10 February - 17 March 2021
Starting grant within medicine and health
The purpose of the grant is to give junior researchers the opportunity to establish themselves as independent researchers in Sweden.
Support form: Career support
Subject area: Medicine and Health
Applicant: Individual researcher who has completed a doctoral degree more than 2 years ago and up to 7 years ago.
Participating researchers: No participating researchers may be invited to join the application.
Grant period: 4 years
Grant amount: 1 500 000 SEK per year
Budgetary framework: Approximately 30 grants will be awarded under the call
Start of grant period: January 2022
Application period: 10 February 2021 (14.00/2 pm) – 17 March 2021 (14.00/2 pm)
Publication of grant award: No later than the beginning of November 2021
- This year, the call includes support for the specific areas of Precision medicine, as well as Infection and antibiotics. Please state in your application if it relates to either of these areas.
- As from 2020, you must explain in your research plan how your stated activity level is suited to the implementation of the research project.
- You must describe whether sex and gender perspectives are relevant for your research and, if so, in which way you will use such perspectives. 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. Opens in new window.
- 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.
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 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 a starting 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) must be suited to the task and its implementation, and must equal at least 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent throughout the grant period.
You must hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent foreign degree, awarded more than 2 years and no more than 7 years before the deadline for this call.
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, 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 starting grant, you must have been awarded a doctoral degree more than 2 years ago and no more than 7 years ago at the deadline for the call, that is to say awarded no later than 17 March 2019 and no earlier than 17 March 2014. 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 listed in Ladok applies. You will not be able to complete your application if your doctoral degree was awarded less than 2 years ago or more than 7 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
General information about overlap between applications and grants
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 you are awarded, or be a reason for us to reject your application.
What grants may I apply for simultaneously from the Swedish Research Council?
You may only submit one application for this grant under this call. The table below shows information and restrictions on the grants you may apply for during the same year. Please note that you may not simultaneously apply for the Swedish Research Council’s undirected project grants. Please note also that if you are awarded a starting 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 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.
Please also note that you cannot apply for a starting grant if you at any time previously have been awarded and been the project leader for a project grant for junior researchers from the Swedish Research Council.
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 amount you may apply for is a standard amount of 1 500 000 SEK per year, including indirect costs.
The grant may be used for all types of project-related costs, such as
- salaries (including your own salary, however no more than corresponding to your activity level in the project)
- running costs (such as consumables, travel including stays at research facilities, publication costs and minor equipment)
- depreciation costs.
Grants must not be used for scholarships. If a doctoral student participates, project funds may not be paid out as salary during teaching or other departmental duties.
The 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 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 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
- Letter of support
- Administrating organisation
- Review panels
- 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 the research will be carried out: project organisation, time plan and scientific methods
- What is important about the planned research.
The abstract shall provide a summary picture of the purpose and implementation of the research. Please use wording to ensure persons with another subject specialisation can understand the information.
The description may cover a maximum of 1 500 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one third of an A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Popular science description
Describe the project in such a way that a person who is not familiar with the subject can understand it. Describe what is to be done, and why. Explain also in what way the new knowledge may be important.
The popular science description is an important tool when we inform about the research funded by the Swedish Research Council. If we grant your application, we reserve the right to use the description for information purposes.
The description may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Note: The popular science description must be written in Swedish, unlike the rest of the application.
Please state 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.
If your project relates to research in Precision medicine or Infection and antibiotics according to the definitions below, please mark this here.
Precision medicine refers to a development towards ever more individually adapted care within Swedish health and medical care. New opportunities for precision medicine are based on advances in recent years in areas such as molecular biosciences and bioinformatics, as well as the emergence of new high-resolution imaging techniques. The area covers research that can contribute basic knowledge of disease conditions, as well as knowledge of how these various conditions differ at the molecular level. The research may, for example, relate to how genes and bio-markers are combined with knowledge about lifestyle and other factors linked to disease progression and therapy outcomes, which may lead to ever more tailored therapies. In this context, precision medicine refers to diagnostic methods and therapies for individually adapted investigation, prevention and treatment in all disease areas, including rare diseases and health conditions. As basic research in the area is very closely linked to application, research carried out in collaboration between researchers in higher education and health and medical care or the business sector is particularly relevant.
Infection and antibiotics
The area of Infection and Antibiotics includes both basic and clinical research in areas such as immunology, microbiology and health care and public health research. Examples of important research topics are studies on molecular mechanisms in bacterial infection, development of new antibacterial agents and efficient new diagnostics methods, mechanisms for resistance development, healthcare-associated infections, vaccines and other infection prevention and control measures, how antibiotics are processed within humans and animals, health economics and the effects of antibiotics on the environment.
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. Opens in new window.
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”, 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. State also whether the project contributes further to research and scientific results from a grant awarded previously by the Swedish Research Council.
- Project description: Describe the project design under the following headings:
- Theory and method: Describe the underlying theory and the methods to be applied in order to reach the project goal.
- 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.
- 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, Opens in new window. which are open to all. If you choose to use other infrastructure 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 concept (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
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. Your activity level as project leader must correspond to no less than 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent.
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. Write “Part of PhD thesis” in bold in brackets for the publications included in your doctoral thesis.
2. Relevant publications from 2013–2021: 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. Write “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
3. Number of publications: Specify how many publications you have under each heading (type of publication) below.
- Total number of peer-reviewed original articles
- Total number of peer-reviewed research review articles
- Total number of other publications including patents
- Number of peer-reviewed original articles from 2013–2021
- Number of peer-reviewed research review articles from 2013–2021
- Number of other publications including patents from 2013–2021
Please note that no further bibliometric information shall be stated in the application.
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 is an important part of the assessment of the application, and that we are not asking for a letter of recommendation.
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. No further information shall be included. You can download a template for the letter of support here Word, 38.5 kB, opens in new window..
- 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 throughout the grant 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.
Please request the review panel or panels (in priority order) that you wish to carry out the scientific assessment of your application. The final allocation of applications is determined by the Swedish Research Council.
Here you as applicant may invite 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 on the basis of the following evaluation criteria.
Applications for starting grants within medicine and health are evaluated in a two-stage procedure. First, a regular subject-oriented review panel with Swedish and international members review your application. At least five members review and grade your application individually. The entire review panel then meets to discuss and prioritise the applications. Based on their scientific assessment the panel nominates a limited number of applications to the second stage. In this stage an overarching international panel makes the joint recommendation for all nominated starting grants in medicine and health for a decision by the Scientific Council for Medicine and Health.
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. If your application was nominated to the overarching panel you will also receive a separate statement.
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 general, the scientific quality of the merits of the applicant receives a greater focus when evaluating career support applications such as this, in comparison to project support. 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)
- Will the project, if successful, significantly advance our understanding of the field?
- Is the research proposal relevant for medical research?
- Is the definition of the problems and proposed solutions clear and compelling?
- Do the study design, research questions and hypotheses meet the standard of the highest scientific quality?
- Are the hypotheses clearly defined and based on the appropriate literature and/or preliminary data?
- Are potential problems and alternative strategies identified and presented?
- Are methods, including data analysis and statistics, appropriate for the project and well described?
- Are the ethical considerations for the proposed project described and addressed properly?
- 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?
- Does the applicant demonstrate the ability to formulate scientific questions that are clearly independent of the research the applicant performed as a doctoral student and postdoc, and the research of former advisors?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- Does the project extend or challenge current understanding, opinion or practice in its field?
- Is the project built on a unique combination of ideas, preliminary data, and different methodologies to create novel approaches to address the question at hand?
- Is there potential for creation of new knowledge, novel technologies, or new directions for research and advancement of the field?
- Will completion of the aims improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice?
- Does the researcher propose a line of research that has the potential to significantly advance current knowledge in the field or is he/she simply adding details to existing knowledge?
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 age?
- Does the applicant have a documented independent line of investigation?
- Does the publication record suggest a coherent line of investigation? Does the applicant report publications as senior author? Focus is on the most relevant and important publications and reports, with emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
- Has the applicant shown the ability to work independently of former advisors?
- Has the applicant shown the ability to work in new (international) research environments, for instance during postdoctoral work?
- Considering the project as a whole, including participating researchers, does the applicant or project group have sufficient competence for completion of the project?
- Is the project leader’s level of activity within the project sufficient with regard to the proposed research plan?
- 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?
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.