13 January - 16 February 2021
International postdoc within natural and engineering sciences (spring 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: Natural and Engineering Sciences
Focus: Natural and engineering 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 30 June 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 50 000 SEK per year may be applied for, for one or more accompanying family members.
Start of grant period: July 2021
Application period: 13 January 2021 (14.00/2 p.m.) – 16 February 2021 (14.00/2 p.m.)
Publication of grant award: No later than the beginning of June 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 30 June 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.
- 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.
- We are introducing 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 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.
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 have been awarded a doctoral degree from a Swedish HEI or the European University Institute (EUI), 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 30 June 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. 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 local 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.
To apply for an international postdoc grant, your doctoral degree must have been awarded no more than 2 years ago, that is to say awarded no earlier than 16 February 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 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 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 medicin and health, humanities and social sciences, or artistic research. On the other hand, you may apply for an international postdoc grant in development research, but if this application is approved and you choose to receive the grant, the application for an international postdoc grant in development research will not be processed further. 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 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 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 (standardised at 30 per cent) and also includes social security contributions. Grants must not be used for scholarships.
A further total of 50 000 SEK may be applied for for accompanying family (spouse/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.
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 July 2021.The first payment will be made no earlier than July 2021.
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.
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.
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 1/3 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 1 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 also.
The justification may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately 1 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”: Justify your answer, and describe also how you take account of sex and gender perspectives in the research plan (see further instructions under “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 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 goals 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 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.
- 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).
- 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).
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.
Justification of the budget applied for
Describe very briefly how you intend to allocate the grant (in percentages) to salary costs (including additional costs for you and any accompanying family), research expenses and indirect costs. Please note that the management of indirect costs varies between different higher education institutions. It is therefore important that you talk to your administrating organisation to find out what applies for your project.
The description may cover a maximum of 1 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately 1/4 A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
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:
- 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.
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).
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).
Description and justification of the host department chosen
The document must cover no more than 1 A4 page and shall include the following:
- A description of how the research at the host department abroad relates to the research at the Swedish department.
- A justification of your choice of host department abroad and description of your opportunities to develop your skills as a researcher.
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 Natural and Engineering 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)
An assessment of the quality of the project’s research question and methodology, including its potential for future research.
- Are the addressed scientific questions important in the context of existing scientific knowledge and ongoing research worldwide?
- Does the proposal outline a research approach that permits the raised questions to be answered?
- When applicable, is the proposed development of methods or techniques of high scientific significance? Does the proposed development allow new scientific questions to be addressed?
- When applicable, how are issues relating to sex and gender perspectives justified and handled in the research plan?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
An assessment of how well new theories, concepts, methods and questions are implemented and developed.
- To what extent does the project have the potential to significantly advance the frontiers of the research field?
- To what extent does the proposed project define new, interesting scientific questions?
To what extent does the proposed project use new ways and methods to address important scientific questions?
Merits of the applicant (1–7)
The assessment should concern the merits of the applicant to perform the proposed project. Participating researchers are not allowed in International postdoc grant applications.
- How significant is the applicant’s scientific productivity, impact and other merits in a national and international perspective, in relation to the research area, and the applicant’s career age?
- What is the applicant’s scientific potential within the research area of the application?
A high risk-high gain project is not considered having lower feasibility. It is the criteria below that should be evaluated.
- Are the available equipment, infrastructure and other resources adequate for the proposed project?
- Considering the project as a whole, does the applicant or project group have sufficient competence to perform the proposed research?
- Does the description in the research plan support the likelihood that the proposed project will be performed successfully?
Internationalisation and research environment (1-7)
An assessment of the opportunities for the applicant to develop their research network and their competence as a researcher and if the project promotes mobility. Identify strengths and weaknesses.
- To what extent does the foreign host institution seem relevant for the research the application concerns? If relevant, to what extent does the Swedish host institution seem relevant for the research the application concerns?
- To what extent does the project contribute to the applicant’s ability to develop new competences, their research network and their independence as a researcher?
- To what extent is the Swedish research environment suitable for the applicant’s ability to develop their career as an independent researcher? To what extent does the project contribute to the national mobility of Swedish researchers?
- To what extent does the stay abroad and the project contribute to Swedish research?
Overall grade (1–7)
The various sub-criteria are weighed together into an overall grade reflecting the collected evaluation of the application’s sub-grades given by the review panel. The overall grade is formed without a pre-determined numerical weighing of the basic criteria. As a guidance for the review panel’s assessment, the scientific quality of the proposed research and the merits of the applicant are the two most important criteria. Internationalisation and research environment and Novelty and originality should also be considered in the assessment, but should be given lower weight than the quality of the project and the merits of the applicant. The feasibility shall be weighed into the overall rating of the application if it deviates from the grade “Feasible”.