The call opened 14:00 06 March 2019
The call closed 14:00 09 April 2019
International postdoc grant within development research
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.
International postdoc grants within development research are funded by the Government’s development aid funds, and the research shall be relevant to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income countries. The Swedish Research Council rewards research of the highest scientific quality in national competition.
Individual researcher who completed a doctoral degree no more than 2 years ago.
No participating researchers may be invited to join the application.
1 050 000 SEK per year
9 April 2019 (14.00/2 p.m.)
Publication of grant award
No later than January 2020
Start of grant period
- Please read and follow the instructions: In addition to this specific call text, you also need to read our Guide for applicants.
- Please do not state anybody’s full personal identity number in the application.
- International postdoc grant within development research is a new grant for 2019. A condition of the grant is that at least two thirds of the grant period is spent abroad, of which at least one third of the grant period in a low or lower middle income country.
- As from spring 2019, you will need to have a data management plan for data generated within the research we award funds for. You must not send the plan to us, but according to our general grant terms and conditions, your administrating organisation must confirm that a data management plan will be in place when you start your project or corresponding, and also that the plan will be maintained. Read more about the work on open access to research data.
Call text in full
The following requirements must be fulfilled in order for you to be eligible to apply for the grant. We carry out checks to ensure unqualified applications are rejected from further processing.
The goal of the call for international postdoc within development research is to reinforce Swedish research with particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income countries. This means that the research shall be relevant to the overarching goal for Sweden’s international development collaboration; to contribute to creating prerequisites for better living conditions for people living in poverty and oppression, and thereby contribute to the goal for the policy for global development of fair and sustainable global development.
Within the framework for this grant, the project shall be relevant to one or several of the countries classified as low income countries according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list (columns “Least Developed Countries” and “Other Low Income Countries”).
This means that the project’s questions and results shall be of benefit for these countries, but collaboration and other research activities may be carried out in other countries also.
The research may aim either towards immediate benefit or towards knowledge that is potentially important to the goals of the call. It may cover everything from basic to applied research within all scientific disciplines. For further information, please see the following documents:
The applicant for an international postdoc grant within development research must be an individual researcher. You must hold a doctoral degree from a Swedish HEI or the European University Institute, EUI, awarded no more than 2 years before the deadline for this call.
Grants from the Swedish Research Council shall be administered by a Swedish HEI or another Swedish public organisation that fulfils our criteria for administrating organisations. Your organisation must therefore be approved as an administrating organisation for you to apply.
If you are awarded a grant, you must be employed by the administrating organisation at the start of and throughout the grant period and any additional availability period, unless the Swedish Research Council approves an exception. 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. You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying.
Read more about the EU’s policy and recommendations for recruitment of researchers in the European regulations for researchers on the EU’s website
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 later than the deadline date for the call and no earlier than 9 April 2017. The degree award date we use is the date you fulfilled all the requirements for a doctoral degree, such as mandatory courses, oral defence and an approved doctoral thesis. For applicants with Swedish doctoral degrees, the award date (date of completed studies) listed in Ladok applies. You will not be able to complete your application if your doctoral degree was awarded more than 2 years ago.
If your doctoral degree was awarded earlier, it is however still possible to apply if there are grounds for deductible time after your doctoral degree that have affected your ability to gain merit as a researcher. The Swedish Research Council’s recognised grounds are parental leave, positions of trust in trade union organisations and student organisations, mandatory service in the total defence forces, long-term illness (own reported illness or care of child/close family member), general medical internship (maximum 24 months) or further training/specialist medical internship for clinically active professionals (maximum 24 months). 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 carry out random checks and may request confirmation that supports the grounds for deductible time stated by you.
Number of applications and previous grants
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 may apply for this grant even if you are simultaneously applying for the Swedish Research Council’s other grants for international postdoc, but if several applications are approved, you must choose only one of the grants. Other restrictions on the grants you may apply for during the same year are shown in the table below.
Table: Grants you may apply for simultaneously (pdf, 460.8 kB)
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 a previously awarded grant that is ongoing, that is to say where the grant period (payment period from the Swedish Research Council) overlaps the grant period of the grant this application covers. Please note that the availability period, that is to say the time during which you can draw down the grant awarded, is normally longer than the grant period. Information about the criteria for your previous grant can be found in the “Approval of conditions” you received from the Swedish Research Council.
If you are the project leader for an ongoing project grant within development research you may apply, but must choose one of the grants if your applications are approved. Please see the table below for further information and any restrictions relating to grants you may apply for if you have an ongoing 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 idea 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 is awarded in a standard amount of 1 050 000 SEK per year, of which 900 000 SEK is for your salary costs and 150 000 SEK for research expenses relating to your stay and the research you will be carrying out (such as consumables, travel including stays at research facilities, and publication costs). The grant amount includes cover of indirect costs. The standard amount relating to salary costs also includes social security contributions. Grants may not be used for scholarships.
The Swedish Research Council assumes that the administrating organisation, as the employer responsible, will cover any costs in excess of the standard amount received.
The grant period is 18–36 months, starting in January 2020. The first payment will be made in January 2020 at the earliest.
A condition of the grant is that at least two thirds of the grant period is spent abroad, of which at least one third of the grant period in a low or lower middle income country according to OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list (columns “Least Developed Countries”, “Other Low Income Countries” and “Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories”). This time may, however, be divided up into several shorter periods. The mobility condition shall be confirmed by means of a letter of invitation from the foreign host university or corresponding research institution, and a description and justification of your choice of this institution. Both of these must cover the period stated in the application.
Please refer to the application form in Prisma in parallel with reading the instructions below, which describe the call-specific content of the application. More information on what to do in practical terms is available in our Guide for applicants.
Foreign experts are involved in the scientific assessment of the applications. To ensure fair and equitable assessment and efficient processing, please therefore complete your application in English.
Sections of the application
The application form includes the following tabs:
- Descriptive information
- Research description
- Budget and research resources
- Administrating organisation
- Review panels
- Participants (only administrators in this call)
Descriptions of the call-specific information requested under each tab follow below.
State the country and the host HEI and department where you will be spending your stay abroad.
It is possible to state more than one host country/host department. The first host country stated must fulfil the requirement of being a low or lower middle income country according to OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC’s list (columns “Least Developed Countries”, “Other Low Income Countries” and “Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories”).
The abstract shall include a brief description of the following:
- what is to be done: purpose and aim
- how the research will be carried out: project organisation, time plan and the scientific methods to be used
- what is important about the planned research.
The abstract shall provide a summary guide to 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 (approximately one third of an A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing).
Popular science description
Describe the project in such a way that a person who is not familiar with the subject can understand it. Describe what is to be done and why, and explain in what way the new knowledge may be important.
The popular science description is an important tool when we inform about the research funded by the Swedish Research Council. If we grant your application, we reserve the right to use the description for information purposes.
Note: The popular science description must be written in Swedish, unlike the rest of the application.
The description may cover a maximum of 4 500 characters including blank spaces (approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing).
Please state any interruptions in your active research time after your doctoral degree caused by any of the grounds recognised by the Swedish Research Council. The interruption shall be calculated as a full-time equivalent and be rounded up into full calendar months. Please see the recognised grounds for deductible time under the heading “Career age” above.
Global goals for sustainable development
State which of the 17 global goals for sustainable development (according to Agenda 2030) your project is linked to in particular.
Policy markers OpenAid
Applications within development research shall be classified according to a number of policy markers, and therefore you must also state to what extent your project focuses on each policy marker area. You can find a description of the policy markers via the link below.
Please note that neither the link to the sustainability goals nor the classification impacts on the evaluation of your application, but are only aimed at facilitating better follow-up of the Swedish development aid funds that finance development research and are reported to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee DAC.
Describe the ethical issues raised by your project or corresponding. You must also describe how you plan to address ethical dilemmas that may arise. Please justify why the research should be carried out against the background of the ethical issues you have identified. How do your research questions and expected results measure up in relation to the ethical issues? Please also state whether the research involves any handling of personal data, or experiments on animals or human subjects. If no ethical issues are raised, please justify this.
The research plan shall consist of a brief but complete description of the research task. The focus of the research plan shall be forward-looking, and it shall cover a maximum of 8 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing, including references and any images.
The research plan shall include the following headings and information, listed in the following order:
- Purpose and aims: State the overall purpose and specific goals of the research project.
- State-of-the-art: Summarise briefly the current research frontier within the field/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 its importance 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. State also if no preliminary results exist.
- Project description: Describe the project design, including the following items:
- Theory and method: Describe the underlying theory and the methods to be applied in order to reach the project goal, and how gender aspects (only where applicable) will be addressed in the project idea.
- Time plan and implementation: Describe summarily the time plan for the project during the grant period, and how the project will be implemented.
- Project organisation: Clarify the contributions of yourself and any other researchers to the implementation of the project, including a description of competences and roles in the project.
- Results: Describe the results you expect from 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 a project that was 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.
- Security situation in collaborating country: If you are planning to carry out research activities or field work in countries or regions that the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs are advising against travelling to (including work travel), please describe how you are planning your research visit to and work in the country in view of the security situation. Ministry for Foreign Affairs travel information
Please provide the following information also. If a heading is not relevant to your application, please leave it blank.
- Equipment: Describe the basic equipment you and your team have at your disposal for the project.
- Need for infrastructure: Specify the project’s need for international and national infrastructure. Specify also the need for local infrastructure, if depreciation costs for this is included in the application. Read more about research infrastructure supported by the Swedish Research Council.
- Other applications or grants: If you are applying for or intend to apply for other grants from the Swedish Research Council, the relationship between the projects shall be clarified. This applies also if you are receiving ongoing grants from the Swedish Research Council with grant periods that wholly or partly overlap with the grant you are now applying for. You should also justify why you are submitting one or several further applications. Describe also the relationship with other applications to or grants from other funding bodies for the same project concept (from you or another researcher).
Postdoc projects within development research shall be relevant to the fight against poverty and for fair and sustainable development in low income countries (for further information, please see under the heading “Focus” above). The relevance description shall state how the project contributes to new knowledge aimed at creating prerequisites for better living conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression. Please also indicate for which low income country/countries (alternatively low-income countries in general) the project is relevant.
For further information, please see the following documents:
The description may cover a maximum of 6 000 characters including blank spaces (approximately one and a half A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing).
Budget and research resources
Please state your activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) in the project. We assume that your activity level as project leader corresponds to a full-time equivalent during the grant period.
The grant is a standard amount and you therefore do not need to enter any budget applied for in the application form.
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.
Please 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 corresponding that are published or accepted for publication at the time of applying. The author order shall be identical to that of the published work and your name shall be marked in bold. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
1. Selection of publications: List the maximum 5 publications of greatest importance to your application. For each publication, please state how you contributed to it, and its relevance to the research project described (maximum 4 lines per publication). Highlight your name in bold in the author list. State “Part of PhD thesis” in bold in brackets for the publications included in the doctoral thesis.
2. Total number of publications: Sort the publications, with your name highlighted in bold in the author list, under each heading (publication type) in the following order: State “Part of PhD thesis” in bold in brackets for the publications included in the doctoral thesis.
- 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
Here you shall attach to each field the appendices requested.
Invitation from the administrating organisation
Please attach an invitation covering no more than 2 A4 pages from the Swedish HEI where you will be employed, showing that you are welcome to carry out your planned research there.
The invitation shall be addressed to you as applicant, cover the period shown in this call and include the following:
- a description of the current research and subject knowledge of the research team in question
- a description of your future role in the research team
- the planned start and end dates of your employment at the Swedish HEI.
By signing the application in Prisma, the administrating organisation confirms this undertaking.
Invitation from host department abroad
The appendix shall include information on the host department abroad and a formal invitation from the host department showing that you are welcome to carry out your planned research there. The information and invitation shall cover a maximum of 2 A4 pages in total. You may include a maximum of 2 A4 pages per invitation in the event you will be staying at more than one host department abroad.
The information on the host department shall apply for the period shown in this call and shall include
- the time period/periods of your stay at the host department abroad
- 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 (in the order university/institute, department, address).
The invitation from the host department abroad shall cover the period shown in this call and include the following:
- a presentation of the host department
- a description of the current research and subject knowledge of the research team in question
- the research team’s reason for receiving you
- your role in the research team.
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 inviter shall be included.
Description and justification of the host department chosen
Please attach a description and justification as described below, covering no more than 1 A4 page.
- Describe how the research at the host department abroad relates to the research at the Swedish department.
- Justify your choice of host department abroad and describe your opportunities to develop your skills as a researcher.
Please state the administrating organisation and project site.
Please propose the review panel or panels (in priority order) that you wish to carry out the scientific assessment of your application. The final allocation of applications is determined by the Swedish Research Council.
Here you as applicant may invite participating administrators to your application.
Under this tab, please upload your relevant CV information from your personal account in Prisma.
The following information, where available, must always be included in your CV, taking into account the stated limitation in numbers:
- Education: Third cycle education (year of doctoral degree, discipline/subject area, HEI, thesis title and supervisor), first and second cycle higher education and specialist degrees.
- Work: Current employment (including whether permanent or not) and longer relevant employment, 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 merits as a researcher.
- Merits and awards: Docentship/associate professorship, supervisees (doctoral and students; state the overall number of each category and list the 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 is evaluated by a specialised review panel where the members are Swedish and international researchers active within development research.
At least four members review and grade your application individually. The entire review panel then meets at a review panel meeting to discuss and prioritise the applications, and finally to make a proposal for a decision to the Committee for Development Research.
A certain proportion of the applications with the lowest grades from the members’ individual reviews are screened out in the beginning of the review panel meeting. These applications will not be the subject of discussion, which gives room for more detailed discussion and prioritisation of the applications of higher quality, which have a reasonable chance of being funded.
The screened out applications only receive an overall grade and a standardised final statement after the decision is made. The remaining applications receive an individual final statement that reflects the review panel’s discussion and overall 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. Postdoc grants are further assessed according to a fifth basic criteria; Internationalization and the research environment. The criteria are assessed on a seven-grade scale, except for feasibility and Internationalization and research environment, which are assessed on a three-grade grade scale.
In addition to the basic criteria, your application is also evaluated using two additional criteria (Relevance for the call) on a three-grade scale. This grade is not weighed into the overall grade.
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 project scientifically significant?
- Does the proposal have clear conceptual and theoretical foundations?
- Is the overall design and description of the project sufficiently clear and systematic, for example in its definition of research questions, hypotheses and methodology?
- Are the scientific/intellectual merits of the proposed research clear, convincing and compelling?
- Does the proposed project have the character of thoroughness, e.g. in its definition of the problem, and review of the state of the art?
- Are the proposed research methods suitable to the aims and objectives?
- Are the methods of data management such as data collection, analysis and statistics well defined and appropriate?
- If applicable: To what extent and how well are aspects concerning gender equality included in the research contents.
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- Does the project extend or challenge current understanding, opinion or practice in its field?
- To what extent does the proposed project define new, compelling scientific questions within its scientific area?
- Does the proposed project have the potential to substantially increase the knowledge within its scientific area? (For example novel concepts or theories, new directions for research and advancement of the field)
- Does the project include use of novel technologies/methodologies, or innovative application of existing methodologies/technologies in a novel way or context?
- Does the researcher propose a line of research with clear progression and novelty in relation to previous research in the field or is he/she simply adding details to existing knowledge?
- If applicable: In what novel way does the proposed project have potential for scientific and/or societal impact in low-income countries?
Merits of the applicant (1–7)
- How strong are the applicant’s merits and competence in relation to career age, research area and previous research environment?
- To what degree does the applicant’s previous experience and scientific competence strengthen the project?
- Do the publications and other scientific achievements of the applicant show the potential for a distinct and independent line of research? Focus is on the most relevant and important reports, with emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
- Does the applicant have a sufficient scientific network for implementing the proposed project?
- Is the general design, including time schedule, optimal for implementing the proposed project?
- Does the project include the availability and accessibility of relevant resources, including supervision, equipment, facilities/infrastructures and other necessary resources?
- Is the environment suitable for carrying out the proposed research?
- If applicable, is it described how the permits for implementation of the project will be acquired?
- Are the proposed research methods, infrastructures, experiments and fieldwork appropriate for the implementation of the project?
- How is the balance between the project´s feasibility and risks and its potential gains? (high risk/high gain)
Internationalisation and research environment (1-3)
- To what extent does the foreign host institution seem relevant for the research the application concerns?
- How suitable is the foreign research environment for the applicant’s ability to develop new competences, their research network and their independence as a researcher?
- If the applicant plans to spend time in Sweden, is that time well motivated and is the research environment favourable for the applicant’s ability to develop as a researcher?
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.
Relevance for the call (1-3)
Relevance to the program objectives is evaluated separately from the scientific quality, and is not included in the overall grade. The Research Project Grant in Development Research is financed through development aid funds provided by the government, and research receiving support must be of relevance to poverty reduction and sustainable development in low income countries.
- To what extent is the proposed project relevant to the described call objectives?
- Does the proposed research have the potential to create preconditions for better living conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression?
- To what extent does the proposed research contribute to tackling important societal and environmental challenges in low-income countries?
- Does the proposed research have the potential to promote equitable and sustainable development in low-income countries?