02 June - 17 August 2021
Proof of concept within the infection area
The purpose of the grant is to bridge the gap between basic research and utilisation or commercialisation of research results within the infection area. The proof of concept grant offers persons who are receiving or have received a grant from the Swedish Research Council the opportunity to further develop their research results. This shall be done by verifying the useability and suitability of a new method, product or process developed from an earlier research project, and to carry out activities preparatory to innovation or commercialisation.
The Swedish Research Council will support projects involving the development of methods or products for treatment, prevention and diagnosis, and where the suitability and usability of the method or product is verified.
The initiative is part of the national research programme on antibiotic resistance and the national research programme into viruses and pandemics.
Support form: Project support
Subject area: Medicine and Health, Natural and Engineering Sciences
Subfocus: Antimicrobial resistance, Viruses and pandemics
Applicant: Individual researcher who is receiving or has received a grant from
the Swedish Research Council with a grant period ending in 2019, 2020 or 2021.
Participating researchers: Up to 6 other researchers may be invited to join the application
Grant period: 1-2 years
Grant amount: Minimum 500 000 SEK in total, maximum 2 000 000 SEK in total.
Budgetary framework: 10 million SEK for the field of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, plus 10 million SEK for the field of viruses and pandemics
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 end of December 2021
- Please note that documents submitted to the Swedish Research Council become public documents. The main rule is that the general public is entitled to partake of these, according to the principle of public access to official documents. Please see under the heading Public access below for further information.
- You must explain in your project plan how your stated activity level is suited to the implementation of the project.
- 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.
Public access to information (and secrecy)
Documents submitted to the Swedish Research Council become public documents. The main rule is that the general public is entitled to partake of these, according to the principle of public access to official documents. This also applies to applications that are rejected, or recalled by the applicant.
The Swedish Research Council does not have the option to classify as secret information in applications received relating to individuals’ business or operating circumstances, inventions or research results. This means that the starting point is that such information is public, and may be disclosed when we receive a request to disclose a public document. Before you submit your application to the Swedish Research Council, you therefore need to decide whether publication of information in your application may affect the opportunity for you or others to make beneficial use of inventions or research results, including any impact on the preconditions for a patent application or other commercialisation. If you then consider that some information is not suitable for making public, then that information should not be part of your application to the Swedish Research Council.
Collaboration of actors within PoC projects
The focus of the call means that it may be relevant to collaborate with both stakeholders with needs (proposed customers/users) and experts on commercialisation (such as innovation offices, holding companies, companies, industry organisation, and others). Other actors who are experts on benefit in use from a non-commercial perspective may also be relevant.
Applications for proof of concept grants are submitted in a two-stage process. First, you must submit an outline application for evaluation. In a second step, applicants whose projects have been prioritised will be called for a short interview with the review panel.
The interviews will only be held between the following dates: 05-10-2021–08-10-2021. We would therefore ask that you even now book these dates, so that you will be able to participate if so asked.
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 Swedish Research Council will support proof of concept (PoC) projects relating to development of methods, products or processes developed from an earlier research project, and to carry out activities preparatory to innovation or commercialisation, aimed at improved treatment, prevention or diagnostics. PoC funding may not be used for further research, writing articles or reports, communication input, or general product development.
The call covers two subsidiary focuses within the infection field: antimicrobial resistance, and viruses and pandemics. Your application must relate to one or both of these.
Infections caused by bacteria or fungi are a major global clinical challenge through increased spread of resistance against antibacterial and antifungal medicines, which impedes or prevents effective treatment. New methods, processes and products are needed to increase the chances of preventing, diagnosing or treating these infections in the best way possible, and to learn how the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance can be prevented.
The projects may, for example, cover the following:
- New or improved antibacterial and antifungal medicines or vaccines
- Diagnostic methods and tools
- New treatments or therapies
- Methods and processes for rational use of antibacterial and antifungal medicines
- Development of healthcare hygiene procedures and processes.
Viruses and pandemics
Virus-caused infections are a leading cause of ill health and high mortality around the world, and are a great strain on healthcare and societal finances. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the problems that follow from limited knowledge about fundamental characteristics of a new virus, and the lack of effective antiviral treatments or vaccines against both unknown and known virus-caused infections.
The projects may, for example, cover the following:
- New or improved antiviral medicines and vaccines
- Interventions during and after virus infections
- New methods for monitoring, prevention and treatment
- Development of healthcare hygiene procedures and processes.
The proof of concept 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.
At the time of applying, you must be or have been the recipient of, that is been the project leader for, a previous grant from the Swedish Research Council, with a grant period ending in 2019, 2020 or 2021 (see below for the relevant grant forms). You cannot apply if your grant period ends later than 2021. Your application for a proof of concept grant shall be based on research results within the framework for the previously awarded grant.
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 reject your application.
What grants may I apply for simultaneously from the Swedish Research Council?
You may submit several applications under this call provided they relate to different previously awarded grants with different project ideas, and thus different Proof of Concept ideas.
What requirements apply if I already have a grant from the Swedish Research Council?
To apply under this call, you must be or have been the project leader for a previous grant from the Swedish Research Council. The following applies: your previously awarded grant must be a project grant (including project grants for international collaboration, for example JPIAMR), one of our career support funding forms (international postdoc, starting grant, consolidator grant, grant for employment as a half-time researcher in a clinical environment, research time), or a research environment grant. The grant may have been awarded within any of the Swedish Research Council’s subject areas, but must be relevant to the infection area according to the information under “Focus” above. The final year of the grant period must be 2019, 2020 or 2021. The grant period refers to the payment period from the Swedish Research Council, not the availability period, which is usually longer. Information about the criteria for your previous grant can be found in the “Approval of conditions” you received from the Swedish Research Council.
Note: If you have been the project leader for previous grants from the Swedish Research Council that have ended, a final financial statement 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 project plan (please see instructions under “Project plan” below).
Costs and grant amounts
You may apply for a grant to cover costs linked to the implementation of the project, such as funding salary for the project leader (however at most corresponding to the activity level in the project), other researchers, technical personnel or sub-contractors, as well as premises, running costs (such as consumables, travel, prototype development and manufacturing), and collaboration activities.
Sub-contractors are allowed if they participate in delimited parts of the project. Examples of sub-contractors are innovation offices or patent or business consultants, and they should be procured according to the rules of the administrating organisation. For innovation offices, the costs must relate to activities over and above what the innovation offices already do for the HEIs researchers.
The grant may not be used for research expenses, doctoral student salaries or scholarships.
The minimum amount you may apply for is 500 000 SEK, including indirect costs. The maximum amount you may apply for is 2 000 000 SEK.
You may apply for a grant for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 2 years, starting in January 2022. The entire grant amount may 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
- Project description
- 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:
- project organisation and activity plan
- the innovation potential of the project
- what is important about the planned project, including societal gains
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 one 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 this important to research?
- In what way may the project results be important?
The popular science description is important when we inform about the research funded by the Swedish Research Council. 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.
Note: The popular science description must be written in Swedish, unlike the rest of the application. The text may cover a maximum of 2 000 characters including blank spaces.
Please mark which of the two subsidiary focuses, antimicrobial resistance or viruses and pandemics, that your project relates to.
Describe the ethical issues raised by your project or corresponding. You must also describe how you plan to address ethical dilemmas that may arise. Please justify why the research should be carried out against the background of the ethical issues you have identified. How do your research questions and expected results measure up in relation to the ethical issues? Please also state whether the research involves any handling of personal data, or experiments on animals or human subjects. If no ethical issues are raised, please justify this.
The justification may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
The project plan shall be forward-looking and consist of a brief but complete description of the project. It must cover a maximum of 5 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins, including references and any images.
The project 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 project.
- Innovation potential:
- Description of proof of concept idea: Describe the project, explain what the idea is about, what needs it fulfils, and what the expected results are. The description must be understandable even for a non-specialist.
- Demonstration of innovation potential: Explain the link between the proposed project and the previously project funded by the Swedish Research Council.
- Activity plan: Describe the planning of the proposed project, the management plan for the project and the organisation that will implement the project. You should show the relevance of the method chosen to establish the technical feasibility of the project. The following shall be included:
- Activity plan
- Project management plan
- Team (roles, competence, experience, etc.) and any additional collaboration partners
- Description of how stakeholders needs and benefit in use/commercialisation expertise will be involved in the project.
- Expected outcome: Describe the expected outcome of the proof of concept project, including societal gains, focusing on treatment, prevention and diagnosis of disease conditions. Describe the following:
- The commercialisation process and/or any other implementation process
- Societal gains
- Future plans for moving the project forward
Provide the following information also. If a heading is not relevant to your application, please state this under the heading.
- Equipment: Describe the basic equipment you and your team have at your disposal for the project.
Description of previously awarded grant from the Swedish Research Council
Please describe your previously awarded project that the proof of concept idea relates to. State the project title, grant format, registration number and amount, grant period and availability period for your previously awarded project. You can find information about the criteria for your previous grant in the “Approval of terms and conditions” you received from the Swedish Research Council.
The description may cover maximum 2 000 characters, including blank spaces. This is approximately one half of an A4 page in Arial, font size 11.
Describe how your project is relevant for one of the subsidiary focuses on antimicrobial resistance or viruses and pandemics (see the definition in the introduction to the call text)
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, sub-contractors 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 about 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.
Attach all (applicant’s and 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 project 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.
Here you as applicant may invite other 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.
- Other merits: State specifically if you have any experience of innovation, utilisation, commercialisation or other competence of relevance to the proposed proof of concept project.
- 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 within the call Proof of concept within the infection area is evaluated by a specialised review panel where the members have competence within innovation, commercialisation of research and the area of infection medicine.
At least three members review and grade your application individually. For Proof of concept grants a two-stage procedure is used. First, a regular review panel assesses the quality of all the application. 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 highest grades from the panel members are selected for the second step. This step includes interviews with the applicants of selected applications as part of an overall assessment of each project.
Online interviews of applicants will take 20 minutes per project during October 5th-8th 2021. All applicants of Proof of concept grants are advised to reserve these dates for a possible interview.
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 Medicine and Health. 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 innovation potential of the application.
Evaluation criteria and guiding questions
The evaluation of the scientific quality of your application is made based on three basic criteria (Innovation potential of the project, Team skills and experience, Feasibility). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. The overall grade should reflect the application’s overall quality with the emphasis on the criterion Innovation potential. The criteria are assessed on a seven-grade scale, except for feasibility, which is assessed on a three-grade scale. In addition to the basic criteria, your application is also evaluated using an additional criterion (Relevance) on a three-grade scale.
For each criterion, there are guiding questions to support the panel members’ evaluation of your application. These can also function as guidance for you when you write your application.
Innovation potential (1-7)
- How much potential does the project have to solve a relevant need in demand, and is this clearly described in the application?
- How much potential does the project have to develop and / or validate the findings from the previous research project that can lead to new methods, products or solutions for diagnosis, treatment or prevention of diseases that are relevant to the call?
- To what extent does the project have the potential to develop the concept towards innovation / implementation / commercialisation?
Team skills and experience (1-7)
- To what extent does the project leader possess the competence and ability to carry out the project?
- To what extent does the project manager have previous experience of developing proof-of-concept projects?
- To which degree is the project organisation and the overall competence sufficient and relevant to carry out the project?
- To what extent is the expertise necessary for the project within, for example, innovation / implementation / commercialisation involved in / linked to the project?
- Are the planned activities and work plan realistic for achieving the expected results during the project period?
- How well are the work plan and budget adapted to the project's structure and the expected results?
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 quality. The emphasis should be on the criterion Innovation potential.
- How well are the planned activities focused on verification and validation of a new innovative method, process or product?
- How well does the project meet the purpose of the call and the chosen subject orientation?