10 June - 01 September 2020
Consolidator grant for research on viruses and virus-caused disease conditions
The purpose of the grant is to give persons who are in the process of securing an independent research career in Sweden the opportunity to conduct long-term research in basic virology and fundamental disease mechanisms caused by viruses.
Support form: Career support
Subject area: Medicine and Health
Focus: Virus and virus-caused disease conditions
Applicant: Individual researcher who has completed a doctoral degree more than 7 years ago and up to 12 years ago.
Participating researchers: No participating researchers may be invited to join the application.
Grant period: 6 years
Grant amount: 2 000 000 SEK per year
Start of grant period: January 2021
Application period: 10 June 2020 (14.00/2 p.m.) – I September 2020 (14.00/2 p.m.)
Publication of grant award: No later than the beginning of December 2020
- As from 2020, you must explain in your research plan how your stated activity level (which must be minimum 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent) 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. 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 call text, you also need to consult our Guide for applicants.
Open publication of data
If you are awarded a grant, you are expected to publish your research data and research results of relevance to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with open access as quickly as possible. (Only applies to the data that may be made accessible according to applicable legislation.)
Please refer to the national Covid-19 data portal for more practical information on how to make your research data openly accessible. The portal has opened in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council in order to quickly make research data accessible in the struggle against the pandemic. The portal is linked to the European COVID-19 data platform which is open globally.
Clinical Studies Sweden – regional nodes supporting the work with clinical studies
The collaboration Clinical Studies Sweden consists of six regional nodes, one in each collaboration region. The nodes can provide contacts with relevant regional resources, such as research units, quality register centres, biobanks and cancer centres. The nodes can also give you support in your work in areas such as:
- study protocols, permit applications, data management and statistics
- infrastructures for implementation (such as FITH-Phase-IV and specialist units within primary care and paediatrics)
- training within clinical research methodology (such as GCP and statistics)
- expertise relating to statistics, epidemiology and health economics.
You can find more information about the nodes at kliniskastudier.se. This also includes a step-by-step guide that describes the study process and what you need to consider when conducting a clinical study.
Practical tips and advice relating to register-based studies
Registerforskning.se has information for those who are planning to use register data in research projects. Here you can also find the metadata tool RUT (Register Utiliser Tool), which offers researchers detailed information at metadata level about the variables used in Swedish registers and biobank sample collections.
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 Swedish Research Council invites researchers to apply for funds for research in the field of virus and virus-caused disease conditions.
Virus-caused infections are a leading cause of ill health and high mortality around the world, and are a great strain on healthcare and societal finances. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the problems that follow from limited knowledge about fundamental characteristics of a new virus, and the lack of effective antiviral treatments or vaccines against both unknown and known virus-caused infections. Virus-caused infections have great impact also under non-pandemic years, when outbreaks of influenza virus, RS virus, calicivirus and measles among others have placed major hospitals under emergency conditions. Virus develop resistance against existing medicines, which is also a problem, for example in the treatment of immuno-suppressed inpatients in hospitals.
The field of virus and virus-caused disease conditions covers human-pathogenic viruses, and includes both pre-clinical and clinical research relating to
- acute, persistent and chronic virus-caused infections
- understanding of these viruses’ disease mechanisms
- causal relationships between virus-caused infections and other diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, asthma and neuro-degenerative diseases
- epidemiology, healthcare research, rehabilitation, mental health, global health and health economics.
Questions within the field can relate to fundamental pre-clinical and clinical research, and can include research relating to for example
- disease mechanisms, modelling systems, transmission, viral tropism, the development of virucides, vaccines and anti-viral agents, antiviral resistance, viral immune response, gene and cancer therapy with virus vectors, diagnostics and mapping of viruses in the natural world.
The applicant for a consolidator 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 no less than 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent throughout the grant period, and 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.
You must hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent foreign degree, awarded more than 7 years and no more than 12 years before the deadline for this call.
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 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent. You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying.
To apply for a consolidator grant, your doctoral degree must have been awarded no later than 7 years ago and no earlier than 12 years ago at the deadline for the call, that is to say awarded no later than 1 September 2013 and no earlier than 1 September 2008. 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 less than 7 years ago or more than 12 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 even if you have applied for our undirected consolidator grants in 2020, but you can only be awarded one of the grants. The same applies if you have applied for our undirected project grants in 2020. Other restrictions on the grants you may apply for during the same year are shown in the table below.
Please note that if you are awarded a consolidator grant, you will not be able to apply for the Swedish Research Council’s undirected project grants during the grant period.
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. Please note that if you are awarded a consolidator grant and have an ongoing undirected project grant, this amount will be deducted from the standard amount of 2 million SEK during the grant period that overlaps your awarded consolidator grant.
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 amount you may apply for is a standard amount of 2 000 000 SEK per year, including indirect costs. The grant may be used for all types of project-related costs, but must not be used to finance your own salary or 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 6 years, starting in January 2021. The first payment will be made no earlier than December 2020.
You must submit an activity report to the Swedish Research Council no later than January 2024. The presentation shall focus on the scientific advances that the grant has enabled and how your research activities have developed, and may result in a review of the amounts for the remaining grant period.
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
- Letter of support
- Administrating organisation
- Participants (only administrators in this call)
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 will the research 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 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.
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 you 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”, and thereby do not consider that sex and gender perspectives are applicable for your planned research, you do not need to justify your decision.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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. 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.
Provide the following information also. If a heading is not relevant to your application, please state this under the heading.
- Data analysis and statistics: Modern methods often generate complex data. Describe how you plan to analyse data collected in the project, and the statistical methods you will be using. If the project covers clinical studies, please include a power analysis.
- 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. In the first instance, you should 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 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 idea (from you or another researcher).
- Clinical significance: Explain how the results of the project may be transferred into practical clinical use within the area medicine and health.
Budget and research resources
Please state your activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) in the project. Your activity level as project leader must correspond to no less than 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent.
The grant is a standard amount and you therefore do not need to enter any budget applied for in the application form.
Justification of the budget applied for
Describe briefly the primary costs you intend to cover within the framework for the grant 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
Letter of support
The formal letter of support from your administrating organisation shall be signed by the head of the home department or equivalent where you will be doing your research. Your (the applicant’s) name shall be stated clearly, as well as the name and function/position of the person writing the letter of support.
Please note that the letter of support forms an important part of the assessment of your application.
The document may cover no more than 2 A4 pages. The letter of support shall be written in English, and shall include the following headings and information. Don’t include any further information.
- the applicant’s research programme and how this fits into the research environment (research already in progress at the department)
- the applicant’s scientific independence
- how the applicant can contribute to the department’s activities based on their scientific and teaching competence.
Commitment of the hosting department
Information on/Description of:
- the applicant’s employment format and funding of the employment over the next 10-year period
- how the department will fulfil the applicant’s need for premises, equipment and other infrastructure
- the HEI’s/department’s career plan for the applicant during and after the grant period. The plan shall include goals and activities for how the applicant can continue acquiring scientific merit, and develop their leadership and their teaching competence.
By signing the application in Prisma, the administrating organisation confirms these undertakings.
Please state the administrating organisation and project site.
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:
- 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 based on the following evaluation criteria.
A review panel consisting of international researchers evaluates your application.
Five researcher 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 Scientific Council for Medicine and Health.
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. The applications screened out will, after the decision has been made, receive a final statement that includes which grades the applications received. The other applications receive a more detailed 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 the 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. In general, the competency of the applicant is given greater weight when evaluating individual career support. The criteria are assessed on a seven-graded scale, except for feasibility, which is assessed on a three-graded grade scale.
In addition to the basic criteria, the application is also evaluated using an additional criterion (relevance to the call) on a three-graded scale.
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.
The scientific quality of the proposed research (1 – 7)
- Will the project, if successful, significantly advance our understanding of the field?
- Is the research proposal relevant for medical research?
- Are the hypotheses clearly defined and based on the appropriate literature and/or preliminary data?
- Do the study design, research questions and hypotheses meet the standard of the highest scientific quality?
- Are the ethical considerations for the proposed project described and addressed properly?
- Are methods, including data analysis and statistics, appropriate for the project and well described?
- Are potential problems and alternative strategies identified and presented?
- If sex and gender is described as relevant to the research project, has the applicant considered sex and gender in the 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 generate or explore new research areas?
- Is there potential to generate new knowledge, novel technologies, or new directions for research and advancement of the field?
- Does the project significantly extend or challenge current understanding, views or practice in the field?
- Is the project built on a unique combination of ideas, preliminary data, and methodologies to create novel approaches to address the question at hand?
- Will completion of the aims improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice?
- Does the proposed line of research have the potential to significantly advance current knowledge in the field or will it only add minor details to existing knowledge?
- To what extent does the project show a clear progression and new thinking in relation to previous research?
Merits of the applicant (1 - 7)
- Does the applicant have sufficient research experience, expertise, level of independence and scientific network for implementation of the proposed project?
- How do the applicant’s academic qualifications and achievements relate to his or her career stage and active time for research?
- How significant is the applicant’s scientific productivity, impact and other merits in a national and international perspective, in relation to the research area? Is the researcher internationally recognised and a leader in her/his research field, or show the potential to become so?
- Has the applicant shown the ability to work in new (international) research environments, for instance during postdoctoral work?
- Does the researcher have the ability to establish a creative research environment through her/his research leadership?
Feasibility (1 - 3)
- Is the project’s design and choice of method adequate for the project’s implementation?
- Is the general design, including the time-frame, realistic for implementing the proposed project?
- Are the materials, methods (including statistics and/or power calculations), experimental models, and when appropriate, patient/study cohorts adequate and well adapted to the hypothesis or research question?
- Are any ethical questions relating to the implementation of the project addressed in an adequate way?
- Considering the project as a whole, is there sufficient competence in place to carry out the research task?
- Does the description in the research plan support the likelihood that the proposed project will be performed successfully? Is the scope of the project reasonable in relation to the funding applied for?
- Does the host institution’s support letter show that there is need for the applicant’s competence and an explicit interest in the suggested research direction in a broader sense? Does the host institution’s support letter show that the research environment is the right one for the applicant and for carrying out the research project? Is there a long-term plan for the applicant and the applicant’s field of research at the host institution?
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 (1 - 3)
Relevance to the program objectives is evaluated separately from the scientific quality, and is not included in the overall grade.
- To what extent is the proposal relevant to the described call objectives?