02 June - 17 August 2021
Project grant for research within post-COVID syndrome
The purpose of the project grant is to fund research into remaining or late-onset symptoms following COVID-19 infection (post-COVID syndrome).
Support form: Project support
Subject area: Clinical Therapy Research, Medicine and Health
Applicant: Individual researcher
Participating researchers: Up to 6 other researchers may be invited to join the application
Grant period: 1–4 years.
Grant amount: Minimum 400 000 SEK per year, maximum 2 500 000 SEK per year
Budgetary framework: 50 million SEK
Start of grant period: January 2022
Application period: 02 June 2021 (14.00/2 pm) – 17 August 2021 (14.00/2 pm)
Publication of grant award: No later than the beginning of December 2021
- 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, or why you choose not to do so. How sex and gender perspectives are managed in the research project will form part of the assessment of scientific quality. Read more under the heading “Research description” and on our website.
- You will need to have a data management plan for data generated within the research we award funds for. You must not send the plan to us, but according to our general grant terms and conditions, your administrating organisation must confirm that a data management plan will be in place when you start your project or equivalent, and also that the plan will be maintained.
Specific instructions for the call
In addition to reading the call text, you also need to consult our Guide for applicants.
Open publication of data
If you are awarded a grant, you are expected to publish your research data and research results of relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic with open access as quickly as possible. Determining which data can be published with open access shall always be based on applicable legislation. Please use the national COVID-19 data portal to share your data. Here you can also get practical support with data management and data sharing. The data portal, which is operated by SciLifeLab in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council, is linked to the European COVID-19 data portal.
Clinical Studies Sweden – regional nodes supporting the work with clinical studies
The collaboration Clinical Studies Sweden consists of six regional nodes, one in each collaboration region. The nodes can provide contacts with relevant regional resources, such as research units, quality register centres, biobanks and cancer centres. You can also access support via the nodes in the work with a clinical study, for example with:
- study protocols, permit applications, data management and statistics
- infrastructures for implementation (such as trial units)
- training within clinical research methodology (such as GCP and statistics)
- expertise relating to statistics, epidemiology and health economics.
Further information about the nodes is available on kliniskastudier.se. This also includes a step-by-step guide that describes the study process and what is important to consider when you conduct a clinical study.
Practical tips and advice relating to register-based studies
Registerforskning.se has information for those who are planning to use register data in research projects. Here you can also find the metadata tool RUT (Register Utiliser Tool), which offers researchers detailed information at metadata level about the variables used in Swedish registers and biobank sample collections.
Urgent research questions
The Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU) has mapped the urgent research questions relating to post-COVID syndrome. More information about this is available on sbu.se.
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 initiative is focused on clinical and translational research that answers to the knowledge needs of health and medical care about remaining or late-onset symptoms following COVID-19 infection (post-COVID syndrome). Post-COVID syndrome (sometimes also known as long-term complications from COVID-19, or post-acute COVID-19 syndrome) includes signs and symptoms that develop during or after COVID-19 infection, continue for more than 12 weeks, and cannot be explained using any alternative diagnosis. The knowledge needs include pathogenesis/contributory mechanisms, risk factors, symptomatology, diagnosis, prophylactic/therapeutic treatment, care and rehabilitation of patients with post-COVID syndrome.
Of relevance for the call are research projects that are based on access to the structures and resources of health and medical care, and that involve patients with post-COVID syndrome. The research projects awarded grants shall aim to produce reliable and implementable results that can be translated to health and medical care, and be of benefit to patients and society within a relatively short period of time (within 5 years after completion of the project).
As patients with post-COVID syndrome exist in all parts of health and medical care, including primary care, projects where clinically active personnel in primary care participate, or projects where, for example, active patient recruitment or data collection takes place in primary care may be prioritised.
In order to meet the knowledge needs, the funding allocated will be distributed between clinical and translational research projects.
The initiative is based on a Government mandate.
The applicant must be an individual researcher. You shall be the project leader and have scientific responsibility for the project. The time you set aside for the project (your activity level, that is the percentage of a full-time equivalent) must be suited to the task and its implementation throughout the grant period.
You must hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent foreign degree, awarded no later than the deadline for this call. The degree award date we use is the date you fulfilled all the requirements for a doctoral degree, such as mandatory courses, oral defence and an approved doctoral thesis. For applicants with Swedish doctoral degrees, the award date listed in Ladok applies.
Grants from the Swedish Research Council shall be administered by a Swedish higher education institution (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, unless the Swedish Research Council approves an exception from this requirement. The employment must equal at least 20 per cent of a full-time equivalent. You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying.
Number of applications and previous grants
The requirements described in this section only apply to applicants (project leaders).
General information about overlaps 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 refuse 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 for the grants you may apply for during the same year. However, please note that you may apply for this grant even if you have already applied for one of our undirected project grants (for example in medicine and health), and that you may apply for the same or different research concepts. However, if you are applying for several project grants with the same research concept, and several are awarded, you will need to choose only one of them.
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 for the grants you may apply for if you already have an ongoing grant. You may apply for this grant even if you are already a project leader for an ongoing project grant, provided your ongoing grant has a different project concept. If you are the project leader for an ongoing research environment grant, you may submit an application under this call, provided that the project grant application is not part of the research environment 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 can include up to 6 participating researchers in your application. Participating researchers are other researchers with a doctoral degree or equivalent competence, whose scientific competence will be crucial for the implementation of the planned research. They do not have to be employed by a Swedish HEI.
Participating researchers shall provide the necessary information themselves in Prisma, and upload these to the application. Any further collaborating partners and their roles shall be described in the research plan (please see instructions under “Research plan” below).
Costs and grant amounts
You can apply for a grant for all types of project-related costs, such as
- salaries (including your own salary), however no more than corresponding to the person’s 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 minimum amount you may apply for is 400 000 SEK per year, including indirect costs. The maximum amount you may apply for is 2 500 000 SEK per year.
You may apply for a grant for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 4 years, starting in January 2022. Please note that the entire grant amount will be paid in December 2021.
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
- Call-specific information
- Budget and research resources
- Administrating organisation
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 a researcher can understand it. Do this by answering the following questions:
- What is the project about?
- Why is it important to research this?
- In what way may the new knowledge be important?
The text must be in Swedish and cover a maximum of 2 000 characters including blank spaces. The popular science description is important when we inform about the research funded by the Swedish Research Council.
Describe the ethical issues raised by your project or corresponding. You must also describe how you plan to address ethical dilemmas that may arise. Please justify why the research should be carried out against the background of the ethical issues you have identified. How do your research questions and expected results measure up in relation to the ethical issues? Please also state whether the research involves any handling of personal data, or experiments on animals or human subjects. If no ethical issues are raised, please justify this.
The justification may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Sex and gender perspectives
Please state whether sex and gender perspectives are applicable in your planned research, and justify your decision. Please note that we are not asking for information about the composition of the research team (men/women). Read more about sex and gender perspectives in research content.
The following applies:
- If you answer “Yes”: 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 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 6 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.
- Preliminary and previous results: Describe briefly the research frontier, 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:
- Study design/theory and method: Describe the underlying theory and the methods to be applied in order to reach the project goal. For clinical studies, each variable to be measured/recorded shall be described and, in particular, in what format the measurement values will be used in statistical description and analysis. Define also the characteristics of the study population, and state inclusion and exclusion criteria for patient selection. Describe any randomisation method used, and whether the randomisation is blind. Justify any exceptions.
- 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 how you and any participating researchers will contribute to the implementation of 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. Describe and explain the competences and roles of the participating researchers in the project, and also any other researchers or equivalent who are important for the implementation of the project.
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 infrastructure instead, please justify this need (also applies for local research infrastructure).
- International and national collaboration: Describe your own and the team’s 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).
Health and medical care structures and resources
Please state whether you, any participating researcher or other personnel in the project organisation has
- clinical duties and employment in Sweden covering minimum 20% of a full-time equivalent
- clinical duties and employment in primary care in Sweden covering minimum 20% of a full-time equivalent
If so, describe who carries out the clinical work/duty, what it covers, and how relevant it is for the implementation of the research project in question. State also how in any other way the research project is based on health and medical care structures and resources.
If neither you, nor any participating researcher or other personnel in the project organisation perform clinical work/duty, then state instead in what way the research project is based on health and medical care structures and resources.
The description may cover a maximum of 750 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one fourth of an A4 page in Arial, font size 11.
Describe how your project is relevant for the focus on post-COVID syndrome (see the definition in the introduction to the call text) and how the project promotes this field.
In the text, please describe the following:
- how the research project contributes to knowledge of pathogenesis/contributory mechanism, prevalence/risk factors/symptoms, prophylactic/therapeutic treatment, care or rehabilitation of patients with remaining or late-onset symptoms following COVID-19 infection (post-COVID syndrome).
- how the results of the research project contribute to benefit patients with post-COVID syndrome in the form of, for example, new treatment methods, increased understanding of the condition, or improved diagnostics.
- how data is made accessible via the COVID-19 data portal.
The description may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11.
Budget and research resources
State the activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) of all personnel active within the project, that is to say yourself, any other researchers and other personnel. Please also state the salary you are applying for, for yourself and/or other personnel active within the project, both as a percentage of a full-time salary and as actual annual amounts (including social security contributions). Please state the amounts in Swedish krona, rounded to the nearest 1 000 SEK.
Describe any other costs of the project (premises costs, running costs and depreciation costs). Please state the amounts in Swedish krona, rounded to the nearest 1 000 SEK.
You may include depreciation costs for equipment to be used in the project, provided that;
- the equipment has an economic life of at least three years
- the equipment has an acquisition value above a certain amount
- the need cannot be satisfied through use of national or international infrastructure supported by the Swedish Research Council and thereby open to all.
You may only include the proportion of depreciation costs that corresponds to the use of the equipment in the proposed project, and you may not include depreciation costs for equipment that is wholly funded by other grants. Please contact your administrating organisation for information about what is included in local research infrastructure, acquisition values or how to calculate depreciation costs.
Total cost of the project
Prisma will automatically add up your budget items in a table. The total amount you are applying for shall also include indirect costs. You will have to add these to the table yourself. Here you can also add any additional costs that the project entails (for which you are not seeking funding under this call).
Please contact your administrating organisation if you have any questions abut what constitutes indirect and direct costs.
Justification of the budget applied for
Justify briefly each cost applied for in your 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 4 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins.
Sort the publications under each heading in reverse chronological order, so that the latest publication is at the top of the list. Please only include articles or equivalent that are published or accepted for publication at the time of applying. The author name order shall be identical to that of the published work. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
1. Selection of publications: List the 10 publications of greatest importance to your application. Describe how you contributed to each publication, and its relevance to the research project described (maximum 4 lines per publication). Highlight your name in bold in the author list.
2. Relevant publications from 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:
- Peer-reviewed original articles
- Peer-reviewed conference contributions, the results of which are not included in other publications
- Peer-reviewed edited volumes
- Research review articles
- Peer-reviewed books and book chapters
- Other publications including popular science books/presentations
Participating researchers’ publication lists
Attach all participating researchers’ publications lists joined up into one file. The list for each researcher shall include the 10 publications that are the most relevant to the research described, and shall cover a maximum of 1 A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins. The name of the researcher in question shall be highlighted in bold and also be included in the page header of each list.
Please only include articles or equivalent that are published or accepted for publication at the time of applying. The author name order shall be identical to that of the published work. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
The publications shall be of the types: Peer-reviewed original articles, conference contributions, edited volumes, research review articles, books and book chapters, and other publications including popular science books/presentations.
Please state the administrating organisation and project site.
Under this tab, you may invite any participating researchers and administrators to your application.
Under this tab, please upload your relevant CV information from your personal account in Prisma. Any participating researchers must upload their own CV information to the application.
The following information (where available) must always be included in each 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.
Your application for Project grant for research into post-COVID is evaluated by a review panel where the members are Swedish and international researchers with expertise within the area of the call. External reviewers may be used. Representatives of patient advocacy groups may contribute to the assessment of the criteria Patient value – benefit of the research from a patient perspective. At least three members review and grade your application individually. The entire review panel then meets to discuss and prioritise the applications. An overarching panel may be used to determine funding levels for the prioritised applications and finally make a proposal for a decision to the Director General of the Swedish Research Council.
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 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 two of the basic criteria (Scientific quality of the proposed research and Feasibility), as well as two additional criteria (Patient value – benefit of the research and Relevance to the call). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. The criteria are assessed on a seven-grade scale, except for feasibility, which is assessed on a three-grade grade scale. For each criterion, there are guiding questions to support the panel members’ evaluation of your application. These can also function as guidance for you when you write your application.
Scientific quality of the proposed research (1-7)
- To what extent will the project, if successful, advance our understanding of post-COVID?
- To what extent are the definition of the problems and proposed solutions clear and compelling?
- What is the standard of the scientific quality of the proposed research, with regard to study design, research questions and hypotheses?
- How are potential problems and alternative strategies identified and presented?
- How extensive is the collaboration with relevant scientists and health care professionals?
- How appropriate are methods, including data analysis and statistics for the project and how well are these aspects 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?
- 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), patient/study cohorts adequate and well adapted to the hypothesis or research question?
- Is the budget requested reasonable for the implementation of the proposed project?
Patient value – benefit of the research (1-7)
- How likely is it that the results of the study can be directly implementable into clinical practice within a relatively near future (no more than 5 years after the end of the project)?
- To what extent may the results of the study contribute to significantly increased clinical benefits and/or less harm for the individual? Assessed clinical value can be influenced by prevalence, severity of the disease or social costs.
- To what extent are users included (e.g. patients, patient organisations and relatives) in the planning of the study and the choice of endpoints?
- To what degree may the results of the study contribute to a better use of healthcare resources?
- How clear is the plan for dissemination of the results in order to quickly impact health care?
Relevance to the call (1-7)
- Does the proposal focus on clinical or translational research that requires access to structures and resources of the healthcare?
- To what degree does the proposed research focus on the need for knowledge on post-COVID, e.g. pathogenesis/contributing mechanisms, risk factors, symptomatology, diagnosis, prophylactic/therapeutic treatment, care and nursing, or rehabilitation of post COVID patients?
- To what extent is the proposed research clinically based, e.g. does the applicant, contributing researchers or other personnel in the project organisation hold a clinical position in Sweden (within or outside of the primary care) to a minimum of 20 per cent of a full-time equivalent, or does the proposal involve participation of the health care in any other way?
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.