17 January - 20 February 2024
International postdoc within natural and engineering sciences (spring call)
The purpose of the grant is to give newly qualified researchers with a doctoral degree from a Swedish higher education institution (HEI) the opportunity to expand their networks and their competences by working abroad under secure employment conditions. The grant is also intended to promote the quality and renewal of Swedish research.
Subject area: Natural and Engineering Sciences
Support form: Career support
Grant form: International postdoc
Focus: Undirected within Natural and engineering sciences
Applicant: Individual researcher who completed a doctoral degree no more than 2 years ago, or who will have completed a doctoral degree before the start of the grant period, that is no later than 30 June 2024.
Participating researchers: No other researchers may be invited to join the application.
Grant period: 18–36 months
Grant amount: 1 300 000 SEK per year, plus a further 50 000 SEK per year in total may be applied for, for one or more accompanying family members.
Start of grant period: July 2024
Application period: 17 January 2024 (14.00/2 pm) – 20 February 2024 (14.00/2 pm)
Publication of grant award: No later than the beginning of June 2024
- The grant amount has been increased to 1 300 000 SEK per year.
- Changes to the application:
- The former “Publication list” is now known as “Publications and other research outputs” and has a changed structure.
- There is now a separate field in the application where you are asked to describe how your stated merits confirm your ability to implement the proposed research.
- If you are awarded one of our career grants, you must verify your doctoral degree before you can receive the grant. If you have a Swedish doctoral degree, you can verify it before submitting your application by importing a validated doctoral degree from Ladok to your CV. Read more in Prisma’s user support External link.on how to proceed. If you have not imported your doctoral degree via Ladok, you will subsequently have to verify it by submitting a certificate of the degree in the event that your application is granted.
- Use English in all parts of the application (text fields, appendices, cv-posts etc), with the exception of the Swedish popular science description.
- Read here for information on project collaboration with researchers in Russia and Belarus.
Digital information meeting
24 January 2024
We will present the grant form and you as an applicant will have the opportunity to ask questions about the call and the application process.
Specific instructions for the call
In addition to reading the call text, you also need to consult our Guide for applicants.
- Requirements for applicants
- What must the application contain?
- How your application is assessed
Requirements for applicants
The following requirements must be fulfilled in order for you to be eligible to apply for the grant. We carry out checks and reject applications that do not fulfil the requirements.
The applicant for an international postdoc grant must be an individual researcher together with their organisation (a Swedish higher education institution (HEI) or other Swedish organisation that fulfils our criteria for administrating organisations for Swedish Research Council grants). 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 must have been awarded a doctoral degree at a Swedish higher education institution (HEI) or at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (EUI) External link.no more than 2 years before the deadline for this call. If you have not yet been awarded your doctoral degree you can still apply, provided you will have completed a doctoral degree before the start of the grant period, that is, before 30 June 2024.
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 further availability period. The administrating organisation will decide on the employment format, salary, and employment terms and conditions. You are, however, expected to remain employed full-time throughout the grant period, which means that you are employed and pay tax in Sweden during your stay abroad.
The Swedish Research Council does not usually allow exceptions from the employment requirement due to circumstances that mean the administrating organisation cannot employ you for posting abroad, for example if you are already living in or are a citizen of the host country at the time of employment. If national regulations in the host country require employment with an employer in the country in question, however, we may allow an exception from the employment requirement.
Please note that before you send in your application to the Swedish Research Council, you need to check with your administrating organisation, for example the HR function, whether it is possible for you to be employed and stationed abroad.
Read more about the regulations governing public agency personnel working outside Sweden on the Swedish Agency for Government Employers’ website (in Swedish). External link.
Note: If you are awarded a grant, you will have to verify your doctoral degree before the grant can be paid out. If you already have a Swedish doctoral degree, you can easily verify it before submitting your application by importing a validated doctoral degree to your CV from Ladok. Read more in Prisma’s user support External link.on how to proceed.
To apply for an international postdoc grant, your doctoral degree must have been awarded no more than 2 years ago, that is to say awarded no earlier than 20 February 2022. For applicants with Swedish doctoral degrees, the issue date of the degree registered in Ladok applies. You will not be able to complete your application if your doctoral degree was awarded more than 2 years ago. An exception applies if you have not been in paid employment for a long period(s) after being awarded your doctoral degree, and this has affected your ability to gain merit as a researcher (so called “deductible time”).
The Swedish Research Council’s approved grounds for deductible time are a minimum of one month’s consecutive absence due to one of the following reasons:
- parental leave
- position of trust in a trade union or student organisation
- mandatory service in the total defence force
- long-term illness (own reported illness or care of child/close family member)
- general medical internship/BT foundation period (maximum 24 months full-time work), or further training/specialist medical internship for clinically active professionals (maximum 24 months full-time education/work).
Please note that we do not accept other employment, unemployment or holidays as deductible time.
If you wish to claim deductible time, you must specify the recognised grounds and time involved in your application (please see instructions under “Descriptive information” below).
We conduct sample checks. This means that we might request a certificate in evidence of your grounds for deductible time.
Number of applications and previous grants
General information about 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. You cannot simultaneously apply for an international postdoc grant in medicine and health, humanities and social sciences, or artistic research. Further information about the grants you may apply for during the same year are shown on the page Several grants simultaneously.
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 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.
Note: If you have been the project leader for previous grants from the Swedish Research Council that have ended, final financial reports for all of these must have been submitted within the permitted time frame in order for you to apply for a new grant. Please contact your administrating organisation if you are unsure whether all your final reports have been submitted.
What applies for applications to or grants from other funding bodies?
If your application to the Swedish Research Council relates to the same project concept as a grant you have already been awarded by, or are applying for to another funding body, please describe this.
You may not invite any participating researchers in this application. Any collaboration partners and their roles shall be described in the research plan (please see instructions under “Research plan” below).
Costs and grant amounts
The grant amount is a standard amount of 1 300 000 SEK per year. The grant may be used to cover your salary, housing during your stay abroad, and additional costs coverage according to URA’s rules or corresponding costs for you and your accompanying family members. Maximum 150 000 SEK of the grant may be used for costs related to your research (such as equipment, consumables, and publication costs). The grant amount includes cover of indirect costs and also includes social security contributions. Grants must not be used for scholarships.
A further total of 50 000 SEK per year may be applied for, for accompanying family members (spouse/partner and under-age children). The standard amount for accompanying family is the same, irrespective of the number of accompanying family members. The standard amount for accompanying family may be used as additional costs coverage according to URA’s rules for accompanying family members who are not self-supporting or corresponding costs.
The Swedish Research Council assumes that the administrating organisation, as the employer responsible, will cover any costs in excess of the standard amount.
The grant period is 18–36 months, starting 1 July 2024. Your project must begin within 6 months from the start of the grant period. The first payment will be made no earlier than July 2024.
A condition of this grant is that you spend at least two thirds of the grant period at the host department abroad. You may, however, divide this time up into several shorter periods.
You must confirm that you fulfil the mobility condition by attaching a letter of invitation from the foreign host university or equivalent research institution, and also a description and justification of your choice. Both documents must cover the period stated in the application.
What must the application contain?
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.
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.
The information we request under each tab is described below.
Host department abroad
State the country and the foreign host organisation and department where you will be spending your stay abroad. State also the number of months you intend to spend at the host department. You may state more than one host country/host department. If so, begin with the country/department where you will spend the longest time, and so on.
State the names of your supervisors/representatives at the administrating organisation and the foreign host department. If your project is located at several host departments, please state the names in the same order you stated the host departments.
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 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.
Other applications or grants
Describe briefly the different projects and their relationship 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.
Please state any longer interruptions in your active research time after your doctoral degree caused by any of the grounds recognised by the Swedish Research Council. Please state the interruption calculated as a full-time equivalent and rounded up into full calendar months. Please see the recognised grounds for deductible time under the heading “Career age” above.
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.
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 that you have identified?
- 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.
Sex and gender perspectives
Please state whether sex and gender perspectives are applicable in your planned research, and justify your decision. Please note that we are not asking for information about the composition of the research team (men/women). Read more about sex and gender perspectives in research content.
The following applies:
- If you answer “Yes”: 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 these in your research plan, you will need to justify your decision here.
- If you answer “No”: Please justify your answer.
The justification may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces. This is approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
The research plan shall be forward-looking and consist of a brief but complete description of the research task. It may cover a maximum of 8 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.
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.
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 the contributions of yourself and any other researchers and/or key persons (including any doctoral students) to the implementation of the project, including a description of competences and roles in the project.
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.
Provide the following information also. If a heading is not relevant to your application, please state this under the heading.
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 than those supported by the Swedish Research Council, and are therefore open to all, you must justify this (also applies to local research infrastructure).
Description of merits
Describe how the merits you state in your CV and list of publications and other research outputs confirm your competence as project leader and scientifically responsible for implementing the proposed research activities. 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.
Publications and other research outputs
The applicant’s publications and other research outputs
Attach your 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 outputs under each heading in reverse chronological order, so that the latest published work 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, and your name shall be highlighted in bold. You cannot supplement the application with outputs after the deadline for the call.
1. Selection of research outputs.
List the 5 publications or other outputs that are the most important for confirming your competence as project leader and scientifically responsible for implementing the proposed research activities. Describe how you contributed to each output, and its relevance to the research project described (maximum 4 lines per output). Highlight your name in bold in the author list. State “Part of PhD thesis” in bold in brackets for the publications included in your doctoral thesis.
2. All peer-reviewed research outputs.
List the outputs with your name highlighted in bold in the author list/corresponging under headings (type of output) in the following order:
- Original articles
- Conference contributions, the results of which are not included in other publications
- Edited volumes
- Research review articles
- Books and book chapters
- Artistic work
- Other outputs that do not fit under any of the headings above. Please note that intellectual property rights shall be shown in the CV section of the application.
3. All non peer-reviewed research outputs.
List outputs with your name highlighted in bold in the author list/corresponging under the respective headings (type of output) in the following order:
- Artistic work
- Publications including popular science books/presentations
- Other outputs that do not fit under any of the headings above. Please note that intellectual property rights shall be shown in the CV section of the application.
Invitation from the administrating organisation
The invitation from the Swedish HEI where you will be employed shall show that you are welcome to conduct your planned research there. By signing the application in Prisma, the administrating organisation confirms this undertaking.
The invitation shall be addressed to you as applicant, cover the period shown in this call and include the following two parts:
1) Applicant’s profile
- how the applicant’s proposed research relates to the research conducted at the department or research team involved
- the applicant’s scientific independence in relation to the department or research team involved
- how the results from the research programme will contribute to the department’s future activities.
2) Commitment of the administrating organisation
- the planned start and end dates of your employment at the Swedish HEI. The applicant’s employment form, and any additional funding or support required to conduct the planned research.
- how the HEI/department will fulfil the project’s needs for premises, equipment and other infrastructure
- the department’s plan for how the applicant can continue to develop their scientific career and competence during and after the grant period.
The document may cover no more than 2 A4 pages, and shall be in English. You can download the template for the invitation from the administrating organisation here. Word, 41.2 kB.
Invitation from host department abroad
The appendix shall include a formal invitation from the host department abroad showing that you are welcome to carry out your planned research there. The invitation shall be addressed to you as the applicant from the head of department or equivalent of the host department abroad where the research will be carried out. The name and contact details of the person signing the document shall be included. The invitation shall apply for the period stated in this call and shall include a description of
- the reason for inviting and hosting the applicant
- how the applicant’s proposed research fits into the research and expertise of the department or research team involved
- the applicant’s proposed role in the research team and/or in the department.
In addition, the invitation shall also describe the host department’s undertakings in the form of
- the support required to conduct the proposed research and how this will be provided for the applicant
- how the department will fulfil the applicant’s need for premises, equipment and other infrastructure
- how the research environment will support the development of the applicant’s scientific career, networks and competence.
The invitation shall include information on the host department, including the period/s of the stay/s, and the contact person at the host department abroad (first name, last name, telephone number and email address). Please also state the faculty of the host department and the postal address.
The document may cover no more than 2 A4 pages per invitation. In the event you will be staying at more than one host department, the invitations must be merged into one document. You can download the template for the invitation from the host department abroad here. Word, 40.7 kB.
Description and justification of the host department chosen
The description may cover no more than 1 A4 page and shall include the following:
- A justification of your choice of host department abroad and description of your opportunities to develop your skills as a researcher.
- A justification of your choice of administrating organisation and a description of your opportunities to develop your independence as a researcher.
- A description of how the research at the host department abroad relates to the research at the Swedish department.
Budget and research resources
Please state your activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) in the project. We presuppose that your activity level as project leader corresponds to a full-time equivalent during the grant period.
Grant for accompanying family
Please state if you are applying for the standard grant for accompanying family members. See the section on “Costs and grant amounts” above for further information.
Planned use of the grant
Describe very briefly how you intend to allocate the grant (in percentages) to salary costs (including additional costs for you and any accompanying family), research expenses and indirect costs. Note that indirect costs follow the model that your administrating organisation uses. You must therefore contact the administrating organisation to find out what applies to your project.
The description may cover a maximum of 500 characters including blank spaces.
Please state the administrating organisation and project site.
Here you may invite participating administrators to your application.
Under this tab, please upload your relevant CV information from your personal account in Prisma. The information/merits shall confirm your competence as project leader and scientifically responsible for implementing the proposed research activities.
The following information, where available, must always be included in your CV, taking into account the stated limitation in numbers:
First, second and third cycle higher education and specialist degrees. Please note that if you will be completing your doctoral degree after the call has closed, you must provide information about the planned examination in the Research education you upload to the application.
- Current employment (including whether it is permanent employment or not)
- Longer relevant employments
- Post-doctoral visits (also state as employments if applicable)
- Researcher exchanges of relevance to the research described
- Any longer interruptions in the research that have impacted on your opportunity to gain merit as a researcher.
Merits and awards
- Docentship/associate professorship
- Persons you have supervised (doctoral students and students; state the number of persons in each category and list the names of the maximum 10 most relevant)
- Relevant grants you have received in competition (list maximum 10)
- Your most relevant prizes and awards (list maximum 10)
- Any other merits of relevance to the application, such as lecture invitations, leadership positions, positions of trust, membership of scientific organisations and similar.
Intellectual property rights:
For example, patents and open access computer programs developed by you; state up to 10 of your most relevant.
How your application is assessed
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 International postdoc within natural and engineering sciences is evaluated by a 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 to make a proposal for a decision to the Scientific Council for natural and engineering sciences.
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 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 (Internationalisation and research environment) on a 7-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)
An assessment of the quality of the project’s research question and methodology, including its potential for future research.
- To what extent does the proposed research address important challenges in relation to existing knowledge and ongoing research worldwide?
- To what extent is the project structured so that it can result in significant progress in addressing these challenges?
- When applicable, how are issues relating to sex and gender perspectives justified and handled in the research plan?
- When applicable, are the ethical considerations for the proposed project properly described and addressed? Does the applicant adequately consider potential suffering of humans and animals, and the balance of risk and value to nature and/or society?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
An assessment of how well new theories, concepts, methods and questions are implemented and developed.
- To what extent are the objectives novel, original and beyond the state of the art?
- To what extent does the research involve development of novel concepts and approaches, or development between or across disciplines?
Merits of the applicant (1–7)
The assessment should concern the merits of the applicant to perform the proposed project. Participating researchers are not allowed in International postdoc grant applications.
- How significant is the applicant’s scientific productivity, impact and other merits in a national and international perspective, in relation to the research area, and the applicant’s career age?
- What is the applicant’s scientific potential within the research area of the application?
- To what extent is the outlined scientific approach feasible considering the degree to which the proposed research is high risk / high gain?
- To what extent are the proposed research methodology and working arrangements (including access to infrastructure, equipment and other resources) appropriate to achieve the goals of the project?
- To what extent does the applicant and the project group have the required scientific expertise and capacity to successfully execute the project?
- To what extent are the proposed timescales and resources adequate and properly justified?
- Does the applicant adequately consider relevant legal and formal requirements for the proposed research, such as ethical permits and guidelines?
Internationalisation and research environment (1-7)
An assessment of the opportunities for the applicant to develop their research network and their competence as a researcher and if the project promotes mobility. Identify strengths and weaknesses.
- To what extent does the project contribute to the applicant’s ability to develop new competences and their research network, and thereby enhance their independence?
- To what extent does the foreign host institution seem relevant for the research the application concerns? When applicable, to what extent does the Swedish host institution seem relevant for the research the application concerns?
- When applicable, to what extent is the Swedish research environment suitable for the applicant’s ability to develop their career as an independent researcher?
- To what extent does the stay abroad and the project contribute to Swedish research?
Overall grade (1–7)
The various sub-criteria are weighed together into an overall grade reflecting the collected evaluations of the review panel. The overall grade is formed without a pre-determined numerical weighing of the basic criteria. As a guidance for the review panel’s assessment, the scientific quality of the proposed research and the merits of the applicant are the two most important criteria. Internationalisation and research environment and Novelty and originality should also be considered in the assessment, but should be given lower weight than the quality of the project and the merits of the applicant. The feasibility shall be weighed into the overall rating of the application if it deviates from the grade “Feasible”.