The call opened 14:00 06 March 2019
The call closed 14:00 09 April 2019
Starting grant within natural and engineering sciences
The aim of the grant is to give junior researchers the opportunity to establish themselves as independent researchers in Sweden. The Swedish Research Council rewards research of the highest scientific quality in national competition.
Natural and Engineering Sciences
Individual researcher who has completed a doctoral degree more than 2 years ago and up to 7 years ago.
No participating researchers can be invited to join the application.
Minimum 400 000 SEK per year, maximum 1 500 000 SEK per year
9 April 2019 (14.00/2 p.m.)
Publication of grant award
No later than the beginning of November 2019
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.
- 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.
- Read more about grants awarded in previous years.
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 ineligible applications are rejected from further processing.
The applicant for a starting grant must be an individual researcher. You will be the project leader and have scientific responsibility for the project, and you must set aside adequate time for the project throughout the grant period, with a scope (activity level) that corresponds to at least 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent. You must hold a Swedish doctoral degree or a corresponding foreign degree, awarded more than 2 years but no more than 7 years before the deadline date for this call.
Grants from the Swedish Research Council shall be administered by a Swedish university or 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 employment must equal at least 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent. You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying.
To apply for a starting grant, your doctoral degree must have been awarded more than 2 years ago but no more than 7 years ago at the deadline for the call, that is to say awarded no later than 9 April 2017 and no earlier than 9 April 2012. 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 less than 2 years ago or more than 7 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 not simultaneously apply for the Swedish Research Council’s undirected project grants or other starting grants.
Please note that if you are awarded a starting grant, you will not be able to apply for the Swedish Research Council’s undirected project grants during the grant period.
Other restrictions on the grants you may apply for during the same year are shown in the table below.
Table: Overview of grants you can apply for in the same year (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.
Please note that you cannot apply for a starting grant if you at any time previously have been awarded and been the project leader for a project grant for junior researchers or a starting grant from the Swedish Research Council.
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 may be used to fund all types of project-related costs, such as
- salaries (including your own salary, however no more than corresponding to your activity level in the project)
- running costs (such as consumables, travel including stays at research facilities, publication costs and minor equipment)
- depreciation costs.
Grants may not be used for scholarships. If a doctoral student participates, project funds may not be paid out as salary for the period when the doctoral student is teaching.
The minimum amount you may apply for is 400 000 SEK per year, including indirect costs. The maximum amount you may apply for is 1 500 000 SEK per year. The average amount awarded for starting grants within natural and engineering sciences is normally approximately 850 000 SEK per year.
The grant period is 4 years, starting in January 2020. The first payment will be made in January 2020 at the earliest.
Please refer to the application form in Prisma in parallel with reading the instructions below, which describe the call-specific content of the application. More information on what to do in practical terms is available in our Guide for applicants.
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
- Letter of support
- Administrating organisation
- Review panels
- Participants (only administrators in this call)
Descriptions of the call-specific information requested under each tab follow below.
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 longer 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.
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 10 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. State 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, including the following items:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Independent line of research:
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.
- International and national collaboration: Describe your collaboration with foreign and Swedish researchers and research teams. State whether you contribute to or refer to international collaboration in your research.
- 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).
Budget and research resources
State the activity level (per cent of a full-time equivalent) of all personnel active within the project, that is to say yourself, any other researchers and other personnel. Please also state the salary you are applying for, for yourself and/or other personnel active within the project, both as a percentage of a full-time salary and as actual annual amounts (including social security contributions). Please state rounded amounts in SEK.
Describe any other costs of the project (premises costs, running costs and depreciation costs). Please state rounded annual amounts.
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 exceeding a certain amount (please contact your administrating organisation for information about the amount that applies to your department)
- the equipment needs for your proposed project cannot be satisfied through use of national or international infrastructure open to all.
You may only include the proportion of depreciation costs that corresponds to the use of the equipment in the proposed project. You may not include depreciation costs for equipment that is wholly financed via other grants. Please contact your HEI for information about what is included in local research infrastructure, acquisition values or how to calculate depreciation costs.
Prisma will automatically add up your budget items listed 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 covered by the project (for which you are not seeking funding under this call).
Please contact your HEI for information on what constitutes indirect and direct costs.
Justification of the budget applied for
Justify briefly each cost applied for in the budget stated. The description may cover a maximum of 4 000 characters including blank spaces (approximately one A4 page in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing).
Please state your or any other researcher’s funding over and above what is applied for in this application. Please state rounded amounts in SEK.
Applicant’s publication list
Please attach your publication list drawn up according to the headings and information below. The list shall cover a maximum of 5 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing.
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. The application cannot be supplemented with publications after the deadline for the call.
- Selection of publications: List the maximum 10 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 four 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.
- Relevant publications from the last 8 years: 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
Letter of support
Please attach a formal letter of support from the HEI in question where the research will be carried out. The letter shall be signed by the head of the hosting department, or equivalent. The applicant’s name shall be stated clearly, as well as the name and function/position of the person writing the letter of support.
Please note that the letter of support forms an important part of the assessment of your application.
The document may cover no more than 2 A4 pages. The letter of support shall be written in English, and shall include the following headings and the information requested under them. No further information shall be included.
Please download the template for the letter of support here. (word, 38.3 kB)
- A description of the applicant’s research programme and how this fits into the research environment (research already in progress at the department)
- A description of the applicant’s scientific independence
- A description of how the applicant can contribute to the department’s activities based on their scientific and teaching competence.
Commitment of the hosting department
- Information on the applicant’s employment format and funding of the employment throughout the grant period
- A description of how the department will fulfil the applicant’s need for premises, equipment and other infrastructure.
- A description of the HEI’s/department’s career plan for the applicant during and after the grant period. The plan shall include goals and activities for how the applicant can continue acquiring scientific merit, and develop their leadership and their teaching competence.
By signing the application in Prisma, the administrating organisation confirms these undertakings.
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.
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 following information, where available, must always be included in your CV, taking into account the stated limitation in numbers:
- Education: First, second and third cycle higher education and specialist degrees.
- Work: Current employment (including employment form) 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 (postdoctoral and doctoral 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 any other merits relevant to the application, such as lecture invitations or similar.
- 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 subject review panel where the members are researchers active in Sweden and abroad.
At least three 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 Scientific Council for Natural and Engineering Sciences.
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 applications screened out only receive an overall grade and a standardised final statement after the decision is made. The other 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 and 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 proposed research (1–7)
- Is the proposed research scientifically significant?
- How does the proposed project relate to the state of the art of the research area?
- Do the scientific questions have the purpose to fill in significant knowledge gaps, and is the project description sufficiently detailed and of sufficient quality to reach, or to approach these objectives in a significant way?
- When applicable, is the proposed development of methods or techniques of high scientific significance? Does the proposed development allow new scientific questions to be addressed?
- Does the applicant show the ability to formulate a scientific question that is clearly independent of the research the applicant has performed as a doctoral student and postdoc?
Novelty and originality (1–7)
- Does the proposed project define new, interesting scientific questions?
- Does the proposed project have the potential to substantially increase the knowledge within its scientific area?
- Does the proposed project use new ways and methods to address important scientific questions?
- When applicable, does the proposed project show a clear progression in relation to the previous research of the applicant?
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 starting 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? Here the emphasis should be on the recent scientific achievements.
- What is the applicant’s scientific competence within the research area of the application?
- Has the applicant shown the ability to work independently?
- Has the applicant shown the ability to work in new (international) research environments, for instance during postdoctoral work?
- Are the available equipment, infrastructure and other resources adequate for the proposed project?
- Considering the project as a whole, including any participating researchers, does the applicant or project group have sufficient competence to perform the proposed research?
- Does the description in the research plan support the likelihood that the proposed project will be performed successfully?
- Is the scope of the project reasonable in relation to the amount applied for?
- Does the host institution’s support letter show that there is need for the applicant’s competence and an explicit interest in the suggested research direction in a broader sense? Does the host institution’s support letter show that the research environment is the right one for the applicant and for carrying out the research project? Is there a long-term plan for the applicant and the applicant’s field of research at the host institution?
Overall grade (1–7)
The various sub-criteria are weighed together into an overall grade reflecting the collected evaluation of the application’s sub-grades given by 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. 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”.