In the annual open call Formas welcomes applications within its three areas of responsibility – Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. The purpose of the call is to enable researchers to address self-identified research needs.
The later two sub-calls are targeted to, and can only by apply by, researchers early in their careers. The purpose of the mobility starting grant is to encourage researchers who have recently been awarded their doctoral degrees to visit new research environments.
Formas funds research for ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development and that can contribute to achieving the global sustainable development goals.
In 2015 the United Nations member countries adopted 17 global sustainable development goals to support and accelerate sustainable development efforts. The goals apply to all countries and levels - global, regional, national and local, and are central to Formas’ areas of responsibility; Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning.
The research that is supported by Formas must be of the highest scientific quality, be of benefit to society in the short-term or long-term and may apply to all levels of society. Formas strives to promote equality between women and men and for the importance of gender and other critical perspectives to be included in the research.
The subject areas of the evaluation panels are inspired by the global sustainable development goals. The panels are also designed to accommodate both the depth and breadth of content in the more than one thousand applications that are submitted to the Formas annual open call. The evaluation panels are therefore broadly defined in order to encompass the various social, economic and environmental objectives within Formas’ areas of responsibility.
The text describing each evaluation panel should only be regarded as a general guide. The applicant formulates their own research questions. There are no strict boundaries between the panels. The same application may be relevant to several panels, but will be evaluated by the panel with reviewers with the most appropriate competence.
The purpose of the descriptive text is to help those submitting annual open call applications to determine which panel, or panels, applications are most applicable to. Equality and gender aspects must be addressed and it should also be stated how the research is relevant for different groups in society.
The panels are comprised of 15-20 reviewers, including both active researchers and experts with experience of using research results. The reviewers have the competence to evaluate social science, humanities, natural science and technical research within Formas’ areas of responsibility. They also evaluate interdisciplinary research (crossing subject boundaries) and transdisciplinary research (bridging research and societal boundaries).
To ensure that the evaluation panel has the competence to review all of the applications, the composition of each respective evaluation panel is not finalised until after all of the applications have been received. If a specific competence should nonetheless be lacking for a particular application the application will be evaluated by members of the other evaluation panels, or by external reviewers.
The evaluation panels appraise and rank the applications. Formas’ Scientific Council then takes the decision on whether to grant or reject funding for the project. The available funding is allocated according to application pressure, or in other words according to the number of applications processed by each respective evaluation panel.