Frequently asked questions and answers

Here you will find frequently asked questions and answers about the call Explore – Formas’ open call for research projects External link..

Time plan for the call

The final call text will be published when the call opens. We will publish more information on the call as the development of the call progresses.

The date for grant decisions is planned for May/June 2025.

The project start date will be 1 September 2025.

Applicant requirements

Career age is here defined as the time that has passed from the day a person has obtained their doctorate to the day the call closes.

To have a career age of four years in this call, the main applicant must have obtained their doctorate no later than 16 October 2020.

No, it does not. In this call, your career age is not affected by time away for parental leave, military service, leave of absence for health reasons, etc.

It is the date you were awarded your certificate and that is on your certificate or diploma.

In order to be main applicant for an application to Explore 2024, all of the following must be true:

  • You have a career age of at least four years.
  • You will be employed at a Swedish higher education institution or research institute, that is approved as administrating organisations for all types of calls at Formas, during the entire project duration and availability period.
  • You are not project leader for a project that is ongoing during 2025 and that has been granted through one of Formas researcher-initiated calls, with the exception of Akutbidrag.
  • You are not the main applicant for another application to Explore 2024.

You may not be the main applicant in this call, if any of the following holds true:

  • You have a career age of less than four years.
  • You will not be employed at a Swedish higher education institution or research institute, that is approved as administrating organisations for all types of calls at Formas, during the entire project duration and availability period.
  • You are project leader for a project that is ongoing during 2025 and that has been granted through one of Formas researcher-initiated calls, with the exception of Akutbidrag.
  • You are the main applicant for another application to Explore 2024.

Project participants are those who contribute to the carrying out of the project. Project participants include main applicant, participating researchers, doctoral students, and other staff. People who are engaged through purchased services do not count as project participants.

Participating researchers are researchers that are the most relevant to the project. Participating researchers are invited to the application via Prisma. Only the main applicant and participating researchers can add their CV:s to the application.

Participating researchers need to have obtained their doctorate when the call closes, at the latest.

No, you may only invite researchers based at higher education institutions or research institutes. Researchers who work and are employed at companies or other types of organisations cannot be invited as participating researchers or project participants. Funds for such researchers cannot be included in the budget for the grant you apply for.

It is however possible to include such researchers in the project if they are funded through other sources, such as in-kind funding. But they can still not be invited as participating researchers.

Yes, you can apply for funding for doctoral students. You can apply for funding for salaries, running costs, premises, and indirect costs. You may include funds for annual salary increases.

Other staff includes people who contribute to the project but that has not obtained a doctorate. It could, for example, be research assistants, laboratory assistants, technicians, etc. In Prisma, this category of project participants is called “Other personnel without doctoral degree”.

Yes, research services, technical knowledge, consulting services and corresponding services can be purchased within the project. These should be purchased or licensed from external actors on market terms and be used exclusively for the project. Purchased services are reported as running costs in the budget. Purchased services must be reported excluding VAT. Specify running costs in accordance with practices at the administrating organisation. The needed competence and forms of participation of the person or persons engaged through purchased services must be described in the budget specification of the application.

You do not have to be employed at your administrating organisation at the time of application, but you must be employed when the grant period begins and then throughout the grant period and during any additional availability period.

Yes, you may be a participating researcher even though you are not employed at a higher education institution or research institute when the application is submitted. But you must be employed when the grant period begins and then throughout the grant period and during any additional availability period. It is important that the application clearly states what higher education institution or research institute you will be employed at, when you carry out the research funded by the applied grant.

Yes, you can be the main applicant as long as you are employed at a Swedish higher education institution or research institute when the grant period begins and then throughout the grant period and during any additional availability period. It is important that the application clearly states what higher education institution or research institute you will be employed at, when you carry out the research funded by the applied grant.

What can I apply for and how much can I apply for?

This is determined by Formas’ instruction (Ordinance 2009:1024). This states that Formas is to promote and support basic research and needs-driven research in the areas of the environment, agricultural sciences, and spatial planning.

No, the assessment of whether an application falls within Formas' areas of responsibility or not is made only on registered applications. In your application, you will need to describe how your project contributes to Formas’ areas of responsibility. In the assessment of whether or not a project falls within Formas’ areas of responsibility we will depart from this description.

If you are unsure of whether or not your project idea falls within Formas' areas of responsibility, we recommend that you engage a colleague and asks them to read your application as a critical friend. You can also get in touch with the Grant’s Office or similar function at your organisation.

No, the project duration is set to 48 months in this call.

Yes. In the budget you can add the salary increase per year or as an average. Explain how you have calculated the salary increase in the budget specification.

No, co-financing is not required in this call.

Restrictions – other project grants

You may be the main applicant in both calls in 2024, provided you fulfil the eligibility criteria.

If you are the main applicant for an application that is granted funding in the Career grant 2024 and have submitted an application as main applicant to Explore, you need to withdraw one of these applications.

You can only be the main applicant for one application in Explore.

It is not permitted to submit the same or similar application with different main applicants. All registered applications with similar content will be rejected.

Yes, you may be participating researcher in more than one application. However, Formas cannot fund a researcher more than 100 percent of a full-time position.

You may not be the main applicant under Explore if you are the project manager for an ongoing project granted in one of Formas researcher-initiated calls that has a grant period that includes 2025.

A project is considered ongoing during the years when funds are being paid out from Formas.

Formas’ researcher-initiated calls include:

  • Mobility grant for early-career researchers.
  • The Annual open call – both Research projects and Research projects for early-career researchers.
  • The Career grant for early-career researchers.
  • Explore – Formas’ open call for research projects.

Applications where the project manager has an ongoing project from one of Formas’ researcher-initiated calls and a grant period that includes 2025 will be rejected.

A project is considered ongoing during its grant period, i.e. the years when funds are being paid out from Formas. If the grant period has passed but the availability period runs during 2025, you may be main applicant under Explore 2024.

Yes. Prolonging a project does not affect the grant period. A prolongation only affects the availability period, i.e. the period during which you as project manager may use the funds.

In Formas’ decision you find which calendar years the project funds will be paid out and how long the funds are available.

The document (Godkännande av villkor in Swedish), which the main applicant (project leader) received in Prisma when the grant decision was taken, contains information about the type of call “inriktning” and type of grant “bidragsform” under which the project was funded. It also states the grant period’s end date (bidragsperiod, in Swedish). An ongoing project grant in 2024 means that the project has a grant period (bidragsperiod in Swedish) in 2024. See the examples below.

To find “Godkännande av villkor” in Prisma, follow these steps:

  1. In Prisma, open the Applications and grants tab in your account.
  2. In the left-hand menu, click “Grants”.
  3. Under “Granted applications”, access the current project by clicking “Details”.
  4. Under “Signing”, click Download to download the “Approval of terms” (Godkännande av villkor, in Swedish).

Weave

Yes, Explore is connected to Weave.

No, you can only be the main applicant for one application under Explore. This applies regardless of whether you are applying for a Weave project or not.

Assessment and rate of approval

In the Annual open call, the submitted applications were sorted into ten thematic review panels. In this call, the review panels will be formed inductively, also called bottom-up, based on the submitted applications.

There are several reasons to why we are changing the review panels. One reason is to create better conditions to assess projects addressing issues the intersection of different fields of knowledge and subject matters. Another reason is that the previous review panels did not in a satisfying way represent the full extent of research within Formas’ areas of responsibility. A third reason is to avoid structures that risk steering and restraining research. By forming review panels inductively, these can better adapt to the research front.

Each review panel consists of active researchers and users of research results. Each application is read and reviewed by at least four reviewers.

In each review panel there will be broad competence that covers all of Formas’ areas of responsibility, disciplines, and combinations of disciplines such as multi- and interdisciplinary research.

The applications submitted in Formas open calls often show a striking diversity when it comes to subject matters, study objects, theory, and method. For the review panel to match this diversity, we need to use reviewers that are primarily experts within a field of knowledge rather than experts on a specific study object, theory, or method. You should therefore write your application so that someone with generalist knowledge, skills, and experience within you field of study will understand what you want to do and why.

Explore allows for larger and longer projects than the Annual open call, which means that the rate of approval can be expected to be significantly lower. This is despite of the fact that Formas has added extra funds to the call. If the new call receives the same number of applications as the Research project grant in the Annual open call in 2023, the rate of approval will be approximately 8 percent. There are, however, indications that the number of applications will be higher than that, with an even lower rate of approval as a result.

Responsible use of AI

We do not prohibit you from using generative AI when developing or writing your application. Also, you do not have to state whether you have used generative AI.

However, you need to be vigilant. Generative AI can plagiarize both itself and other texts without stating the source. Generative AI can also “hallucinate”, i.e. make up facts that are incorrect and references that don’t exist. AI also tends to reproduce different forms of bias, for example regarding sex and gender.

As applicant, you are responsible for ensuring that all content in the application is correct.

The European Commission, along with the countries and stakeholders represented in the European Research Area, ERA, Forum has taken the initiative to develop Living guidelines on the responsible use of generative AI in research External link.. Formas’ supports the guidelines and recommends that they are used by researchers, research institutions, and funders of research.

Formas’ Annual open call

The Annual open call, together with the Mobility grant, has been reworked to form two new calls: the call for Career Grants for Early-career Researchers and Explore – Formas’ open call for research projects.

Contact Person

Updated:1 July 2024
Page manager: Josefin Wangel