for salaries. Grants may cover additional costs incurred by the Swedish project leader for subsistence for international project leaders and their personnel. Scholarships not intended as an alternative to salary or other forms of study financing for doctoral students may be included in these additional costs. Minor project costs (such as consumables) may also be financed, up to a maximum of 100 000 SEK per year. The grant must be used in accordance with the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s guidelines for what can be classified as aid.
The maximum amount you may apply for is 400 000 SEK per year, including indirect costs.
The Swedish Research Council assumes that the administrating organisation will cover any costs in excess of the amount received.
You may apply for a grant for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 2 years, starting in January 2021.
The first payment will be made during January 2021 at the earliest.
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.
Foreign experts are involved in the scientific assessment of the applications. To ensure fair and equitable assessment and efficient processing, please therefore complete your application in English.
Sections of the application
The application form includes the following tabs:
- Descriptive information
- Research description
- Budget and research resources
- Administrating organisation
- Review panels
The information we request under each tab is described below.
In the abstract, please describe in brief the following:
- the research questions that you intend to focus on in the collaboration
- what is to be done within the research collaboration
- how the collaboration will be conducted: organisation, time plan and collaboration formats
- the impact of the research collaboration.
The abstract shall provide a summary picture of the purpose and implementation of the network. 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 an A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Popular science description
Describe the collaboration and the research idea 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, and explain in what way the collaboration and the research idea 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.
List the 1–3 collaboration countries planned for the application.
Sustainable development goals
State which of the 17 sustainable development goals (according to Agenda 2030) your project is 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 the planned research. 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.
Summarise the research theme and the research questions that you intend to focus on in the network. Describe also your own and others’ previous research and any preliminary results within the research area. State key references.
Explain the importance and scientific novelty of the planned research. Describe briefly how the collaboration project relates to previous research within the area, and its importance to the research area in the short and long term.
The description may cover a maximum of 8 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately two A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
The collaboration plan shall be forward-looking and shall consist of a brief but complete description of the collaboration planned for the parties in the network. It shall cover a maximum of 4 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins, including references and any images.
The collaboration plan must include the following headings and information, listed in the following order:
- Purpose and aims: Describe summarily the purpose and specific aims of the network, and describe how these correspond to the purpose and focus of the call.
- Network description and mode of cooperation: Provide a summary of the planned work including the following sections:
- Project organisation: Clarify the contributions of yourself and the participating researchers to the implementation of the project. Describe and explain the competences and roles of the participating researchers in the project, and also any other researchers or corresponding who are important for the implementation of the project. In what way is the collaboration based on equal participation, and how does this lead to mutual exchange of knowledge?
- Time plan and implementation: The time plan should provide an overview of the collaboration and a plan for submitting joint research applications, travel, joint seminars, workshops, preparations/planning of joint research applications, and information dissemination. A brief description of project activities, such as workshops and seminars, should be included.
- Security situation in collaboration country: If you are planning to carry out activities in countries or regions that the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs are 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
Provide the following information also. If a heading is not relevant to your application, please state this under the heading.
- 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, 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 concept (from you or another researcher).
Describe how the network’s research idea is of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income countries and/or lower middle income countries (for further information, please see under the heading “Focus” above). In the relevance description, please state how the research idea 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 and/or lower middle income countries.
The description may cover a maximum of 8 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately two A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Budget and research resources
Describe the overall costs for the network by specifying the items below. The budget shall cover the costs of all parties. Please state the amounts in Swedish krona, rounded to the nearest 1 000 SEK.
- Costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence
- Costs of organising seminars and workshops
- Costs of consumables, minor field studies, any publication costs and equipment (maximum 100 000 SEK per year in total)
- Other costs
Total cost of the project
Prisma will automatically add up your budget items in a table. The total amount you are applying for shall also include indirect costs. You will have to add these to the table yourself. Here you can also add any additional costs that the project entails (for which you are not seeking funding under this call).
Please contact your administrating organisation if you have any questions abut what constitutes indirect and direct costs.
Justification of the budget applied for
Justify briefly each cost applied for in your budget. 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.
Please state your or any other researcher’s funding for the project over and above what is applied for in this application. Please state the amounts in Swedish krona, rounded to the nearest 1 000 SEK.
Applicant’s publication list
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.
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 equivalent 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. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
1. Selection of publications. List the 10 publications of greatest importance to your application. Describe how you contributed to each publication, and its relevance to the research project described (maximum 4 lines per publication). Highlight your name in bold in the author list.
2. Relevant publications from 2012–2020. In this part, the publications listed under Item 1 shall also be included if they have been published during the period in question. Sort the publications, with your name highlighted in bold in the author list, under each heading (publication type) in the following order:
- 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
Participating researchers’ publication lists
Attach all participating researchers’/international project leaders’ publication lists joined up into one file. The list for each researcher shall include the 10 publications that are the most relevant to the planned research, and shall cover a maximum of 1 A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins. The name of the researcher in question shall be highlighted in bold and also be included in the page header of each list.
Please only include articles or equivalent 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. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
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 shall invite your international project leaders and other participating researchers, and any participating administrators, to your application. You must distinguish international project leaders from other invited participating researchers by marking them in the table in the application form.
You must assign full editing rights to the international project leaders.
Under this tab, please upload your relevant CV information from your personal account in Prisma. International project leaders and other participating researchers must upload their own CV information to the application.
The following information (where available) must always be included in each CV:
- Education: First, second and third cycle higher education and specialist degrees.
- Work: Current employment (including employment form) 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/associate professorship, supervisees (postdoctoral and doctoral 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 are 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, Novelty and originality, Merits, Feasibility). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. Swedish Research Links network grants are also evaluated based on the criteria Complementarity of the research network. The criteria are assessed using a seven-grade scale, except for feasibility, which is assessed using a three-grade grade scale.
In addition to the basic criteria, your application is also evaluated using an additional criterion (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 network (1–7)
- Does the proposed collaboration network have the potential to build a sustainable and equal scientific partnership to address development challenges?
- To what extent can the proposed network, based on the included collaborators, define new, compelling scientific questions within its scientific area?
- How does the research collaboration build on the research conducted independently by the partners, and what is the potential added value of the network?
- Is the overall description of the collaborative network sufficiently clear, convincing and compelling, for example in the definition of research questions, description of planned activities and impact of the research collaboration?
- Does the proposal contain plans for sustaining the collaboration/partnership beyond the proposed duration of network funding?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- To what extent does the proposed network promote the establishment of a new research network and new researcher-to-researcher relationships?
- If principal investigators have collaborated before: Is the proposed collaboration based on a new research topic? What were the experiences of that previous collaboration and can additional funding lead to new collaborative research proposals with realistic ideas how to obtain funding?
- Does the network combine scientific expertise and capacity in a novel way in relation to the research area and the countries involved?
- Does the network have the potential to extend or challenge current understanding, opinion or practice in its field?
- Does the research network propose a line of research with clear progression and novelty in relation to previous research in the field or will the formed network simply add details to existing knowledge?
- In what novel way does the proposed network have potential for scientific and/or societal impact in low income and lower middle income countries?
Merits of the network (1–7)
The merits of the applicants are assessed in relation to the applicant´s stage of career and active time for research.
- Does the network have sufficient research experience, expertise and scientific connections for the implementation of the proposed collaboration?
- Considering the research area and career ages: Of what merits are the previous publications and other scientific achievements (e.g. supervisor experience, external funding, research collaborations)? Do these show a distinct and independent line of research?
- Does the applicant have previous experience from research collaborations with partners in low or lower middle income countries?
- Is the proposed plan in general, including activities and time schedule, optimal for starting up and implementing the proposed network?
- Does the network aim to establish long-term research collaboration and contain a realistic plan for how to raise funds for such collaboration?
- Does the proposed collaboration network include the availability and accessibility of relevant personnel, skills, equipment, facilities/infrastructures and other necessary resources?
- Is the environment suitable for carrying out the proposed network activities?
Complementarity of the research collaboration
- Is there appropriateness of the team members in terms of how the researchers´ expertise complement each other, and in how the different roles and responsibilities are distinguished?
- Does the collaboration bring mutual added value to the proposed research; compared to if the partners were not working together?
- Can the collaboration lead to transfer of knowledge between applicants?
- Is the collaboration based on principles of co-design, mutual benefit and equality?
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. Network grants (SRL) are 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 and lower middle income countries.
- Does the proposed research idea 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 idea contribute to tackling important societal and environmental challenges in low income and lower middle income countries?
- Does the proposed research idea have the potential to promote equitable and sustainable development in low income and lower middle income countries?