Note: No grants will be paid out under this call due to a new Government decision
On 22 June, the Government decided that the Swedish Research Council shall no longer fund development research. The decision means that we will not be funding any new grants in development research in 2023, and that all received applications are dismissed.
15 March - 18 April 2023
Network grant - Swedish research links
The purpose of the network grant Swedish Research Links is to establish a network around a specific research idea, aimed at a joint research project. The grant shall support the development of long-term joint research between Swedish researchers and researchers from low income countries and lower middle income countries.
The network grant Swedish Research Links is funded by the Government’s development aid funds, and the research shall be of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in least developed and lower middle income countries. Grants are available within all scientific fields.
Support form: Research environment and collaboration support
Subject area: Development Research
Focus: Swedish Research Links
Applicant: Individual researcher
Participating researchers: A minimum of 1 and up to 6 other researchers shall be invited to join the application. At least 1 of these shall be invited as an international project manager.
Grant period: 1–2 years
Grant amount: Maximum 500 000 SEK per year
Start of grant period: January 2024
Application period: 15 March 2023 (14.00/2 pm) – 18 April 2023 (14.00/2 pm)
Publication of grant award: No later than December 2023
- A new feature for this call is that the grant amount has been increased to a maximum of 500 000 SEK per year and that you can apply for a maximum of 100 000 SEK per year for salary costs for coordination and administration of the network.
- Read here for information on project collaboration with researchers in Russia and Belarus Opens in new window..
Specific instructions for the call
In addition to reading the call text, you also need to consult our Guide for applicants 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 aim of the call for the network grant Swedish Research Links is to lay the foundation for joint long-term research collaborations and knowledge exchanges in development research between Swedish researchers and researchers from least developed countries and lower middle income countries (see information under “Collaboration countries”).
Development research shall contribute to knowledge about the causes and consequences, and possible solutions of poverty. It shall also contribute to knowledge about sustainable development and links between sustainable development and the fight against poverty and other societal challenges in least developed countries and lower middle income countries. The fight against poverty shall be understood in a multi-dimensional way, and therefore not just as lack of material assets, but also lack of power and influence over the own situation, and as lack of choice, lack of security, and lack of respect for human rights.
The Swedish Research Council invites applications from all disciplines and subject areas, such as humanities, behavioural sciences, economics, social sciences, educational sciences, natural sciences, engineering sciences, environmental sciences, urban planning, medicine and health, and also welcomes interdisciplinary projects.
The network grants shall in the first instance lead to joint applications for research funds from national and international funding bodies. The application for a network grant shall be developed jointly by the collaborating partners and be clearly based on mutual benefit and collaboration on equal terms.
Network grants are in the first instance intended for new collaborations. However, existing networks may apply with new research ideas. If the network is not intended to develop new research projects, but to construct a network around existing research, the application must state strong grounds for why this is of great scientific importance.
Follow-up of our funding of development research
Development research is financed through Swedish development aid funds and is reported to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). To enable this, you must state which of the 17 sustainable development goals External link, opens in new window. that is/are relevant for your application. For the same reason, you must also classify your application according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s policy markers External link, opens in new window.. The classification does not affect the assessment of your application.
Collaboration countries shall be least developed countries and lower middle income countries according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list (the columns “Least Developed Countries”, “Low Income Countries” and “Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories” in the document linked to below).
The applicant for a network grant must be an individual researcher together with their organisation (a Swedish HEI or another Swedish organisation that fulfils our criteria for administrating organisations for Swedish Research Council grants Opens in new window.). We must have approved your organisation 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.
You shall be the project leader and have scientific responsibility for the research collaboration. 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. For applicants with Swedish doctoral degrees, the award date listed in Ladok applies.
You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of application, but you must be employed at the start of and throughout the grant period and any additional availability period. The employment must equal at least 20 per cent of a full-time equivalent.
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 only submit one application for this grant under this call. Further information about the grants you may apply for during the same year are shown in on the page Several grants simultaneously Opens in new window.. Please note that provided the applications relate to different collaborations (collaboration partners and countries), you may submit more than one application under this call for network grants. Please note also that you may be included as a participating researcher in other applications, as long as the applications relate to different collaborations.
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 your ongoing grant in the “Approval of terms and conditions” you received from us.
If you already have an ongoing grant, then further information about the grants you may apply for are shown in on the page Several grants simultaneously. Opens in new window. Please note that you are the project leader for an ongoing network grant within Swedish Research Links, you cannot apply for the same collaboration under this call. On the other hand, you may apply with a new collaboration partner in another country. If you are or have been the project leader for a grant within Swedish Research Links, where the grant period (payment period from the Swedish Research Council) ends in 2023, or ended earlier, you may apply for this grant. The application must relate either to a new collaboration partner in another country, or a new project concept (if the same international partner).
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.
Your application shall include a minimum of 1 and maximum of 6 participating researchers/international project leaders, who shall participate in drawing up the application and be involved in the network collaboration as described in the application. International project leaders shall have a doctoral degree or corresponding competence, and shall be linked to a university or a research institute in a least developed or lower middle income country. You may choose up to 3 collaboration countries, and each country must be represented by a participating researcher/international project leader, active in the country in question.
In addition to the participating researchers/international project leaders, other researchers linked to the project may also be included as participating researchers, that is to say other researchers with a doctoral degree or corresponding competence (not doctoral students), whose scientific competence will be crucial for the implementation of the proposed research. Participating researchers do not have to be employed by a Swedish HEI or – as is the case for the international project leaders – associated with a research institution in an approved collaboration country.
Participating researchers shall provide the necessary information themselves in Prisma, and upload these to the application. Any further participating partners and their roles shall be described in the collaboration plan (please see instructions under “Collaboration plan” below).
Note: We do not allow any exception from the requirement for all international project leaders and other participating researchers to register in Prisma and approve their participation in the application.
Costs and grant amounts
The grant may be used for costs associated with international network building and collaboration, such as
- travel, food and lodging in conjunction with the preparation/planning of joint research applications
- research and/or working stays between the collaborating partners
- joint seminars, conferences or workshops aimed at exchanging knowledge and adopting a joint research agenda.
- Salary costs for coordinating and administrating the network of up to 100 000 SEK per year.
Grants may cover additional costs incurred by the Swedish project leader for subsistence for international project leaders and their personnel. Scholarships not intended as an alternative to salary or other forms of study financing for doctoral students may be included in these additional costs. Minor project costs (such as consumables) may also be financed, up to a maximum of 100 000 SEK per year. The grant must be used in accordance with the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s guidelines for what can be classified as aid.
The maximum amount you may apply for is 500 000 SEK per year.
The Swedish Research Council assumes that the administrating organisation will cover any costs in excess of the grant received, should any arise.
You may apply for a grant for 1 or 2 years, starting in January 2024. The first payment will be made during January 2024 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..
International 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 (apart from the popular science description, which you must write in Swedish).
Sections of the application
The application form includes the following tabs:
- Descriptive information
- Research description
- Budget and research resources
- Administrating organisation
- Review panels
The information we request under each tab is described below.
The abstract shall include a brief description of the following:
- which research questions you intend to focus on in the collaboration
- what is to be done within the research collaboration
- how the collaboration will be conducted: organisation, time plan and collaboration formats
- the impact of the research collaboration.
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 planned research 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 research collaboration about?
- Why is it important to research this?
- In what way may the new knowledge be important?
The popular science description is important when we inform about the research funded by the Swedish Research Council.
The text must be in Swedish and may cover a maximum of 2 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one half of an A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Other applications or grants
Describe the relationship between the different projects if
- you are applying for or intend to apply for other grants from the Swedish Research Council
- you are receiving an ongoing grant from the Swedish Research Council with a grant period that wholly or partly overlaps with the grant you are now applying for
- there are applications or grants relating to the same project idea/purpose from the Swedish Research Council or other funding bodies (from you or another researcher).
In all cases, you should also justify why you are submitting one or several further applications. If there are no other applications or grants, please state so.
The description may cover a maximum of 2 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one half of an A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
List the 1–3 collaboration countries planned for the application.
Global goals for sustainable development
State which of the 17 global goals for sustainable development (according to Agenda 2030) your project is linked to in particular, or if none of them is relevant. Further information is available under the heading “Follow-up of funding of development research” at the beginning of the call text.
Policy markers OpenAid
State to what extent your project focuses on each policy marker area. You can find a link to a description of the policy markers under the heading “Follow-up of our funding of development research” at the beginning of the call text.
Legal and formal requirements
State whether the research covers the handling of personal data, or experiments on animals and/or studies involving humans.
If the research covers any of the above, you must also describe/state the approvals and permits your research project requires, and how you plan to obtain these. Describe any other permits that affect your application, such as whether parts of the research will be done in a country other than Sweden. If no approvals or permits are needed, please state so.
The description may cover a maximum of 2 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one half of an A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
Reflect on the ethical issues that may arise for your project, and describe these. 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. Examples of issues to reflect on:
- How do your research questions and expected results measure up in relation to the ethical issues?
- What (direct) risks (physical, mental, or integrity) will research persons or animals be exposed to?
- What long-term risks may arise from the research? Is there any risk that the research may be used in a way that is detrimental to animals, nature/the environment, or society (whole or parts of the same) in other respects?
- Is the research expected to contribute to other values over and above the knowledge gain? If so, to whom?
- How do you weigh up the risks (in particular short-term risks) against the value (which is often more long-term) of the research?
If no ethical issues are raised, please justify this also. 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.
Summarise the research theme and the research questions that you intend to focus on in the network. Describe also your own and others’ previous research and any preliminary results within the research area. State key references.
Explain the importance and scientific novelty of the planned research. Describe briefly how the collaboration project relates to previous research within the area, and its importance to the research area in the short and long term.
The description may cover a maximum of 8 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately two A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
The collaboration plan shall be forward-looking and shall consist of a brief but complete description of the collaboration planned for the parties in the network. It shall cover a maximum of 4 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins, including references and any images.
The collaboration plan must include the following headings and information, listed in the following order:
- Purpose and aims: Describe summarily the purpose and specific aims of the network, and describe how these correspond to the purpose and focus of the call.
- Network description and mode of cooperation: Provide a summary of the planned work including the following sections:
- Organisation: Clarify the contributions of yourself and the participating researchers to the implementation of the collaboration. Describe and justify the competences and roles of the participating researchers, and also any other researchers or corresponding who are important for the implementation. In what way is the collaboration based on equal participation, and how does this lead to mutual exchange of knowledge?
- Time plan and implementation: The time plan should provide an overview of the collaboration and a plan for submitting joint research applications, travel, joint seminars, workshops, preparations/planning of joint research applications, and information dissemination. A brief description of collaboration activities, such as workshops and seminars, should be included.
- Security situation in collaboration country: If you are planning to carry out activities in countries or regions that the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs are advising against travelling to (including work travel), please describe how you are planning your research visit to and work in the country in view of the security situation. Ministry for Foreign Affairs travel information (in Swedish) External link, opens in new window.
Provide the following information also. If it is not relevant to your application, please state this under the heading.
- Need for research infrastructure: Specify the collaboration’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).
Research projects in development research shall be of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in least developed countries and lower middle income countries (for further information, please see under the heading “Focus” above). Therefore, describe clearly how the research project and its questions are based on phenomena and challenges relating to poverty/the fight against poverty and for sustainable development, and how poverty and other sustainability challenges depend on each other. Describe how and why the research is particularly relevant to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in least developed countries and lower middle income countries and for people living in poverty. Describe how the project can contribute new knowledge with the potential to contribute to improving conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression and to promote sustainable development specifically in least developed countries and regions. Present possible ways and means for your research to have impact and/or be put to use, in the short or long term, and formulate these as possible “pathways to impact” for your research. Describe also whether the questions are relevant for least developed countries and lower middle income countries other than the specific country/countries included in the study.
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
The budget shall cover the costs of all parties. Please state the amounts in Swedish krona, rounded to the nearest 1 000 SEK. Describe the overall costs for the network by specifying the items below:
- Costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence
- Costs of organising seminars and workshops
- Salary costs for coordinating and administrating the network (up to 100 000 SEK per year)
- Costs of consumables, minor field studies, any publication costs and equipment (maximum 100 000 SEK per year in total)
- Other costs
Total cost of the network
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).
Indirect costs follow the model that your administrating organisation uses. 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 the 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 may 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.
2. Relevant publications from 2015–2023: 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’ publication 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.
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 shall invite the participating researchers and any participating administrators to your application.
Under this tab, please upload your relevant CV information from your personal account in Prisma. 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 network grant within development research is evaluated by a broad, specialised subject review panel where the members are Swedish and international researchers.
At least three members review and grade your application individually. If the needed, the reviews of the panel members will be complemented with an assessment from an external reviewer with specialised expertise in the subject of the application. 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 Committee for Development Research.
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 panel’s 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 joint assessment of the scientific quality of the application.
Evaluation criteria and guiding questions
The evaluation of the scientific quality of your application is made based on four basic criteria (Scientific quality of the proposed research, Novelty and originality, Merits of the applicant, Feasibility). The Swedish Research Links network grants are also evaluated based on the criteria Complementarity of the research network. 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 scale.
In addition to the basic criteria, your application is also evaluated using an additional criterion (Relevance for the call) on a seven-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)
- Does the proposed collaboration network have the potential to build a sustainable and equal scientific partnership to address development challenges?
- To what extent can the proposed network, based on the included collaborators, define new, compelling scientific questions within its scientific area?
- To what extent is the overall description of the collaborative network sufficiently clear, convincing and compelling, for example in the definition of research questions, description of planned activities and impact of the research collaboration?
- To what extent does the proposal contain adequate plans for sustaining the collaboration/partnership beyond the proposed duration of network funding?
- Are the ethical considerations for the proposed project properly described and addressed? Does the applicant adequately consider risk/value/suffering for humans, animals and nature?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- To what extent does the proposed network promote the establishment of a new research network and new researcher-to-researcher relationships?
- If principal investigators have collaborated before: Is the proposed collaboration based on a new research topic? What were the experiences of that previous collaboration and can additional funding lead to new collaborative research proposals with realistic ideas how to obtain funding?
- Does the network combine scientific expertise and capacity in a novel way in relation to the research area(s) and the countries involved?
- To what extent does the network propose a line of research with clear progression and novelty in relation to previous research and with potential to extend or challenge current understanding, opinion or practice in its field?
- In what novel way does the proposed network have potential for scientific and/or societal impact in least developed and lower middle-income countries?
Merits of the network (1–7)
- Does the network have sufficient research experience, expertise and scientific connections for the implementation of the proposed collaboration?
- In relation to research area and career age: Of what merits are the network participants’ scientific production (e.g. publications, supervisor experience, external funding, research collaborations)? To what extent do these merits show a distinct and independent line of research?
- Does the applicant have previous experience from research collaborations with partners in least developed or lower middle-income countries?
- Is the proposed plan in general, including activities and time schedule, optimal for starting up and implementing the proposed network?
- Does the network aim to establish long-term research collaboration and contain a realistic plan for how to raise funds for such collaboration?
- Does the proposed collaboration network include the availability and accessibility of relevant personnel, skills, equipment, facilities/infrastructures and other necessary resources?
- Is the environment suitable for carrying out the proposed network activities?
- Does the applicant adequately consider relevant legal and formal requirements for the proposed research, such as ethical permits and guidelines?
Complementarity of the research network (1-7)
- To what extent do the team members’ expertise complement each other and bring mutual added value to the proposed research; compared to if the partners were not working together?
- Can the collaboration lead to transfer of knowledge between applicants?
- Is the collaboration based on principles of co-design, mutual benefit and equality?
Relevance for the call (1-7)
Relevance is a key criterion for assessment of development research. It is assessed separately from scientific quality and is included in the overall grade. Research projects within development research shall have particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in least developed countries and lower middle income countries.
- Is the research clearly based in questions relating to poverty/the fight against poverty and sustainable development in least developed and lower middle income countries?
- Is it described how poverty and other sustainability challenges depend on each other?
- Does the research concern conditions and challenges that are specific, or of particular importance, to least developed and lower middle income countries?
- Does the research have the potential to contribute to improving conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression in least developed and lower middle income countries specifically?
- Does the research also have the potential to contribute to sustainable development in these least developed and lower middle income countries?
- Is there a clearly described idea about, and description of, pathways-to-impact?
- Are the research questions relevant to least developed and lower middle income countries other than the specific country/countries where the study takes place?
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.