Note! Deadline for this call is extended to April 7.
26 February - 07 April 2020
Research project grant within development research
The purpose of the project grant is to give researchers the freedom to formulate by themselves the research concept, method and implementation, and to solve a specific research task within a limited period.
Project grants within development research are 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: Project support
Subject area: Development Research
Focus: Development research
Applicant: Individual researcher
Participating researchers: Up to 6 researchers may be invited to join the application
Grant period: 1–3 years
Grant amount: Minimum 400 000 SEK per year, maximum 1 500 000 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
- As from 2020, you must explain in your research plan how your stated activity level is suited to the implementation of the research project.
- 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.
- 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 project proposals within development research is to reinforce Swedish research of 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 (columns “Least Developed Countries” and “Other Low Income Countries”).
This means that the research 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:
We encourage collaboration with researchers in low income countries, and also a multi- and inter-disciplinary perspective. If you have not included a participating researcher from a low income country, you must justify this in your application.
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 is/are relevant for your application, or if none of them is relevant. 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.
The applicant for a research project grant must be an individual researcher. You shall be the project leader and have scientific responsibility for the project. The time you set aside for the project (your activity level, that is the percentage of a full-time equivalent) must be suited to the task and its implementation throughout the grant period.
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 applicants (project leaders).
What grants may I apply for simultaneously from the Swedish Research Council?
You may only submit one application for this grant under this call. On the other hand, you may apply for undirected project grants or project grants with another focus (in 2020, examples are 3R and Artistic research), provided they have a different project concept. You may apply for the specific international postdoc within Development research, but if both applications are approved you must choose between them. 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. You may apply for a project grant within Development research even if you are already a project leader for an ongoing project grant, provided your ongoing grant has a different focus and a different project concept.
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.
You may include up to 6 participating researchers in your application. Participating researchers are other researchers with a doctoral degree or equivalent competence, whose scientific competence will be crucial for the implementation of the planned research. They do not have to be employed by a Swedish HEI.
Participating researchers shall provide the necessary information themselves in Prisma, and upload these to the application. Any further collaborating partners and their roles shall be described in the research plan (please see instructions under “Research plan” below).
Costs and grant amounts
You can apply for a grant for all types of project-related costs, such as
- salaries (including your own salary), however no more than corresponding to the person’s activity level in the project
- running costs (such as consumables, travel including stays at research facilities, publication costs and minor equipment)
- depreciation costs
Grants must not be used for scholarships. If a doctoral student participates, project funds may not be paid out as salary during teaching or other departmental duties.
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 minimum amount you may apply for is 400 000 SEK per year, including indirect costs. The maximum amount you may apply for is 1 500 000 SEK per year.
You may apply for a grant for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 3 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:
- 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 picture 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 an 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 the countries of relevance to the project.
No participating researcher from a low income country
If you are not including a participating researcher from a low or lower middle income country in the project, you must justify this decision.
Sustainable development goals
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.
The following applies:
- If you answer “Yes”: Please justify your answer, and describe also how your take account of sex and gender perspectives in the 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 10 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. State also whether the project contributes further to research and scientific results from a grant awarded previously by the Swedish Research Council.
- 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.
- Project organisation: Clarify how you and any participating researchers will contribute to the implementation of the project. Explain in particular how the time allocated by you (that is, your activity level) as project leader is suitable for the task, including the relationship with your other research undertakings. Describe and explain the competences and roles of the participating researchers in the project, and also any other researchers or equivalent who are important for the implementation of the project.
- 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. Read more about the countries the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs is advising against travelling to on the website of the Swedish Government Offices.
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, which are open to all. If you choose to use other infrastructures instead, please justify this need (also applies for local research infrastructure).
- International and national collaboration: Describe your own and the team’s collaboration with foreign and Swedish researchers and research teams. State whether you contribute to or refer to international collaboration in your research.
- 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).
Research 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.
Budget and research resources
State the activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) of all personnel active within the project, that is to say yourself, any other researchers and other personnel. Please also state the salary you are applying for, for yourself and/or other personnel active within the project, both as a percentage of a full-time salary and as actual annual amounts (including social security contributions). Please state the amounts in Swedish krona, rounded to the nearest 1 000 SEK.
Describe any other costs of the project (premises costs, running costs and depreciation costs). Please state the amounts in Swedish krona, rounded to the nearest 1 000 SEK.
You may include depreciation costs for equipment to be used in the project, provided that
- the equipment has an economic life of at least three years
- the equipment has an acquisition value above a certain amount
- the need cannot be satisfied through use of national or international infrastructure supported by the Swedish Research Council and thereby open to all.
You may only include the proportion of depreciation costs that corresponds to the use of the equipment in the proposed project, and you may not include depreciation costs for equipment that is wholly funded by other grants. Please contact your administrating organisation for information about what is included in local research infrastructure, acquisition values or how to calculate depreciation 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’ publications lists joined up into one file. The list for each researcher shall include the 10 publications that are the most relevant to the research described, 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.
The publications shall be of the type: Peer-reviewed original articles, conference contributions, edited volumes, research review articles, books and book chapters, and other publications including popular science books/presentations.
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 other participating researchers and administrators to your application.
Under this tab, please upload your relevant CV information from your personal account in Prisma. Any 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.
How your application within development research is evaluated
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 of the project, Novelty and originality, Merits of the applicant, Feasibility). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. 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 project (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?
- If there are no participating researchers from low income countries: Has the applicant convincingly described how this may or may not affect the scientific quality of the project?
- 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)
The merits of the applicants are assessed in relation to the applicant´s stage of career and active time for research.
- Do the applicant, participating researchers and other team members have sufficient research experience and expertise in the research area of the proposed project? (Also considering how the different roles and responsibilities are distinguished.)
- Considering the research area and the applicant´s career age: 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?
- Is there ability to successfully disseminate research findings?
- 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)
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?