Designed living environment – architecture, form, design, art and cultural heritage in public spaces


Research projects that create new knowledge about the designed living environment.


Higher education institutions and research institutes, as well as companies (except sole proprietors), organisations and municipalities. The project team must have both professional artistic and research expertise. Special regulations on provisions on de minimis aid External link. are applied for private companies in this call.


You can apply for a grant for projects that run for up to four years. The maximum funding for a four-year project is four million SEK.

Given decision: 2020-09-23 11:15


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

In a joint venture with the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, ArkDes, the Swedish National Heritage Board, and Public Arts Agency Sweden, Formas is announcing grants to fund four-year research projects for a total of 4 million kronor per project. The research should highlight the aesthetic perspectives and the role of public art in sustainable public architecture and design.

The scope of this call is the design of public spaces and the importance of art in the development of a more socially inclusive, sustainable society and thus covers architecture, form, design and cultural heritage. Formas is responsible for implementing the call within the national programme for sustainable spatial planning External link. and this call relates primarily to the programme’s theme “Sustainable residential and public environments”.

As one of the few countries in the world, Sweden has had a comprehensive policy since 2018 for what has been termed a designed living environment. Simply put, this involves everything around us: for example, residential buildings, schools and hospitals, and public spaces with their parks, streets and squares. The goal is clear: the designed living environment – architecture, form, design, public art and cultural heritage – must contribute to a sustainable, equal and less segregated society that everyone gets the chance to help create.

This means that public spaces should clearly include art, architecture cultural heritage and design, which should all strive to foster social relationships. A knowledge and understanding of how to design human environments is translated into practice early on in the spatial planning process and in the ongoing planning or construction process. When different art forms and artistic expressions are included in the design of common spaces, they can enrich and add new perspectives to the development of and changes to urban areas as well as in rural areas.

The interest in developing public art is growing in many urban development processes, in which municipal, state and private stakeholders are renovating existing environments or building completely new areas. Public art includes all forms of contemporary art that appear in public spaces. In these processes, many artists are engaged in developing and reformulating the definition of public art. An artistic perspective in the spatial planning process can pose major challenges in organising complex and sometimes conflicting interests into a holistic solution. One starting point for addressing the complexity of public design, in which the public sector, private sector, academia and civil society all play a role, is the ability to form cross-sectoral perspectives and to see the bigger picture.

Read more at ArkDes External link. Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning External link. Formas External link. Swedish National Heritage Board External link. Public Arts Agency Sweden External link. and Policy for Designed Living Environment External link.

The call intends to fund research projects that generate new knowledge about public architecture and design. The call aims to highlight the aesthetic perspectives and the role of public art in relation to architecture, form, design and cultural heritage in the creation of sustainable living environments.

The goal of the call is to fund projects that will create new knowledge needed to achieve the national policy objectives for a designed living environment, culture and cultural heritage. In addition, the research results should contribute knowledge to the UN’s new Urban Agenda (see, for example, paragraphs 37-39, 53 and 100) and SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) in Agenda 2030. Each individual project must clarify how the project relates to one or more of these goals.

Applicants can choose one or both of the following focus areas:

  • The aesthetic perspectives and the values of the role of public art in a sustainable designed living environment.
  • The development and understanding of cross-sectoral working methods and new methods in the artistic design of public spaces for sustainable living environments.

The call is targeted to multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary project teams. The project team must include at least one researcher who holds a PhD – other participants do not need to have a PhD. The project teams must consist of at least two persons: a project manager and a project participant. The project manager may hold a PhD but does not have to. Project teams can have a maximum of five project partners (see instructions below). The project team can consist of academic and art researchers, artists, antiquarians, architects, designers and other professions.

Before you apply

NOTE: This application procedure differs from Formas’ regular calls for research projects, such as the Annual Open Call.

Download the call text as pdf , 278.4 kB.. (Revised 2020-04-28)

The call is aimed at project teams that can consist of a project manager and participants from different project parties, such as higher education institutions and research institutes, as well as public-sector organisations and private companies.

  • At least two but no more than five project parties must be part of the project team.

In order to secure both the scientific and the aesthetic quality of the output, we require that the project team has the following expertise:

  • At least one person with documented professional artistic qualifications must be part of the project team. At least one researcher with a PhD degree must be part of the project.
  • The project manager does not need to have a PhD.

Project managers must have a personal account in our application system, Prisma, so that they can submit the project team’s application. You apply in Prisma External link. for a personal account.

The call welcomes applicants from both generally approved administrating organisations in Prisma (higher education institutions and research institutes) as well as private companies and other organisations. For companies and other organisations engaged in economic activity that apply for a grant, special rules on de minimis aid apply.

Applicants assume the role of either administrating organisation (coordinating project party) or participating project party. In this call, the administrating organisation and the project party enter an agreement concerning the implementation and financing of the project. Copies of these agreements are sent to Formas following any decision on project funding. (See state aid regulations for companies and other organisations engaged in economic activity External link.)

  • The administrating organisation is a coordinating project party that manages the application for all project parties in Prisma, via the project manager.
  • The administrating organisation is the organisation that receives and manages the grant funds that Formas pays out to an awarded project.
  • The administrating organisation distributes the funds from Formas to other project parties in accordance with Formas’ decision.

  • Only the administrating organisation (the coordinating project party) needs to have an organisation account in Prisma. In most cases, higher education institutions and research institutes already have an organisation account in Prisma.
  • If a company or other for-profit organisation already has an account in Prisma and is specifically “Approved for individual calls” by Formas, the organisation account manager must contact the responsible research officer Anna Kuznetcova or Pernilla Hjerth Elgström. The organisation account can then be linked to this call.
  • If the coordinating project party does not have an account in Prisma, a representative of the organisation (organisation account manager) must apply for an organisation account on Prisma’s website External link. in good time before submitting the grant application. A project manager who will submit an application cannot be the organisation account manager. It may take a few weeks to get the application for an account approved. Specify in the reason for applying for an organisation account that you want to apply under the call “Designed living environment”. Also state whether the applying organisation is a higher education institution, research institute, non-profit association, or private company or other organisation engaged in economic activity.
  • IMPORTANT: The organisation account manager must create a structure for his or her organisation and indicate a domicile after being informed that the organisation account is assigned.

When the project parties, via the coordinating party, apply for project funding, the project parties can apply for funds to cover both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include costs for salaries, equipment and travel. Indirect costs are costs that are shared with other business activities in your organisation, such as for administration, IT and renting of premises. Indirect costs are also referred to as overhead costs.

Project grants can cover a maximum of 1 million kronor per year for a maximum of four years. Projects must start no later than 1 November 2020.

We recommend that you write your application in English, since the review panel that will assess your application is international. You can write your application in Swedish, but it will then be translated into English prior to assessment. In this case, you will not be able to see the translation before it proceeds to the assessment. The budget specification will not be translated. Read more about the language for applications to Formas External link..

According to Swedish law, your application and its appendices are considered as general public documents once they have been submitted to us. This means that anyone can request and read your application. Before we disclose any applications we always conduct a confidentiality assessment, but we can only hide information as legislated for in the Public Access and Secrecy Act (2009:400).

How to apply

Basic information

  • Number of months applied for

Maximum 48 months.

  • Start month

November 2020.

  • Project title

Maximum 2,000 characters, including spaces, each in Swedish and English.

  • Popular science description (Swedish)

Maximum 3,000 characters, including spaces. The popular science description should be able to be used in Formas’ project database, which allows the general public and the media to see which projects Formas has funded.

  • Abstracts (Swedish and English)

Maximum 1,500 characters per abstract, including spaces. A concise and clear description of the project concept, proposed collaboration, and the project concept’s potential to develop public architecture and design.

Project description

Note the review panel’s criteria on page 15 for each of the following three parts of the project description.

  • Project description (Research question, problem description, objectives and purpose)

Maximum 5,000 characters, including spaces. Describe the objectives and purpose of the project and why it is important to conduct the project. Describe and justify how your research results are expected to achieve the selected relevant goals of the call (see page 6).

  • Project description (Implementation and organisation of the research project)

Maximum 5,000 characters, including spaces. Describe how you will conduct the study and indicate the selected focus area or areas. Describe the contribution of participating stakeholders to the study’s implementation. Describe how the project will be conducted from a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective, and the role of participants in the implementation. Describe the capabilities of the participants in relation to the study’s implementation.

  • Project description (Societal benefits and communication)

Maximum 5,000 characters, including spaces. Describe the potential benefits to society during the project’s implementation and its expected results. Justify how the research project can help create knowledge about public architecture and design. Also describe the stakeholders and target groups whom you expect to benefit from the results. Describe and justify the communication efforts planned and which stakeholders and users are relevant.

Budget and other information

The coordinating party puts the application together using information from its own organisation and from the other participating project parties. At least two and a maximum of five project parties can be indicated. Depending on the organisational affiliations of the parties, different rules apply for funding the project costs of the parties. The total amount sought for all participating project parties cannot exceed 4 million kronor.

Information on the administrating organisation and other project parties

This information is mandatory for all project parties and must unfortunately be manually typed in by the responsible person at the administrating organisation into Prisma. This person must also type this information manually for his or her own organisation.

  • Name of the organisation
  • Corporate identity number
  • Address, postal code, city, country
  • Annual turnover (the total sales or turnover of the higher education institution, research institute, company or organisation during the previous fiscal year), stated using digits. Example: 3 500 000.
  • Balance sheet total (the sum of either the assets page or liabilities and equity from the company’s or organisation’s balance sheet), stated using digits. Example: 5 500 000.
  • Number of employees
  • Contact person
  • E-mail of contact person
  • Name of the workplace, address, postal code, city and country where most of the work will be carried out.

Costs for the participating project party

  • Staff expenses. Eligible staff expenses for companies and other organisations conducting economic activity may be estimated at a maximum of 800 kronor per hour. Higher education institutions or research institutes are not subject to this limitation. Note that the total salary amount for a single artist, researcher, PhD student or other staff must not exceed 100 percent of full-time employment. Formas does not grant funding for annual salary increases.
  • Equipment, land and buildings. The total maximum amount you can be granted for equipment and equipment depreciation costs is 500,000 kronor.
  • Consultancy and licensing costs, etc. For the costs of consultancy services and licenses to be eligible for funding, they must be purchased or licensed from external actors at market prices, and their services and scope must be stated in the project description.
  • Other direct costs. Other direct costs can include the cost of consumables, travel, conferences and publication fees for open-access journals and databases.
  • Indirect costs (overhead). Higher education institutions and research institutes may charge a markup for indirect costs according to the applicable full-cost pricing method. Other project parties may charge a markup for indirect costs of up to 30 percent of their eligible staff expenses.

Funding for the participating project party

There are four types of funding an applicant can specify in the application:

  1. Requested grant from Formas: Indicates the amount requested from Formas under the call. The amount cannot exceed the total costs. If the amount sought is less than the total costs, the remaining amounts will be automatically calculated and reported under “Self-funding”.
  2. Other aid (state): If Formas or another public funder contributes funding for related research projects.
  3. Other aid (private): If another private company or organisation contributes funding to the project.
  4. Self-funding: If the project party contributes its own funding, this is calculated automatically and displayed in the field for self-funding. However, self-funding is optional in this call.

State aid regulations for companies and other organisations engaged in economic activity

Private companies and other organisations engaged in economic activity that want to apply for grants from Formas must follow specific regulations on state aid. The regulations are based on the principle of EU law, which states that aid to private enterprises normally distorts competition but that certain exemptions are allowed.

In this call, only de minimis aid provisions apply for the project parties seeking funding. The maximum de minimis aid Formas can grant is 200,000 euros over a period of three consecutive fiscal years. Any de minimis aid received by a company or organisation must be totalled and reported. If the recipient (in this call, a project party) is part of a group of companies, all aid within the group should be totalled. (Aid granted under the European Commission’s block exemption regulation should not be included in your total.)

Formas will, following its decision on aid, ask project parties that are subject to de minimis aid rules to complete a special form.

The Formas website contains more information about state aid regulations External link..

Justification of budgeted staff expenses for participating project parties

Here, you specify the average hourly rate for budgeted staff expenses. Staff expenses refer to salaries including social security contributions and other mandatory charges associated with salaries.

You can apply for funding to cover salaries for researchers, artists, PhD students and technical staff. Social security contributions and other mandatory fees should be included. Formas does not grant funding for annual salary increases. You can therefore apply for funding for salaries that apply at the time of the application, but not for funding to cover salary increases. For any current job positions, you must state the salary in effect at the time of the application submission. This will then apply to all subsequent years in the project. For new job positions you must state the starting salary at the administrating organisation. The total salary amount you can receive for a single researcher, artist, PhD student or other staff must not exceed 100 percent of full-time employment. This also means that someone who is already receiving full salary funding from another funder cannot receive additional funding for salary. Researchers who are full-time pensioners cannot receive funding for their own salary.

Justification of the budget for all project parties

Here, you specify further information by explaining the budget in your own words. Explain the overhead costs in the application according to the practice of the higher education institution or public organisation that is the project party. You can also indicate whether you will have consulting costs, which consultant will be engaged and the scope of the consultant’s participation. Also indicate which project party or parties is responsible for the consulting costs. Formas does not grant funding for overhead costs that you write off for equipment or premises (maximum 2,000 characters, including spaces).

Ethical considerations

Fill in only if relevant for completing the project. You must describe the relevant ethical issues and how they will be managed. Examples include research that uses personal data, or experiments on humans or animals.


Formas uses project classifications in internal analyses and supporting documentation on an overall level. The classifications are made when the applicant states the subject area, SCB codes and at least one sustainable development goal the project can contribute to.

  • Subject area

Select the project’s subject area and add a sub-heading.

  • SCB code

Select at least one SCB code with two sub-levels that together form the entire code.

  • Keywords

Select at least one and a maximum of three keywords describing the project. Choose what best represents your project, even if it does not entirely match the field you work in.

  • Sustainable development goals

Select a minimum of one and a maximum of three SDGs that fit your project.

Mandatory appendices

CVs of project participants

Add the CVs of project participants to the application as a single PDF attachment (maximum size 10 MB). We recommend a maximum length of two A4 pages for each CV. It is therefore not possible to link to CVs that are already uploaded to Prisma, which is often possible in grant calls for research projects. This is done to enable an equal assessment of applications and CVs from different types of organisations.

The CV should contain:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Other relevant merits and qualifications that support the expertise of the project’s participants.

Publications of participants

Upload a relevant list of publications (scientific or popular science) for each project participant as a PDF file under “Other appendices” (maximum size 4 MB). You cannot link to Prisma’s publication module in this call.

Optional appendices

It is also possible to upload appendices that can aid in understanding the project, such as illustrations, images or sketches. Upload any appendices as PDF files (maximum size 10 MB).

Administrating organisations

  • Select your administrating organisation (see the section on administrating organisations and coordinating project parties above).
  • Choose the relevant domicile of your organisation.

Review panel


After submitting your application

A registered application is automatically sent to the administrating organisation after the call is closed. The administrating organisation then has seven calendar days to digitally sign the application in Prisma.

Prior to any decision, Formas conducts credit checks on all companies and other organisations engaged in economic activity that may be relevant to the awarding of a grant.

First, we verify whether application falls within Formas’ areas of responsibility and the scope of the call. If it does not, it is rejected.

Any applications containing errors in basic requirements will be rejected. Any of the following errors in basic requirements will result in a rejection of your application:

  • The administrating organisation has not signed the application.
  • The total amount sought is too high.
  • The application is incomplete. Required information is missing on the application form or in the appendices.
  • The application does not meet the requirements set out in the call text.

Formas verifies whether an applicant received funding earlier but did not submit their scientific or financial report on time. These applicants are invited to submit their reports before new funding can be granted.

How does the assessment process work?

Applications will be assessed by an international review panel that is qualified to cover the theme of this call. Applications are assessed based on their contents. It is therefore important to write the application as clearly as possible and include all important and relevant information. Each application is read and assessed by several members of the panel. The review panel is composed of active researchers as well as individuals outside academia. The panel is qualified to assess the research excellence and implementation, the societal benefit, and communication with stakeholders or users. Most of the panel members for this call are artists and researchers. The panel members have the expertise required to assess research applications within architecture, art, the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and engineering sciences, and can also review multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The review panel is appointed by Formas. Read more about Formas’ assessment process External link..

Criteria for assessing the applications

The following gives an overview of the criteria used to assess applications. The application must address all the criteria, and we advise applicants to clearly relate their application to these criteria. Each criterion will be scored by the review panel on a scale of 1–7, where 1 is the lowest and 7 is the highest. All criteria are equally important.

  • Research question
    • The research topic is relevant in relation to the purpose of the call.
    • The challenge that the project addresses is an important one to solve.
    • Statements, theories or hypotheses underpin the question in relation to the purpose.
  • Methods and implementation
    • The selected method is clearly described, appropriate to the topic and feasible to implement.
    • Any multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approach is clearly described and fit for purpose.
    • Ethical considerations are described well, and the applicant’s plan for managing them is appropriate.
    • The project addresses gender equality and diversity perspectives in a relevant way.
    • Coordination of the project and research group is clearly described and fit for purpose.
    • The timetable and budget are reasonable in relation to the project’s objectives.
    • The work plan is well-defined and realistic.
    • Risks are analysed and reasonable alternatives described.
    • The plan for publishing research results and disseminating information is well-defined and realistic.
  • Organisation and skills
    • The project team has the skills and experience required to complete the project.
    • The elements of interdisciplinary research and stakeholder collaboration are clearly explained and carefully considered.
    • The cooperation and collaboration that will be developed in your project are fit for purpose in relation to the project’s objectives and purpose.
    • The composition of the project team reflects the distribution of genders, skills, experience and different perspectives on public architecture and design.
    • The project promotes the exchange of experiences and increased expertise in the field of public architecture and design.
  • Societal benefit
    • The project has the potential to contribute to significant innovation in the evolution of public architecture and design.
    • The project has the potential to contribute to the creation of new knowledge about public architecture and design.
    • The project relates to one or more of the objectives described on page 6 of the call text.
    • In the project’s design, relevant consideration is given to the needs of stakeholders or users.
  • Communication with stakeholders or users
    • There is clearly defined plan for communication initiatives.
    • Stakeholders or users who will be involved are relevant to the project’s objectives.
    • Plans for the involvement of stakeholders or users are realistic.
    • The project team has the skills required to carry out the activities planned for communication or interaction with stakeholders or users.

Results from research funded by Formas must be published using open access. Read more about our requirements for open access External link. to research results and data.

The projects that are granted funding must develop a data management plan for the data produced in the project. By signing our grant terms and conditions, you certify that a data management plan will be available before the research begins and that it will be maintained.

Formas’ Scientific Council is expected to reach a decision in September 2020 concerning which projects will be awarded a grant. Decisions will be announced the following day at the latest on Formas’ website and later sent via email from Prisma. Grant award decisions cannot be appealed. Read more about Formas’ general terms and conditions for awarded grants. External link.

Kick-off for awarded projects

Project members with awarded projects will be invited to a kick-off in winter 2020.

Each project that is awarded funding must submit a report to Formas containing a financial and a popular scientific summary in accordance with the decision. Read more about the reporting requirements External link..

Formas may impose requirements on how projects must be reported in terms of content and results to enable distribution and application. In such cases, the award decision will contain more information about this. Formas may also require you to participate in conferences and similar events in order to create synergies and platforms for learning and knowledge sharing.

Project reporting will also take place at a mid-year seminar and a final seminar.


A digital application is submitted in the Prisma application system External link.. Guidelines and information about what your application should contain can be found in the call text.

Download the call text as pdf , 278.4 kB.. , 308.5 kB.(Revised 2020-04-28)

Information meeting about the call

On Tuesday, 24 March, the Public Arts Agency Sweden will host an information meeting about the call about the call at ArkDes in Stockholm. The meeting will be broadcast online.

Q&A Information day , 161.6 kB.

Contact information

For questions about the content of the call

For administrative questions and questions about Prisma

For questions about budget, funding and de minimis aid

Updated:5 November 2020
Page manager: Kristina Laurell