18 August - 14 September 2021
International postdoc within humanities and social sciences including educational sciences (autumn call)
The purpose of the grant is to give newly qualified researchers with a doctoral degree from a Swedish university the opportunity to expand their networks and their competences by working abroad under secure employment conditions. The grant is also intended to promote the quality and renewal of Swedish research.
Support form: Career support
Subject area: Humanities and Social Sciences, Educational Sciences
Focus: Humanities and social sciences including educational sciences
Applicant: Individual researcher who completed a doctoral degree no more than 2 years ago, or who will have completed a doctoral degree before the start of the grant period, that is no later than 31 December 2021.
Participating researchers: No participating researchers may be invited to join the application.
Grant period: 18–36 months
Grant amount: 1 150 000 SEK per year. A further total of 50 000 SEK per year may be applied for, for one or more accompanying family members.
Start of grant period: January 2022
Application period: 18 August 2021 (14.00/2 p.m.) – 14 September 2021 (14.00/2 p.m.)
Publication of grant award: No later than mid-December 2021
- Persons who have not yet been awarded their doctoral degree can apply for the grant. However, you must have been awarded a doctoral degree before you sign the grant terms and conditions, and before the grant period begins, that is no later than 31 December 2021. Please note that if you will be completing your doctoral degree after the call has closed, you must provide information about the planned examination in the Research education you upload to the application.
- From 2021, the two previous standard items (salary costs and research expenses) have been joined together, and increased from 1 050 000 SEK per year to 1 150 000 SEK per year.
- From 2021, we have introduced a fixed standard amount grant of 50 000 SEK per year for accompanying family. The standard grant amount is the same, irrespective of the number of accompanying family members.
- You will need to have a data management plan Opens in new window. for data generated within the research we award funds for. You must not send the plan to us, but according to our general grant terms and conditions, your administrating organisation must confirm that a data management plan will be in place when you start your project or equivalent, and also that the plan will be maintained.
- On August 25, 2021 at 13.00/1 p.m.–14.30/2.30 p.m., we have a webinar on Zoom where we briefly present the grant form and give you as an applicant the opportunity to ask questions about the call and the application. More information and registration for the webinar 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.
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 applicant for an International postdoc grant must be an individual researcher. To apply, you must hold a doctoral degree from a Swedish higher education institution (HEI) or the European University Institute (EUI) External link, opens in new window., awarded no more than 2 years before the deadline for this call. If you have not yet been awarded your doctoral degree, you can still apply, provided you will have completed a doctoral degree before the start of the grant period, that is no later than 31 December 2021.
Grants from the Swedish Research Council shall be administered by a Swedish HEI or another Swedish organisation that fulfils our criteria for administrating organisations Opens in new window.. Your organisation must therefore be approved as an administrating organisation for you to apply. The administrating organisation must sign your application in Prisma no later than 7 calendar days after the deadline for this call.
If you are awarded a grant, you must be employed by the administrating organisation at the start of and throughout the grant period and any additional availability period. The Swedish Research Council does not usually allow exceptions from the employment requirement due to circumstances that mean the administrating organisation cannot employ you for posting abroad, for example if you are already living in the host country at the time of employment. Exceptions from the employment requirement may, however, be allowed if national regulations in the host country require employment with an employer in the country in question. Before you send your application to the Swedish Research Council, you must check with the administrating organisation whether it is possible for you to be employed and posted abroad.
The administrating organisation will decide on the employment format, salary and employment terms and conditions. You are, however, expected to remain employed full-time throughout the grant period, which means that you are employed and pay tax in Sweden during your stay abroad. You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying.
Read more about the regulations governing public agency personnel working outside Sweden on the Swedish Agency for Government Employers’ website External link, opens in new window..
To apply for an international postdoc grant, your doctoral degree must have been awarded no more than 2 years ago, counted from the deadline of the call. That is to say awarded no earlier than 14 September 2019. We base the career age on the date you fulfilled all the requirements for a doctoral degree, such as mandatory courses, oral defence and an approved doctoral thesis. For applicants with Swedish doctoral degrees, the award date (date of completed studies) listed in Ladok applies. You will not be able to complete your application if your doctoral degree was awarded more than 2 years ago. An exception applies if there are longer continuous periods of so called 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 for deductible time 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 full-time work) or further training/specialist medical internship for clinically active professionals (maximum 24 months full-time education/work). 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 cannot simultaneously apply for an international postdoc grant in medicine and health, natural and engineering sciences, or artistic research. You may apply for this grant if you have already applied for an international postdoc grant within development research, but if both applications are approved you will need to choose one of the grants. 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 ongoing grant in the “Approval of terms and conditions” you received from the Swedish Research Council.
The table below shows information and 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 not invite any participating researchers in this application. Any collaboration partners and their roles shall be described in the research plan (please see instructions under “Research plan” below).
Costs and grant amounts
The grant amount is a standard amount of 1 150 000 SEK per year. The grant may be used to cover your salary, housing during your stay abroad, and additional costs coverage according to URA’s rules or corresponding costs for you and your accompanying family members. Maximum 150 000 SEK of the grant may be used for costs related to your research (such as equipment, consumables and publication costs). The grant amount includes cover of indirect costs and also includes social security contributions. In our calculation of the standard amount, indirect costs have been standardized to 30% of the grant amount, but since the actual cost differs between HEIs, it is important that you confirm with your administrating organisation about what applies in your case. Grants must not be used for scholarships.
A further total of 50 000 SEK may be applied for for accompanying family (partner and under-age children). The standard amount for accompanying family is the same, irrespective of the number of accompanying family members. The standard amount for accompanying family may be used as additional costs coverage according to URA’s rules for accompanying family members or corresponding costs. Note that you cannot apply for an accompanying family grant later on, or during the grant period.
The Swedish Research Council assumes that the administrating organisation, as the employer responsible, will cover any costs in excess of the standard amount.
The grant period is 18–36 months, starting 1 January 2022.The first payment will be made no earlier than January 2022.
A condition of this grant is that you spend at least two thirds of the grant period abroad. You may, however, divide this time up into several shorter periods.
You must confirm that you fulfil the mobility condition by attaching a letter of invitation from the foreign host university or equivalent research institution, and also a description and justification of your choice. Both documents must cover the period stated in the application.
Please refer to the application form in Prisma in parallel with reading the instructions below, which describe the call-specific content of the application. More information on what to do in practical terms is available in our Guide for applicants Opens in new window..
Foreign experts are involved in the scientific assessment of the applications. To ensure fair and equitable assessment and efficient processing, please therefore complete 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
- Participants (only administrators in this call)
The information we request under each tab is described below.
State the country and the host HEI and department where you will be spending your stay abroad. State also the number of months you intend to spend at the host department. You may state more than one host country/host department, and if applicable start with the one where you are going to spend the longest time and so on.
Supervisor / Research group leader
Enter the names of your supervisors / research group leaders at the administrating organisation and foreign host institution(s). If your project is carried out at several different institutions, enter names in the same order as you entered your host institutions.
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.
Indicate if your application concerns the subject area Humanities and social sciences or Educational Sciences.
Please state any longer continous 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.
The research plan shall be forward-looking and consist of a brief but complete description of the research task. It shall cover a maximum of 8 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins, including references and any images.
The research plan must include the following headings and information, listed in the following order:
- Purpose and aims: State the overall purpose and specific aims of the research project.
- State-of-the-art: Summarise briefly the current research frontier within the field or area covered by the project. State key references.
- Significance and scientific novelty: Describe briefly how the project relates to previous research within the area, and the impact the project may have in the short and long term. Describe also how the project moves forward or innovates the current research frontier.
- Preliminary and previous results: Describe briefly your own previous research and pilot studies within the research area that make it probable that the project will be feasible. If no preliminary results exist, please state this.
- 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 to the implementation of the project, including a description of competences and roles in the project.
- Results: Describe the results you expect from the project.
- Independent line of research: If you are working or will be working in a larger group, please clarify how your project relates to the other projects in the group. If you are continuing a project that was wholly or partly started during your doctoral or postdoc studies, you must also describe the relationship between your project and the research of your former supervisor.
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. 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).
- 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).
Budget and research resources
Because the grant is in a standard amount, you do not need to enter any budget applied for in the application form.
Please state your activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) in the project. We assume that your activity level as project leader corresponds to a full-time equivalent during the grant period.
Grant for accompanying family
Please state if you are applying for the standard grant for accompanying family members.
Planned use of the grant
Indicate how you plan to allocate the grant (in percentages) in terms of salary costs (including additional costs for you and any accompanying family), research expenses and indirect costs. Since the indirect costs differ between different universities, it is important that you confirm with your administrating organisation about what applies to your project and state this percentage.
The description may cover a maximum of 500 characters including blank spaces.
Please attach your publication list drawn up according to the headings and information below. The list shall cover a maximum of 5 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins.
Please sort the publications under each heading in reverse chronological order, so that the latest publication is at the top of the list. Please only include articles or corresponding that are published or accepted for publication at the time of applying. The author name order shall be identical to that of the published work, and your name shall be highlighted in bold. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
1. Selection of publications: List the 5 publications of greatest importance to your application. Describe how you contributed to each publication, and its relevance to your research project (maximum 4 lines per publication). Highlight your name in bold in the author list. State “Part of PhD thesis” in bold in brackets for the publications included in your doctoral thesis.
2. All publications: Sort the publications, with your name highlighted in bold in the author list, under each heading (publication type) in the following order. State “Part of PhD thesis” in bold in brackets for the publications included in your doctoral thesis.
- Peer-reviewed original articles
- Peer-reviewed conference contributions, the results of which are not included in other publications
- Peer-reviewed edited volumes
- Research review articles
- Peer-reviewed books and book chapters
- Other publications including popular science books/presentations
Invitation from the administrating organisation
The invitation from the Swedish HEI where you will be employed shall show that you are welcome to conduct your planned research there. By signing the application in Prisma, the administrating organisation confirms this undertaking.
The invitation shall be addressed to you as applicant, cover the period shown in this call and include:
1. Applicant’s profile
- how the applicant’s proposed research relates to the research conducted at the department or research team involved
- the applicant’s scientific independence in relation to the department or research team involved
- how the results from the research programme will contribute to the department’s future activities.
2. Commitment of the administrating organisation
- the planned start and end dates of your employment at the Swedish HEI, the applicant’s employment form, and any additional funding or support required to conduct the planned research
- how the HEI/department will fulfil the project’s needs for premises, equipment and other infrastructure
- the department’s plan for how the applicant can continue to develop their scientific career and competence during and after the grant period.
The document may cover no more than 2 A4 pages, and shall be in English. Download the template invitation from the administrating organisation here. Word, 40.2 kB, opens in new window.
Invitation from host department abroad
The appendix shall include a formal invitation from the host department abroad showing that you are welcome to carry out your planned research there. The invitation shall be addressed to you as the applicant from the head of department or equivalent of the host department abroad where the research will be carried out. The name and contact details of the person signing the document shall be included. The invitation shall apply for the period shown in this call and shall include the following:
- the reason for inviting and hosting the applicant
- how the applicant’s proposed research fits into the research and expertise of the department or research team involved
- the applicant’s proposed role in the research team and/or in the department.
In addition, the invitation shall also describe the host department’s undertakings in the form of a description of:
- the support required to conduct the proposed research and how this will be provided for the applicant
- how the department will fulfil the applicant’s need for premises, equipment and other infrastructure
- how the research environment will support the development of the applicant’s scientific career, networks and competence.
The invitation shall include information on the host department, including the period/s of the stay/s, and contact person at the host department abroad (first name, last name, telephone number and email address). Please also state the faculty of the host department and the postal address.
The document may cover a maximum of 2 A4 pages (2 pages per invitation in the event you will be staying at more than one host department abroad). Download the template invitation from the host department abroad here Word, 40.3 kB, opens in new window..
Description and justification of the host department chosen
The document must cover no more than 1 A4 page and shall include the following:
- A justification of your choice of host department abroad and description of your opportunities to develop your skills as a researcher.
- A justification of your choice of the administrating organisation and description of your opportunities to develop your independence as a researcher.
- A description of how the research at the host department abroad relates to the research at the Swedish department.
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, taking in account the stated limitation in numbers:
- Education: First, second and third cycle higher education and specialist degrees. Please note that if you will be completing your doctoral degree after the call has closed, you must provide information about the planned examination in the Research education you upload to the application.
- Work: Current employment (including whether permanent or not) and longer relevant employment held, postdoctoral visits (also included as employment if relevant), research exchanges relevant to the research described and any longer interruptions in the research that have impacted on your opportunity to gain merit as a researcher.
- Merits and awards: Supervisees (doctoral students and students; state the number of persons in each category and list the names of the up to 10 most relevant to you), up to 10 of your most relevant grants awarded in competition, up to 10 of your most relevant prizes and awards, and up to 20 other merits relevant to the application.
- Intellectual property rights: For example, patents and open access computer programs developed by you; state up to 10 of your most relevant.
Scientific quality is the fundamental criterion when the Swedish Research Council allocates grants to research. Your application is evaluated in competition with the other applications on the basis of the following evaluation criteria.
Your application is evaluated by a review panel where the members are Swedish and 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 Scientific Council for Humanities and Social sciences.
In order to enable more in-depth discussions of applications of higher quality that have a reasonable chance of being funded, the applications that received the lowest grades from the panel members are not discussed in detail at the review panel meeting. Following the grant decision, all applications receive a final statement stating that includes the review panels’ grading of the application. The applications that have been discussed in more detail at the panel meeting receive an individual final statement which, in addition to the grades, also contains a summary of the review panel’s discussion and overall assessment of the scientific quality of the application.
Evaluation criteria and guiding questions
The evaluation of the scientific quality of your application is made based on four basic criteria (Scientific quality of the proposed research, Novelty and originality, Merits of the applicant, Feasibility). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. In addition to the basic criteria, the applications are also assessed using an additional criterion, Internationalisation and research environment. The criteria are assessed on a seven-grade scale, except for feasibility, which is assessed on a three-grade 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)
Strengths and weaknesses in the project's question and methodology, including potential for future scientific activities.
- To what extent is the design of the project, including its scientific questions, of the highest scientific quality?
- To what extent is the project description sufficiently clear and systematic, for example in its definition of the research problem, theory connection and the summary of previous results within the research area?
- To what extent is the proposed research design suitable for the purpose of the project?
- To what extent are the methods for any data collection and analysis well described and suitable?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- To what extent does the project have the potential to increase knowledge within the research area in a significant way? (Examples are new concepts and theories, approaches and methods and/or new data.)
- To what extent does the project show a clear progression and new thinking in relation to previous research?
- What potential does the project have for scientific and societal impact?
Merits of the applicant (1–7)
The applicant's competence is always assessed in relation to the applicant's career age and in relation to the research task.
- To what extent does the applicant have sufficient research experience and expertise within the area that the application relates to?
- To what extent has the applicant displayed an ability for independent and creative scientific work?
- How good are the applicants scientific production, impact and other merits in a national and international perspective, in relation to the research area and the applicant’s career age?
- To what extent is the division of labor and time plan realistic?
- Is there access to materials, equipment, research infrastructures and other resources required for the implementation of the project?
- Have the permits required to implement the project been obtained? If not, is there a statement on how these permits are applied for and how likely it is that these permits will be obtained?
Internationalisation and research environment (1-7)
An assessment of the opportunities for the applicant to develop their research network and competence as a researcher.
- To what extent does the foreign host institution seem relevant for the research the application concerns?
- How suitable is the foreign research environment for the applicant’s ability to develop new competences, their research network and their independence as a researcher?
- How suitable is the Swedish research environment for the applicant’s ability to develop their career as a researcher?
- To what extent does the stay abroad and the project contribute to Swedish research and Swedish research environments?
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.