22 February - 28 March 2023
Project grant for research into viruses and pandemics – from fundamental mechanisms to medical interventions
The purpose of the project grant is to give researchers the freedom to formulate their own research idea, method and implementation, and to solve a specific research task within a limited period. The focus of this call is on research into basic virology and fundamental disease mechanisms caused by viruses. It also covers research into areas such as zoonoses, the development of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. The initiative is part of the national research programme in viruses and pandemics.
Support form: Project support
Subject area: Medicine and Health, Natural and Engineering Sciences, Development Research
Focus: Viruses and pandemics
Applicant: Individual researcher
Participating researchers: Up to 6 other researchers may be invited to join the application
Grant period: 1–3 years
Grant amount: Minimum 400 000 SEK per year, maximum 2 500 000 SEK per year
Start of grant period: January 2024
Application period: 22 February 2023 (14.00/2 pm) – 28 March 2023 (14.00/2 pm)
Publication of grant award: No later than the beginning of November 2023
- You must explain in your research plan how your stated activity level is suited to the implementation of the research project. Furthermore, we also ask you to describe the management of risks or obstacles to the implementation of the research plan.
- As from 2022, there are guidelines for study registration and result reporting for the clinical studies funded by the Swedish Research Council. This means that information about the study shall be registered in a public study register, and that a summary of the results shall be published in the register. More information about the guidelines is available here Opens in new window..
- Read here for information on project collaboration with researchers in Russia and Belarus, Opens in new window.
Pdf / Printout
Telephone hours are weekdays excluding public holidays from 9.00/9 a.m. to 16.00/4 p.m. while the call is open.
Calls medicine and health
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..
Open publication of data relevant to COVID-19
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 what data can be published with open access shall always be based on applicable legislation. Please use the national COVID-19 data portal External link, opens in new window. to make your data accessible when possible. 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 External link, opens in new window..
Practical tips and advice relating to register-based studies
Registerforskning.se External link, opens in new window. has practical information for those who are planning to use register data in their research projects, including a step-by-step guide. 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 the Swedish registers and biobank sample collections linked to the tool. New registers are continually being added to RUT.
If the application includes a clinical study
Clinical Studies Sweden – regional support for your work
The collaboration Clinical Studies Sweden consists of six regional nodes that 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, infrastructure for implementation, education in clinical research methodology, and also relevant experts. More information about the nodes and what you need to consider when conducting a clinical study can be found at kliniskastudier.se External link, opens in new window..
Registering and reporting clinical studies
As from 2022, there are guidelines for study registration and result reporting for the clinical studies funded by the Swedish Research Council. This means that information about the study shall be registered in a public study register, and that a summary of the results shall be published in the register. More information about the guidelines is available heree 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.
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. Virus-caused infections have great impact also in non-pandemic years, when outbreaks of influenza virus, RS virus, calici virus and measles among others have placed major hospitals under emergency conditions. Viruses develop resistance against existing medicines, which is also a problem. The field of viruses and pandemics therefore covers research relating to
- virological basic research and the mechanisms of viral diseases
- zoonoses and mechanisms for transmission
- development of medicines, vaccines and therapies
- prevention, mechanisms, monitoring and management of infection spread
- acute, persistent and chronic virus-caused infections.
- Questions within the field can relate to basic research, and include research relating to areas such as disease mechanisms, modelling systems, transmission, viral tropism, vaccines and anti-viral agents, antiviral resistance, viral immune response, diagnostics and mapping of viruses in the natural world.
The applicant for a project grant must be an individual researcher together with their organisation (a Swedish Higher Education Institution (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 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. 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.. Note that you may apply for other project grants, but for another project concept.
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.
If you already have an ongoing grant, then further information about the grants you may apply for are shown on the page Several grants simultaneously. Opens in new window. Please note that if you are the project leader for an ongoing project grant, this must have a different focus and a different project concept for you to be able to apply. You can therefore not apply if you have an ongoing project grant in virus and virus-caused disease conditions, for which a call was issued in 2021. Nor can you apply if you have an ongoing starting or consolidation grant focusing on virus and virus-caused disease conditions, for which calls were issued in 2020.
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 may include up to 6 participating researchers in your application. Participating researchers are other researchers with a doctoral degree or equivalent competence (not doctoral students) 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 doctoral students and other collaboration 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.
The grant amount includes cover of indirect costs as a percentage of the direct costs, according to the model used by your administrating organisation. 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 3 years, starting in January 2024. The first payment will be made in 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
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 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 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 cover a maximum of 2 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately half 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 concept/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 half an A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
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 half an A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
More information is available on the page Conducting ethical research Opens in new window..
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. 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.
Sex and gender perspectives
Please state whether sex and gender perspectives are applicable in your planned research, and justify your decision. Please note that we are not asking for information about the composition of the research team (men/women). Read more about sex and gender perspectives in research content Opens in new window..
The following applies:
- If you answer “Yes”: Please justify your answer, and describe also how you take account of sex and gender perspectives in the research plan. If you have stated that sex and gender perspectives are applicable, but still choose not to include them in your research plan, you will need to justify this here.
- If you answer “No”, and thereby do not consider that sex and gender perspectives are applicable for your planned research, you do not need to justify your decision.
The justification may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
The research plan shall be forward-looking and consist of a brief but complete description of the research task. It may cover a maximum of 10 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins, including references and any images.
The research plan must include the following headings and information, listed in the following order:
- Purpose and aims: State the overall purpose and specific aims of the research project.
- State-of-the-art: Summarise briefly the current research frontier within the field or area covered by the project. State key references.
- Significance and scientific novelty: Describe briefly how the project relates to previous research within the area, and the impact the project may have in the short and long term. Describe also how the project moves forward or innovates the current research frontier.
- Preliminary and previous results: Describe briefly your own previous research and pilot studies within the research area that make it probable that the project will be feasible. If no preliminary results exist, please state this. State also whether the project contributes further to research and scientific results from a grant awarded previously by the Swedish Research Council.
- Project description: Describe the project design under the following headings:
- Theory and method: Describe the underlying theory and the methods to be applied in order to reach the project goal.
- Time plan and implementation: Describe summarily the time plan for the project during the grant period, and how the project will be implemented. Describe also any crucial risks or obstacles that may impact on the implementation, and your plan for managing these.
- 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 other key persons (including any doctoral students) 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. If you choose to use other infrastructure that those supported by the Swedish Research Council Opens in new window., and that are thereby open to all, you must justify this (also applies to 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.
- Independent line of research: If you are working or will be working in a larger group, please clarify how your project relates to the other projects in the group. If you are (continuing) working in the same team as your doctoral or postdoc supervisor, or if you are continuing a project that wholly or partly started during your doctoral or postdoc studies, you must also describe the relationship between your project and the research of your former supervisor.
- Clinical significance: Explain how the results of the project may be transferred into practical clinical use within the area medicine and health.
Describe how your project is relevant for the focus on viruses and pandemics (see the definition in the introduction to the call text), and how the project promotes the development of this field.
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, you, any other researchers, doctoral students 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).
Indirect costs follow the model that your administrating organisation uses. 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.
Applicant’s publication list
Please attach your publication list drawn up according to the headings and information below. The list shall cover a maximum of 5 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins.
Sort the publications under each heading in reverse chronological order, so that the latest publication is at the top of the list. Please only include articles or equivalent that are published or accepted for publication at the time of applying. The author name order shall be identical to that of the published work. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
1. Selection of publications: List the 10 publications of greatest importance to your application. Describe how you contributed to each publication, and its relevance to the research project described (maximum 4 lines per publication). Highlight your name in bold in the author list.
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
3. Number of publications: Specify how many publications you have under each heading (type of publication) below.
- Total number of peer-reviewed original articles
- Total number of peer-reviewed research review articles
- Total number of other publications including patents
- Number of peer-reviewed original articles from 2015–2023
- Number of peer-reviewed research review articles from 2015–2023
- Number of other publications including patents from 2015–2023
Please note that no further bibliometric information shall be stated in the application.
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.
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.
- 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 a research project grant for research into viruses and pandemics – from fundamental mechanisms to medical interventions, is evaluated by a specialised subject review panel where the members are Swedish and international researchers.
At least three members review and grade your application individually. If extra competence is needed, your application might also be evaluated by an additional, external, reviewer. The entire review panel (not including any external reviewers) 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.
Review panel Opens in new window.
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. Here you will find a more comprehensive description of the Swedish Research Council's assessment of applications Opens in new window..
Evaluation criteria and guiding questions
The evaluation of the scientific quality of your application is made based on four basic criteria (Scientific quality of the proposed research, Novelty and originality, Merits of the applicant, Feasibility). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. In general, the scientific quality of the project receives a greater focus when evaluating project grant applications. 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 two-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)
- Is the definition of the problems and proposed solutions clear and compelling?
- Do the study design, research questions and hypotheses meet the standard of the highest scientific quality?
- Are the hypotheses clearly defined and based on the appropriate literature and/or preliminary data?
- Are potential problems and alternative strategies identified and presented?
- Are methods, including data analysis and statistics, appropriate for the project and well described?
- Are the ethical considerations for the proposed project described and addressed properly? Does the applicant adequately consider risk/value/suffering for humans, animals, nature and/or society?
- 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?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- Does the project extend or challenge current understanding, opinion or practice in its field?
- Is the project built on a unique combination of ideas, preliminary data, and different methodologies to create novel approaches to address the question at hand?
- Is there potential for creation of new knowledge, novel technologies, or new directions for research and advancement of the field?
- Will completion of the aims improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice?
- Does the researcher propose a line of research that has the potential to significantly advance current knowledge in the field or is he/she simply adding details to existing knowledge?
Merits of the applicant (1–7)
- Does the applicant have sufficient research experience, expertise, level of independence and scientific network for implementation of the proposed project?
- How do the applicant’s academic qualifications and achievements relate to his or her career age?
- Does the applicant have a documented independent line of investigation?
- Does the publication record suggest a coherent line of investigation? Does the applicant report publications as senior author? Focus is on the most relevant and important publications and reports, with emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
- Considering the project as a whole, including participating researchers, does the applicant or project group have sufficient competence for completion of the project?
- Is the project leader’s level of activity within the project sufficient with regard to the proposed research plan?
- Is the general design, including the time-frame, realistic for implementing the proposed project?
- Are the materials, methods (including statistics and/or power calculations), experimental models, and when appropriate patient/study cohorts adequate and well adapted to the hypothesis or research question?
- Does the applicant adequately consider relevant legal and formal requirements for the proposed research, such as ethical permits and guidelines?
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.
The additional criterion of “relevance” is used by the review panel for applications related to research in the field of viruses and pandemics. A two-point grading scale shall be used for this criterion. The “relevance”-criterion must not be weighed into the overall grade. Instead, it is to be weighed into an application’s ranking in relation to others. Thus, an application can be of high relevance, but low scientific quality (or vice versa).
- To what extent is the proposal relevant to
- viruses, viral diseases and basic disease mechanisms, or
- zoonoses and mechanisms for transmission, prevention, surveillance and management of spread of infection, or
- drug and vaccine development (and other treatments)?