10 March - 13 April 2021
Doctoral programme grant within development research
The purpose of the doctoral programme grant within development research is to strengthen third cycle higher education in development research in national and international collaboration, and between different disciplines, thereby reinforcing development research as a field.
The graduate schools in development research shall be cross-sectoral, and be developed in collaboration between Swedish higher education institutions (HEIs) and HEIs in low income or lower middle income countries, using the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030 as the starting point.
Support form: Research environment and collaboration support
Area/Focus: Development Research
Applicant: Organisation (Swedish higher education institution (HEI) with degree-awarding powers at third cycle higher education level). A coordinator of the graduate school at the host organisation shall be invited to be the project leader for the application.
Participating HEIs and researchers: At least 2 further Swedish HEIs (with degree-awarding powers at third cycle higher education level) shall be included in the application, and at least 1 HEI in a low income or lower middle income country. One contact person per participating HEI shall be invited as a participating researcher.
Grant period: 3–4 years
Grant amount: Maximum 2 million SEK per year for 3–4 years
Budgetary framework: 6 million SEK per year for 4 years
Start of grant period: January 2022
Application period: 10 March 2021 (2 pm/14.00) – 13 April 2021 (14.00/2 pm)
Publication of grant award: No later than the beginning of December 2021
Pdf / Printout
INFORMATION MEETING 17/3
Welcome to an information meeting about this year's calls or applications in Development Research.
More info and registration can be found here. External link, opens in new window.
Specific instructions for the call
In addition to reading the call text, you also need to consult our Guide for applicants Opens in new window..
The following requirements must be fulfilled in order for the organisation to be eligible to apply for the grant. We carry out checks, and reject applications that do not fulfil the requirements.
Framework for the graduate school
The Swedish Research Council invites Swedish HEIs to apply for funding for graduate schools in development research. The graduate school shall be operated by several Swedish HEIs in collaboration with at least one HEI in a low income or lower middle income country.
Depending on differing needs and prerequisites, a graduate school may be designed in various ways. To get a grant from the Swedish Research Council, the graduate school must fulfil the following general requirements:
The graduate school shall:
- be linked to an HEI with main and coordinating responsibility
- be operated in collaboration between at least 3 Swedish HEIs with degree-awarding powers at third cycle higher education level and at least 1 HEI in a low income or lower middle income country, according to OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list External link, opens in new window. (columns “Least Developed Countries”, “Low Income Countries which are not LDCs” and “Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories”).
- be cross-sectoral/multi-sectoral and broad, and stimulate learning and collaboration between different disciplines
- use the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030 as the starting point.
The goal of calls in development research is to reinforce Swedish research of the highest quality with particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income countries.
Development research shall contribute to knowledge about the causes and consequences, and possible solutions of poverty. It shall contribute to knowledge about sustainable development and links between sustainable development and the fight against poverty and other societal challenges in low income countries and regions. The fight against poverty shall be understood in a multi-dimensional way, and therefore not just as lack of material assets, but also lack of power and influence over the own situation, and as lack of opportunities to choose, of security, and of respect of human rights.
The Swedish Research Council invites applications from all disciplines and subject areas, such as humanities, behavioural sciences, economics, social sciences, educational sciences, natural sciences, engineering sciences, environmental sciences, urban planning, medicine and health, and welcomes interdisciplinary constellations.
The graduate schools in development research shall use the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030 as the starting point, and also be multi-sectoral and stimulate learning and collaboration between different disciplines. They shall be developed in collaboration between at least 3 Swedish HEIs and at least 1 HEI in a low income or lower middle-income country. The budget allocation should reflect the fact that the graduate school is operated in collaboration between several actors. Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about the design and cooperation, for example in relation to participants from low income and/or lower middle income countries, and collaboration across different disciplines.
The graduate school shall in the first instance be regarded as a complement to existing doctoral courses, and contribute to a broader perspective in forms such as elective courses, seminars and other activities that involve doctoral students and their supervisors.
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 External link, opens in new window. that is/are relevant for your application. For the same reason, you must also classify your application according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s policy markers. External link, opens in new window. The classification does not affect the assessment of your application.
Here you can read more about how the Swedish Research Council reports the use of development aid funds. Opens in new window.
The applicant for the grant must be a Swedish university or higher education institution (HEI) with degree-awarding powers at third cycle higher education level, that has also been approved as an administrating organisation Opens in new window. for grants from the Swedish Research Council. The HEI shall coordinate the national graduate school, and shall also be responsible for activity reporting and for scientific and financial final reporting of grants awarded. The graduate school shall be operated in collaboration between at least 3 Swedish HEIs and at least 1 HEI in a low income or lower middle income country, according to OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list External link, opens in new window.[ (columns “Least Developed Countries”, “Low Income Countries which are not LDCs” and “Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories”).
The application shall include one named researcher, who shall be the coordinator of the graduate school and responsible for coordination and follow-up of studies. The coordinator shall be employed by the administrating organisation at the start of and throughout the grant period and any further additional availability period, unless the Swedish Research Council approves an exception. The employment must equal at least 20 per cent of a full-time equivalent. The coordinator does not have to be employed at the time of applying. A named representative of each participating HEI shall be listed (see instructions under “Graduate school programme” below), and be included as a participating researcher in the application.
Number of applications and previous grants
There is no limit to the number of applications a single HEI may submit or participate in.
In general, however, your application must not cover costs for purposes that are already funded by the Swedish Research Council or any other funding body. Overlaps with other grants or applications may impact on the grant amount awarded, or be a reason for us to reject an application.
A representative of each HEI participating in the graduate school shall be included as a participating researcher in the application. The participating researchers shall be researchers with a doctoral degree or corresponding competence, whose scientific competence will be crucial for implementing the proposed graduate school’s activities.
Participating researchers shall provide the necessary information themselves in Prisma, and upload these to the application.
Costs and grant amounts
You can apply for a grant to fund costs related to the graduate school, such as coordination and courses. Salary for the coordinator of the graduate school/director of studies may cover up to 30% of a full-time equivalent. Salary for administration may cover up to 40% of a full-time equivalent. Salary for doctoral students may not be funded within the budget of the graduate school.
You may apply for a maximum of 2 000 000 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.
The grant may cover a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 years, starting in January 2022. The first payment will be made in January 2022 at the earliest.
Please refer to the application form in Prisma in parallel with reading the instructions below, which describe the call-specific contents of the application. More information on what to do in practical terms is available in our Guide for applicants. Opens in new window.
Foreign experts are involved in the scientific evaluation 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
The information we request under each tab is described below.
The abstract shall include a brief description of the following:
- the focus of the graduate school
- the organisation planned
- the significance to the research area
The text shall provide an overview of the purpose and implementation of the graduate school. 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 activities of the graduate school 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 graduate school will support development research.
The popular science description is an important tool when we inform about the research funded by the Swedish Research Council. If we approve the 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 collaboration countries (at least 1) planned for the application.
Global goals for sustainable development
State which of the 17 UN sustainable development goals (according to Agenda 2030) that the graduate school is linked to in particular. Further information is available under the heading “Follow-up of funding of development research” at the beginning of the call text.
Policy markers OpenAid
State to what extent the graduate school focuses on each policy marker area. You can find a link to a description of the policy markers under the heading “Follow-up of funding of development research” at the beginning of the call text.
Describe the ethical issues raised by the graduate school. 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 identified. How do the 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.
Graduate school programme
The graduate school programme shall consist of a brief but complete description of how the graduate school will be designed. 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 graduate school programme must include the following headings and information, listed in the following order:
- Objective: Describe the theme and focus of the graduate school.
- Research environment: Describe the research environment/s supporting the graduate school. Describe the environment/s in terms of focus and management, and the focus of research in progress. Describe in particular how the environment/s may contribute to the development of the graduate school.
- Programme description: Summarise the planned educational activities of the graduate school, and describe the recruitment basis.
- Organisation: Describe in detail how the graduate school will be organised and administrated (courses offered, seminars, course development, coordinating, study follow-up, work allocation between supervisors, examiners and course providers). Describe also the planned dimensioning of the graduate school in terms of number of doctoral students.
- Cooperation: Describe the HEIs that are participating in the operation of the graduate school, and list the person/s (name, position, organisational unit) who will be responsible for this participation at each HEI. Describe briefly the planned allocation of roles, tasks and responsibilities for the operation to the persons participating (including the coordinator), and what specific competences each participant will contribute.
- Other collaboration: Describe the collaboration with any other Swedish and foreign research environments and/or other graduate schools.
Report the following under separate headings if relevant to your application:
- Equipment: Describe the basic equipment relevant to the programme that the graduate school has at its disposal.
- Need for research infrastructure: Specify the graduate school’s need for international and national infrastructure. In the first instance, you should use the research infrastructures supported by the Swedish Research Council, Opens in new window. which are open to all. If you choose to use other infrastructures instead, please justify this need (also applies for local research infrastructure).
Relevance and impact
State in what way the focus of the graduate school is of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income countries (see further information under the heading “Focus” above), and how the graduate school promotes the development of research with the potential of contributing to better living conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression, and/or promotes sustainable development in low income countries.
The description may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one 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 operation of the doctoral programme, that is to say the project leader/coordinator, other researchers responsible for participation in the doctoral programme at other HEIs, and other personnel.
Please also state the salary you are applying for, for the project leader/coordinator or other personnel active within the graduate school, 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 operation, 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 fulfilled by using national or international research infrastructure supported by the Swedish Research Council and open to all.
You may only include the proportion of depreciation costs that corresponds to the use of the equipment in the proposed operation. You may not include depreciation costs for equipment that is wholly financed via other grants.
Total cost of the graduate school
Prisma will automatically add up your budget items listed in a table. The total amount applied for shall also include indirect costs. These shall be added to the table by the applicant (project leader). Here the applicant (project leader) can also add any additional costs that the graduate school entails (for which you are not seeking funding under this call).
Justification of the budget applied for
Justify briefly each cost applied for in the budget stated. 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 any other funding of 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.
Project leader’s/Coordinator’s publications list
Please attach the publications 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 publications (maximum 10) of greatest importance to your application. For each publication, please state how the researcher contributed to it, and its relevance to the graduate school described (maximum 4 lines per publication). Highlight the researcher’s name in bold in the author list.
2. Relevant publications from 2013–2021: Sort the publications, with the researcher’s 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 together into a single file. The list for each researcher shall include the publications (maximum 10) that are the most relevant for the graduate school, and shall cover a maximum of 1 A4 page. 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 location of the graduate school.
Under this tab, the person invited to be the project leader/coordinator in turn invites the participating researchers and any participating administrators to the application.
Under this tab, the project leader/coordinator shall upload the relevant CV information from their personal account in Prisma. Participating researchers must upload their own CV information to the application.
The following information, where available, must always be included in each CV, taking into account the stated limitation in numbers:
- Education: First, second and third cycle higher education and specialist degrees.
- Work: Current employment (including whether permanent or not) and longer relevant employment, postdoctoral visits (including whether employment or not), research exchanges relevant to the research described and any longer interruptions in the research that have impacted on the researcher’s opportunity to gain merits as a researcher.
- Merits and awards: Docentship/associate professorship, supervisees (postdoctoral and doctoral students; state the overall number of each category and list the 10 most relevant), up to 10 of the researcher’s most relevant grants awarded in competition, up to 10 of the researcher’s 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 the researcher; state up to 10 of the 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 for doctoral programme within development research is evaluated by a review panel where the members are international researchers.
At least three 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.
Review panels Opens in new window.
Following the grant decision your application will receive an individual final statement containing the grades and a summary of the review panel’s discussion and overall assessment of the scientific quality of the application.
Here you will find a more comprehensive description of the Swedish Research Council's assessment of applications. Opens in new window.
Evaluation criteria and guiding questions
The evaluation of the scientific quality of your application is made based on four basic criteria (Scientific quality of the proposed research, Novelty and originality, Merits of the applicant, Feasibility). Doctoral programmes are also assessed based on two additional criteria (Research environment, Internationalisation). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. The criteria are assessed on a seven-grade scale, except for feasibility, which is assessed on a three-grade grade scale.
In addition to the basic criteria, your application is also evaluated using an additional criterion (Relevance to the call) on a three-grade 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.
Scientific quality of the proposed research (1–7)
- To what extent do the objectives, content and organisation of the graduate school add scientific value to the doctoral education within development research?
- How does the proposed educational content, in terms of courses, seminars and other activities, support high scientific quality, methodologically and theoretically?
- Does the graduate school and the structure of the educational content ensure high pedagogical quality in the education?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- In what way does the graduate school contribute to novelty and originality with regards to the graduate education within development research and the purpose of this call?
- Does the graduate school support novel forms of collaboration and participation?
- What aspects of the objectives, content and organisation of the graduate school contribute to strengthening the originality and developing novel thinking in the scientific work and training of the graduate students?
Merits of the applicant (1–7)
- Does the programme coordinator and participating researchers have previous experience conducting doctoral education and graduate schools?
- Are the coordinator and participating researchers highly merited within their respective fields?
- How do their joint merits and competence contribute to high quality in the doctoral education?
- In what way does the organisation and management of the graduate school ensure quality in implementation?
- How do the participating institutions each contribute to the graduate school?
- Have the applicants shown that there is an adequate number of potential graduate participants?
- How is access to staff, infrastructure and other necessary resources ensured?
- Is the budget realistic in relation to the objectives, content and organisation of the graduate school?
Research environment (1-7)
- Is the graduate school founded on relevant, state-of-the-art research of high quality?
- How does the research at the participating institutions complement each other in terms of relevance and high quality research?
- Does the plan and budget reflect that the graduate school is a collaborative effort between the participating institutions?
- Is the participating institution from low-income or lower middle-income country a fully integrated partner in the graduate school?
- Does the design of the graduate school promote mutual exchange between the participating institutions?
- How can the graduate school promote international networking for its participating students?
Overall grade (1–7)
The above subsidiary criteria are weighed together into an overall grade according to the following criteria:
- The graduate school must be feasible, part of a well-functioning research environment of high quality and applicants must have relevant experience working with doctoral education.
- The assessment of the graduate school’s scientific quality is a crucial part of the overall assessment.
- Novelty and originality should be taken into account, but a high score cannot compensate for a lack of scientific quality.
- Relevance and internationalisation should play an important part in the overall assessment, but cannot compensate for a lack of scientific quality.
Relevance to the call (1-3)
Relevance is a central criteria to development research, and it is evaluated separately from the scientific quality, and is not included in the overall grade. Graduate schools in Development Research 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 countries.
- Is the focus of the graduate school in line with the purpose and focus of the call?
- Is the connection to, and between, the global sustainability goals clear and relevant?
- To what extent does the graduate school support research with the potential to promote sustainable development in low-income countries?
- Does the graduate school promote research and graduate education that addresses and targets conditions and challenges of relevance particularly for low-income countries?