Open call

31 January - 05 March 2024

Project grant for research on civil society

The purpose of the project grant is to give researchers the freedom to formulate their own research concept, method and implementation, and to solve a specific research task within a limited period. The focus of this grant aims to support research on civil society.

Subject area: Humanities and Social Sciences

Support form: Project support

Grant form: Project grant

Focus: Civil society

Applicant: Individual researcher

Participating researchers: Up to 6 other researchers may be invited to join the application

Grant period: 1-4 years. If you apply for a fourth project year, you must specifically justify this in the application.

Grant amount: Minimum 400 000 SEK per year , maximum 1 700 000 SEK per year

Budgetary framework: 9 800 000 SEK per year for 4 years

Start of grant period: January 2025

Application period: 31 January 2024 (14.00/2 p.m.) – 5 March 2024 (14.00/2 pm)

Publication of grant award: No later than the beginning of November 2024

Please note:

  • 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.
  • To enable the implementation and merits to be assessed, the competence to be contributed by any doctoral students to the project should be stated in the research plan and/or the justification of the budget.
  • Read here for information on project collaboration with researchers in Russia and Belarus.

Pdf / Printout

Contact

Telephone hours are weekdays excluding public holidays 9.00-15.00 up to the call deadline.

Calls humanities and social sciences

ansokhs@vr.se

+46 (0)8 546 44 051

Specific instructions for the call

In addition to reading the call text, you also need to consult our Guide for applicants.

Contents:

Requirements for applicants

The following requirements must be fulfilled for you to be eligible to apply for the grant. We carry out checks, and reject applications that do not fulfil the requirements.

Focus

Social changes impact on the role and practices of civil society. The changes raise questions about the composition, scope, operational focus, development and social importance of civil society. The broad focus of the call means that civil society can be investigated from differing perspectives and relate to differing aspects of civil society, such as its historical development, importance for societal development, organisation and control, and also the motivations for individuals and groups to organise themselves. Other urgent questions are also how civil society, the state and the market relate to and influence each other.

Studies may focus on associations, interest organisations and popular movements, and also on transnational organisations and newer forms of social networks. The research can relate both to activities aimed at influencing political processes or the market, and activities aimed at supplementing or replacing state involvement or commercial markets. Studies of local, national and global aspects of the importance and practices of civil society are welcome. Projects awarded funding will be part of a larger research programme focusing on civil society, which the Swedish Research Council is operating on behalf of the Government, and projects awarded funding are expected to take part in this.

Applicant

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). 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 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 issue date of the degree registered in Ladok applies.

You shall be the project leader and have scientific responsibility for the research activities described. 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 do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying, but you must be employed at the start of and throughout the grant period and any further availability period. The employment must cover be no less than 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. On the other hand, you may apply for other project grants, but for other project concepts. You may also apply for an undirected research environment grant in humanities and social sciences but any overlap between the applications will be taken into account in the weighted assessment of the need for resources. 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 a grant with a grant period that overlaps the 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 in on the page Several grants simultaneously. Please note that if you are the project leader for an ongoing project grant, this must have a different focus than research on civil society, and relate to a different project concept for you to be able to apply.

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 were 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.

Participating researchers

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. Please note also that the Swedish Research Council will normally fund a maximum of 80 per cent of a full-time salary for applicants and participating researchers under this call.
  • premises
  • 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 must 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 1 700 000 SEK per year.

Grant period

You may apply for a grant to cover a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 4 years, starting from January 2025.

The first payment will be made during January 2025 at the earliest.

For this call, the project period shall be a maximum of 3 years under normal circumstances. If your proposed project cannot be completed within a 3-year period, you may apply for 4 years. You must then specifically justify the need for a fourth project year (see instructions under “Research description” below.)

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 in the application form is described below.

Descriptive information

Abstract

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 with 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.

Research description

Ethical aspects

Legal and formal requirements

State whether the research covers the handling of personal data, 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.

Ethical considerations

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.

Research plan

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.

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 than those supported by the Swedish Research Council, 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.

Justification of a fourth project year

If you are applying for a grant covering four years, please justify the need for a fourth project year.

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.

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

Please 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 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. You cannot supplement the application with outputs after the deadline for the call.

1. Selection of research outputs

List the 10 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/corresponding.

2. Relevant peer-reviewed research outputs from 2016–2024

In this part, the outputs listed under Item 1 shall also be included if they were published during the period in question. Sort them with your name highlighted in bold in the author list/corresponding 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. Relevant non peer-reviewed research outputs from 2016–2024

In this part, the outputs listed under Item 1 shall also be included if they were published during the period in question. Sort them with your name highlighted in bold in the author list/corresponding under the respective headings (type of output) in the following order:

  • Artistic work
  • Publications including popular science books/presentations
  • Preprints
  • 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.

Participating researchers’ publications and other research outputs

If you have any participating researchers, you shall attach their lists joined up into one file.

The list for each researcher shall include the 10 publications or other research outputs that are the most relevant for the implementation of the research activities 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.

The outputs may be of the following types and must be 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.

Peer-reviewed research outputs:

  • original articles
  • conference contributions
  • edited volumes
  • research review articles
  • books and book chapters
  • artistic work
  • other outputs

and

Non peer-reviewed research outputs

Budget and research resources

Project personnel

State the activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) of all personnel active in 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 in 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.

Other costs

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 every cost 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.

Other funding

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.

Administrating organisation

Please state the administrating organisation and project site.

Participants

Here you as applicant may invite other participating researchers and administrators to your application.

CV

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. 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 information on employment format)
  • Longer relevant employments
  • Post-doctoral visits (state also 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 (postdoctoral and doctoral 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.

Evaluation process

Your application for research project grant for research on civil society is evaluated by a review panel where the members are 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 meet at two review panel meetings, one in the spring and one in the fall, to discuss and prioritise the applications, and to make a proposal for a decision to the Scientific Council for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Review panel

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 at the spring meeting are not discussed in detail at the review panel meeting in the fall. Following the grant decision, all applications receive a final statement that include the review panel’s grading of the application. The applications that have been discussed in more detail at the fall 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.

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.

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 project (1–7)

  • To what extent is the project and its questions of the highest scientific quality?
  • To what extent is the project clear and systematic in its definition of the research problem, its theoretical basis, and the summary of previous results within the research field?
  • To what extent are the methods for material/data collection and analysis suitable and consequential?
  • To what extent is the project relevant for the call?
  • Are the ethical considerations for the proposed project properly described and addressed? Does the applicant adequately consider risk/value/suffering for humans, animals, nature and/or society?

Novelty and originality (1–7)

  • To what extent does the project expand or challenge current knowledge, ideas, and practice within the field of the call?
  • To what extent does the project combine concepts and theories, approaches, and methods, and/or material/data in a novel way?
  • To what extent do the project’s goals have the potential to achieve scientific and/or societal impact?

Merits of the applicant (1–7)

The merits of the applicant are always assessed in relation to the applicant’s career age.

  • To what extent do the project participants have research experience and expertise within the field the application relates to?
  • To what extent have the project participants displayed abilities for independent and creative scientific work?
  • How do the project participants’ scientific production, impact and other merits compare in a national and international perspective?
  • To what extent do the project participants have the relevant and supplementary competence required to conduct the research task?
  • In the event the application includes doctoral students: To what extent do the planned supervisors have experience of supervising doctoral students?

Feasibility (1–3)

  • To what extent do the personnel selected have competences and degrees of activity that are suitable for implementing the project?
  • To what extent is the project’s work allocation and time plan realistic?
  • Is there access to material/data, equipment, research infrastructure and/or other resources that are required for implementing the project?
  • 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 that reflects the review panel’s joint evaluation of the application’s scientific quality.

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