Economic and financial drivers for climate action


Research projects on the importance and ability of economic and financial systems in helping to find solutions to our climate challenges.


Principal applicants must have completed their doctorate degree and be affiliated with a Swedish university, college, research institute or government agency that has a research assignment.


A maximum of SEK 10 million for a project duration of up to four years.

Given decision: 2020-06-16 14:00


Preliminary decisions. Please note that only decisions published in Prisma is a guarantee of granted funding.


Society is facing a major transition in its attempt to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions within a short time frame while preparing our communities for the consequences of a changing climate. An important piece of the puzzle in these efforts is increased knowledge of the role of economic and financial systems in addressing climate challenges.

This call is aimed at active researchers with doctoral degrees who are associated with universities, colleges or research institu tes. The call consists of two focus areas: (1) The role of the economy in the climate transition and (2) The financial sector and the climate. You can apply for a maximum of SEK 10 million for one project. The call has a total budget of SEK 80 million. The call is being implemented within the National Climate Research Programme.

Call text

All you need to know before, during and after you have applied.

Call text: Economic and financial drivers for climate action (pdf) , 316.4 kB.


Revised: December 12, 2019

Climate change is becoming ever more urgent. The world needs to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions within a short time frame while preparing our societies for the consequences of a changing climate. By signing the Paris Agreement, Sweden pledged to help limit global warming to “well below 2 degrees”. The Swedish Parliament has also adopted a national target through the Climate Act, which stipulates that Sweden must reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere by 2045 and subsequently achieve negative emissions. According to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s in-depth evaluation from 2019 of Sweden’s environmental objectives, we are far from achieving it. According to the 2018 IPCC report, “Global Warming of 1.5°C”, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by about half up to 2030 for there to be a reasonable chance of achieving the Paris Agreement goals. This will require the comprehensive transition of all major sectors in society away from the use of fossil fuel-based raw materials.

In order for environmental issues to be taken into account in economic decisions at different levels of society, the environmental damage caused by planned investments and measures must be made visible in any decision-support material. If the climate transition is delayed, more and more costs will be passed on to society at large in the form of an increasingly unstable climate. This problem was negligible during most of the development of industrialised society, since the size of the population and the extent of the formal economy were limited. Today, the situation is quite different. Climate change is an example of one of the planetary boundaries that humanity risks crossing, with serious consequences for life on earth.

Research can provide more knowledge about how investments and activities within our economies are linked to climate change as well as ways forward to achieve a sustainable economic and financial system. For example, this type of research can involve how to use markets to demonstrate the profitability of climate efforts, or how to adjust economic instruments in order to mitigate climate change. It can also involve economic risks in a changing climate, how economic goals are being weighed against other goals in efforts to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals, and how economic sustainability relates to social and ecological sustainability. What possible goal conflicts can arise? How can they be managed?

All sectors should participate in the transition to a fossil-free society, one that is also resilient to the effects of climate change. Significant investments in a sustainable direction are needed for these purposes, and investments in activities that bring major impacts on the climate or involve major climate risks must be avoided. The financial sector and capital markets must interact with the rest of society’s climate efforts, and the game rules of financial markets should be investigated in light of the climate challenge. The public sector can provide capital to kick start the transition, but the biggest capital flows are needed from the private sector. Research is needed that provides knowledge and recommendations on how these and other necessary investments are to be achieved.

This call is part of the National Climate Research Programme. In the programme’s strategic agenda, “Economic System for a Fossil-Free Society” has been identified as one of six key themes of the programme. The call aims to promote research that is relevant for this theme.

The call aims to increase knowledge about the importance of economic and financial systems and their ability to contribute solutions to climate challenges. The call has two guiding focus areas:

  1. The role of the economy in the climate transition
  2. The financial sector and the climate

These two areas are described below. The examples of research we provide serve as guidance only.

1. The role of the economy in the climate transition

In this focus area, Formas welcomes applications that address the relationship of climate change to the economy in a broad sense. This can involve all or part of an economic system and its consequences for the climate. How can economic decision-making be changed to positively contribute to a future where established climate goals can be achieved? How can different stakeholders use economic drivers for climate neutrality or climate-positive solutions, and what role can policy play in facilitating this? For example, research in this area could address: how climate impact can be integrated into economic decision-making at different levels in society; how non-linear systems, such as possible threshold effects in relation to the climate, can be applied in economic models; how climate-related risks, rights or obligations are distributed among different stakeholders; the importance of applying different methods for assessing investment profitability and their impact on decisions on measures to reduce climate impact; or questions about climate-related taxation. In addition, we welcome applications for research that illustrates past lessons learned from economic incentives and decisions regarding desirable future developments within climate change.

2. The financial sector and the climate

In this focus area, Formas seeks research that focuses on or is relevant to how the financial sector and capital markets can contribute to climate change mitigation or adaptation. For example, such research can generate knowledge about what needs to change in the financial market in order to shift capital flows in a more sustainable direction. Research questions can address how society can counteract investments that negatively affect the chances of achieving climate policy goals, how investments from both the public and private sectors can strengthen society’s climate efforts, or how instruments and other incentives can be designed for a more sustainable financial market. Researchers can also investigate the obstacles currently hampering the transfer of capital in more sustainable directions and how to create incentives for large-scale climate investments. Other possible questions can revolve around how to share risks between the public and the private sector, the risk of assets declining in value, the legal means of enforcing accountability for investments with a high environmental load, or the climate benefit of different actions and measures. Any conflict of goals and potential synergies with other global and national sustainability objectives should be investigated and described.

The proposed research should demonstrate a clear link to climate change and should address emission reductions, climate adaptation or both. In projects where it is considered relevant, we also welcome perspectives that concern one of the four central cross-thematic perspectives identified in the programme’s strategic agenda , 1.5 MB.: globalisation, digitalisation, sustainable development and gender equality.

The main target group for the call is researchers from any scientific discipline who can apply relevant perspectives on how economic and financial systems can contribute to limiting global warming and adapting society to climate change. Formas encourages interaction between researchers and other societal stakeholders outside academia, but it is not a requirement.

Before you apply

The principal applicant and other participating researchers must hold a doctoral degree. Others working in the project, such as PhD students or communicators, do not need to have a doctoral degree. The principal applicant and participating researchers must have completed their doctorate no later than 1 February 2020.

The principal applicant must be (or, through the project, must become) associated with an administrating organisation that has been generally approved by Formas. Generally approved administrating organisations are usually Swedish universities, colleges, research institutes or government agencies with research assignments.

Read more about administrating organisations.

When you apply for project funding, you can apply for a grant to cover both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include costs for salaries, equipment and travel. Indirect costs are costs that are shared with others in your organisation, such as for administration, IT and renting of premises. Indirect costs are sometimes called overhead.

Read carefully about which costs qualify for funding.

The grant amount sought for a project must be at least SEK 3 million and a maximum of SEK 10 million. The project must run for a minimum of 3 years (36 months) and a maximum of four years (48 months).

We recommend that you write your application in English, since the review panel that will assess your application is international. If you write your application in Swedish, we will submit the section relating to the research programme for translation into English before the panel assesses your application.

Applications submitted to Formas become publicly available documents after a decision is announced. However, Formas does not disclose information about an individual’s private circumstances, individual business or operating conditions, inventions or research results if it can be assumed that any individual would be harmed by the disclosure of this information. If applications are requested, Formas conducts a confidentiality assessment.

How to apply

You apply for a grant in our application system, Prisma. In Prisma, you must create a personal account where you will add the information you need for your application. The primary applicant organisation must also have an organisational account.

Read more about how to apply in Prisma.


A webinar with information about the call were held on November 18.

National Research Programme for Climate

This call is part of the National Research Programme for Climate, a ten-year programme initiated by the Swedish Government and run by Formas that brings together those performing the research, those funding the research and stakeholders in society. The programme started in 2017 and will contribute to achieving Sweden's objective to become a fossil fuel-free society and the ambition to be a leading participant in global efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Read more about the National Research Programme for Climate

Research for meeting the challenges of climate change

The strategic agenda for the National Research Programme for Climate identifies a number of key themes and perspectives that together create a framework of priority areas to explore within the research programme.

Read more and download the strategic agenda , 1.5 MB.

Updated:5 November 2020
Page manager: Katarina Buhr