To strengthen Sweden’s efforts around climate change adaptation, we implement a call for research projects on cross-cutting challenges and measures related to adaptation. The call is being announced as an initiative under the Swedish National Research Programme on Climate.
Tangible effects of climate change are already being experienced around the world. These effects include gradual changes as a result of a globally rising average temperature, as well as the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts, storms and torrential rains. These changes and events have direct effects where they occur, but they can also impact other areas, for example through various ecological, social and economic relationships and interconnected systems. Such cross-cutting challenges occur at different levels within and between nations and societies.
This call for research projects aims to increase the knowledge on cross-cutting challenges and measures in climate adaptation work. Cross-cutting challenges refer to those that take place across geographical boundaries between and within countries as well as administrative boundaries between different actors in society – in both the public and private sectors and civil society. The proposal must describe how the project will contribute towards managing one or more of the cross-cutting challenges within climate adaptation efforts. The conducted research does not have to be limited to studying Swedish conditions but should have the potential to further develop and improve Swedish work on climate adaptation.
The call is aimed at researchers affiliated with a Swedish higher education institution, a research institute, or a government agency with a research mandate. The main and co-applicant researchers must have obtained a PhD. In addition, it addresses researchers from different subject areas, with different scientific perspectives and approaches. Multi- and inter-disciplinary collaborations are encouraged but are not a requirement.
The call is being announced as an initiative under the National Research Programme on Climate External link..
Tangible effects of climate change are already being experienced around the world. These effects include gradual changes as a result of a globally rising average temperature, as well as the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts, storms and torrential rains. These changes and events have direct effects where they occur, but they can also impact other areas through various ecological, social and economic relationships and interconnected systems. Such cross-cutting challenges occur at different levels within and between nations and societies.
One form of cross-cutting challenges refers to how the global consequences of climate change are experienced by an individual country. Sweden’s 2018 National Strategy for Climate Adaptation discusses this by making a distinction between direct and indirect effects of climate change. In this strategy, the government emphasises that the international dimensions of climate change can constitute at least as significant challenges for Sweden as the direct consequences. These indirect effects of climate change are sometimes referred to as international dimensions of climate change, transnational effects, or transnational dependencies.
The Swedish National Expert Council for Climate Adaptation emphasises the importance of transnational dependencies towards understanding Sweden’s vulnerabilities in a changing climate. They discuss areas such as food, water, energy, value chains and migration. The paths of influence are often complex and multiple. In order to deal with transnational climate effects, emphasis is often placed on the importance of integrated measures linked to trade, finance, aid, international disaster preparedness and security policy, among others.
Despite the expected significance of the international dimensions of climate change effects, these have had a relatively marginal place in Swedish climate adaptation work. There is thus a significant need for knowledge regarding transnational climate effects, which pays attention to international system dependencies, the interplay between different kinds of vulnerabilities, as well as rapid and gradual effects of climate change.
Another form of cross-cutting challenges places focus on the administrative boundaries and the importance of cross-sectoral perspectives. Despite cross-sectoral perspectives having been highlighted as important, studies show that Swedish climate adaptation work has focused on challenges and measures within specific sectors or actors’ geographical areas of responsibility (e.g., municipalities and county administrative boards). The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute’s (SMHI) reviews of climate adaptation work also shows the tendency that organisations’ work has focused on challenges already experienced and thereby already been affected by. Few studies address transnational effects of climate change or cross-sectoral challenges.
Besides posing questions about system boundaries and methods of analysis, cross-cutting challenges also poses questions of values and priorities, as well as responsibilities, mandates and financing. Furthermore, there are complex links between climate adaptation, emission reductions and other sustainability goals, and a need to analyse the consequences of climate adaptation measures – in other parts of society and elsewhere in the world.
Holistic thinking, cross-sectoral perspectives and proactive work are required to advance Swedish climate adaptation work. By focusing on cross-cutting challenges, which includes geographical boundaries within and between countries as well as administrative boundaries between actors, society’s efforts to adapt to a changing climate can be improved.
The purpose of this call is to increase the knowledge on cross-cutting challenges and measures in climate adaptation work. The call emphasises the importance of a holistic approach to climate adaptation work, as well as how cross-cutting risks, relationships and dependencies challenge and can be managed in societies. The conducted research does not have to be limited to studying Swedish conditions but should have the potential to further develop and improve Swedish work on climate adaptation.
The proposals must clearly describe how the project contributes to the purpose of the call and how it is relevant to its scope by detailing (1) which cross-cutting challenge(s) the project will focus on, and (2) how the project will contribute to Swedish climate adaptation work.
Some examples of areas in need of increased knowledge are included below. They are not comprehensive, and the areas are often also linked.
One area pertains to how transnational effects of climate change impacts ecological and societal systems. For example, knowledge is needed regarding the ways in which climate change affects the production, distribution and logistics of goods and services, how value chains and the global market are affected by a changing climate, or how climate change impacts migration and mobility, peace and security, and health issues.
Another area concerns the different types of vulnerabilities that Sweden has as a country, as well as those experienced by individual regions, activities and social groups. For example, research can make a contribution to how cross-cutting challenges are analysed, evaluated, prioritised and managed within public and private organisations, as well as to understanding what driving forces and obstacles exist for mobilising funding and implementing climate adaptation measures that address challenges affecting many parts of society simultaneously or for risks not yet materialised.
A third area focuses on the mutual interplay between climate adaptation measures and society’s other climate work, as well as how climate adaptation measures in Sweden can impact other countries and vice versa. Projects can, for example, contribute to increasing knowledge on the consequences of climate adaptation measures in a specific area or place in other sectors – or places – and how these can be handled.
The call is expected to be able to finance a broad repertoire of projects that can strengthen societies’ ability to adapt to a changing climate and contribute to long-term sustainable development. In addition, it addresses researchers from different subject areas, with different scientific perspectives and approaches. We welcome multi- and inter-disciplinary collaborations, but this is not a requirement. This call also seeks to promote long-term knowledge building on cross-cutting challenges. Applicants are asked to plan for activities that can support this, which may involve doctoral students, postdocs as well as efforts to strengthen connections to higher education. However, this is also not a requirement to be able to obtain financing. Depending on the project’s research question, collaboration with societal actors is also relevant. Thus, a plan for stakeholder and user involvement and dialogue in relation to said question, should be formulated.
The call is being announced as an initiative under the Swedish National Research Programme on Climate.
The call is aimed at researchers affiliated with a Swedish higher education institution, research institute, or a government agency with a research mandate. In addition, it addresses researchers from different subject areas, with different scientific perspectives and approaches. We welcome multi- and inter-disciplinary collaborations, but this is not a requirement. The main and co-applicant researcher must have obtained a PhD no later than the closing of the call.
Formas strives for an equitable, gender-balanced and inclusive development of society. Applicants should therefore design their project so that the findings can be of benefit to diverse people and groups. When composing the project team, gender balance and inclusion of individuals from different backgrounds should be accounted for. However, this will not be a part of the application assessment at this time.
Any changes to the call text will be listed below Revision history.
Before you apply
All information on what should be included in your proposal, as well as the application and assessment processes is included in the sections below.
Grants in this call can only be administered by a Swedish university, institution of higher education, research institute, government agency with a research mandate, or other organisation that primarily engages in research.
To apply for a grant in this call, the following criteria must be met:
- The main applicant has completed their PhD degree by the time the call closes.
- Participating researchers have completed their PhD degree by the time the call closes. Other staff involved in the project do not need to have a PhD degree.
- The proposed grant recipient is stated as the project manager on the application.
- There is no upper age limit for the principal applicant and participating researchers. However, full-time retired researchers are not eligible to receive funding for salaries without first reducing their pension by the corresponding percentage.
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 those shared with others in your organisation, such as administration, IT and renting of premises. Indirect costs are sometimes referred to as overhead.
Formas’ grants can be used to fund research where certain parts are conducted by researchers or other project participants employed at a foreign university or research institute. However, the research must be initiated in and led from Sweden. In addition, the administrating organisation must be located in Sweden, be approved by Formas and, when necessary, is responsible for hiring and paying for any foreign staff, activities or services in accordance with the administrating organisation’s guidelines. Foreign participation in the project must be limited, well-defined and clearly justified in the project proposal.
You can seek funding for projects that run for 3-4 years, with a maximum budget of 12 million SEK per project. The total budget for this call is up to 120 million SEK.
You should write your application in English, since the review panel consists of international reviewers. If you choose to write your application in Swedish, only the section describing the research programme will be translated by a professional translator. You will not be able to see or change the translated text before the proposal proceeds to assessment by the review panel. The popular science description must, however, be written in Swedish, while the abstract should be in both Swedish and English. The budget specification and your CV will not be translated. So, please write these in English, even if you write otherwise in Swedish and submit the application in the Swedish version of the application system.
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. Information can only be concealed if declared confidential, as defined in the Public Access to Information and Confidentiality Act (2009:400).
Formas has limited possibilities to keep personal data confidential. Therefore, your proposal should not contain the personal data of anyone who is not included in the application.
The popular science description and project abstracts written in both Swedish and English will, if the project is awarded funding, be published in open-access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of these sections should not contain sensitive information.
We at Formas are eager to fund projects that maximises positive impacts and minimises negative impacts on the environment and climate. Therefore, we encourage grant applicants to design their projects so that collaboration takes place primarily through online meetings and that any necessary travels are as climate-smart as possible. We also suggest that measures for minimising energy use and other resource consumption, emissions and waste are included in your project planning. However, this will not be part of the assessment of your application.
How to apply
You apply in Prisma
You apply for a grant in our application system, Prisma. This is where you enter all necessary information. To do this, you need to create an account.
Limits regarding maximum number of characters refers to all types, including spaces. We recommend that you use Arial font in size 12 for all information you enter into the text boxes. If you are copying text from another program, please ensure all text is included when previewing your application.
Your application must include a clear description of the project under the following sections:
- Number of months for which the application applies.
- Project title in both Swedish and English (max. 200 characters each, including spaces)
- Popular science description in Swedish (max. 4,500 characters including spaces). If the research project is awarded a grant, this will be published within open-access databases without a confidentiality review. The contents of this field should, therefore, not contain any sensitive information.
- Abstract in Swedish and English (max. 1,500 characters each, including spaces). If granted funding, project abstracts will be published in open-access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of these sections should not contain sensitive information.
- Goals and objectives of the project, as well as a background section containing an overview of the research area (max. 7,000 characters including spaces).
- Project description, which describes the project’s structure, theory, methodology, implementation, as well as a plan for publication in a scientific journal and communication of results (max. 15,000 characters including spaces).
Include the following points if you consider them relevant to the project:
- Brief description of existing and future need for new basic equipment
- Brief description of national and international partnerships
- Confirmation of compliance with international agreements and regulations
- Principal supervisor, if funding is sought for a PhD student
- Description of the project’s potential societal benefits and relevant stakeholders/beneficiaries of the research, as well as how the research and its findings are planned to be communicated to these stakeholders (max. 8,000 characters including spaces).
Briefly describe the societal relevance of the research, how the project in the short or long term can contribute to sustainable development, how stakeholders and/or end users’ needs have been taken into account in the design of the project and how the research and its results are communicated with and benefit stakeholders and end users.
- References, included in the body line text under the sections above should be entered in a separate field (5,000 characters including spaces).
The project budget is accounted for in Prisma. Note that you should write the budget and budget specification in English; any budget specification written in Swedish will not be translated, but will instead be assessed as it is by the international review panel. In Prisma, the total amount applied for is written in kronor using digits. For example, SEK 1 million should be written as: 1,000,000 kronor.
The budget description should include the following:
- Salaries, including social fees for each project participant. The total amount of the salary for a single researcher, PhD student or other staff must not exceed 100 percent of full-time employment. This means that someone with a fully funded salary during the entire project period, cannot receive additional funds for salary. Full-time retired researchers cannot receive funding for their own salary without first reducing their pension by the corresponding percentage.
- Percent of salary refers to the percentage of the applicant’s full-time salary that corresponds to their salary in the project.
- Degree of activity in the project refers to what percentage of a full-time position is contributed by the participant. It details whether the applicant contributes in-kind or other funding towards the completion of the project.
- Running costs include, for example, consumables, travel, conferences and publication in open-access journals and databases. Specify operating costs in accordance with the practices applicable to the asset manager.
- Equipment and depreciation costs. Specify (depreciated) costs for equipment, if relevant to the proposal. The total maximum amount you can be granted for equipment and depreciated costs is 500,000 SEK.
- Premises. You can apply for funding to cover the cost of premises if this is not yet accounted for within the project’s overhead. Specify the cost of premises in accordance with the practices applicable to the administrating organisation.
- Total amount sought/Subtotal refers to costs already indicated in previous budget tables, which will be automatically transferred to these items.
- Indirect costs refer to overhead costs. The overhead costs should be specified in accordance with practices applicable to the administrating organisation. If funds are to be transferred from the administrating organisation to another organisation involved in the project, then the overhead cost of the latter can be applied to the funds transferred. Formas does not grant funding for overhead costs that are written off for equipment or facilities. Explain and report the different overhead costs within the budget specification. The total overhead for the project must be entered into the budget table. If your administrating organisation does not charge indirect costs for this type of grant, enter 0 SEK in the table
- Other costs refers to funds not sought, but, that are still relevant to the completion of the project. An example is co-funding received from partners. Also, specify whether the project receives funding from other sources.
- Total cost refers to a budget summary.
- Budget specification (max. 7,000 characters including spaces) refers to a written explanation of the budget. State how the grant amount you are applying for will be distributed each year, as well as the total amount for each receiving organisation (if funds are to be transferred). Provide a brief justification for the salary expenses that were stated in the budget. All other costs must be justified, such as those for participating in conferences, fees for open access to publications and data and similar. A description of the project’s total budget, including funding from other sources, should also be enclosed. The budget specification is part of the assessment of the application.
Reporting of ethical considerations (max. 4,000 characters including spaces)
You should specify if there are any ethical concerns with the research project. If so, state what they are and how you plan to manage them. Examples include research that uses personal data or research involving experiments on humans or animals.
If you are conducting research on people, human tissue or are processing sensitive personal data, you must obtain ethical approval from the Swedish Ethical Review Authority. Additionally, if you are conducting research on animals, you must also obtain ethical approval. Approval can be applied for using the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s online service.
You should state in your application whether or not you have obtained ethical approval. If you have not, but are awarded a grant, then you must obtain approval before the study in question begins.
Even if your research is not expected to warrant ethical concerns, this should be stated and briefly explained in the application.
Formas uses the project’s classifications in analyses and supporting documentation at an overall level. These classifications are made when the applicant states the subject area, research topic (SCB code), at least one sustainable development goal the project can contribute to, and keywords.
- Subject area
Select at least one and a maximum of three subject areas and add a sub-heading.
- Research topic (SCB code)
Select at least one and a maximum of three research topics and two sub-topics that together form the entire code.
- Sustainable development goals (SDGs)
Select at least one and up to three sustainable development goals (SDGs) that the project can contribute to, in order of relevance.
More about the meaning of the goals. External link.
Enter a minimum of one and a maximum of three keywords describing the project.
Administrating organisation – the organisation receiving the grant
In this call, only applicants from Formas’ administrating organisation that are approved for all calls can apply. Prisma contains a default list of approved administrating organisation. From this drop-down list select:
- Your administrating organisation
- Project site
- The principal applicant invites participating researchers to the application in Prisma.
- A participating researcher is a PhD-researcher who is considered a co-applicant for the project.
- You can also have participating administrators who are not involved in the project but help you fill in the application form. Participating administrators cannot register the application; this must be done by the principal applicant.
- All participants must have created their own personal account in Prisma.
- Principal applicants invite people to participate in the application process by searching for their given name, surname and email address in Prisma (note that exact spelling of names and email addresses is required).
The project manager and participating researchers retrieve CV information from their respective accounts in Prisma and add it to the application. Applicants should review their CV in Prisma, to ensure that it is complete and up-to-date. If participating researchers have not accepted the invitation or have not filled-in the required fields correctly, the principal applicant will not be able to complete registration of the proposal. Participants who are not co-applicants do not have the ability to attach CV information. Instead, their qualifications for the project should be described in the research programme.
The following CV-information should be added to the application:
- Postgraduate studies
- Undergraduate and graduate education
- Work experience
- Current employment and any relevant previous long-term employment
- Postdoctoral assignments
- Research exchanges relevant to the proposed research
- Any significant gaps in the research (such as parental leave, illness, military service or political duties)
- Qualifications and merits:
- Supervised students: PhD students, postdocs, graduate thesis students; either add as an individual or as a group. When adding a group, enter the total number for each category. When adding an individual person, name the most relevant (max 10).
- Grants received in competition: specify the most relevant ones (max. 10).
- Other qualifications, including summary of publications:
- List other qualifications relevant to the application, such as popular science publications and proven experience of collaboration and research communication (max. 10).
- The principal applicant and participating researchers should also provide a brief summary of their publications during the past five years, as well as in total, if the applicant’s active research period exceeds five years (max. 800 characters including spaces). This summary should include the following:
- The number of various types of publications, such as articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, books and other monographs, conference papers and popular science contributions
- The summary must not contain information about Journal Impact Factors or any other type of metric used to rank publishers or journals.
The principal applicant and participating researchers should list their most relevant publications. Up to ten publications can be specified per person. The publications should be linked from the applicants’ personal profiles in Prisma.
The following appendix can be uploaded if relevant to the proposal:
- Appendix 1. Illustrations. If figures, tables, or images are needed to describe your project idea, you can attach them as an appendix. A maximum of one PDF attachment (4 MB) can be uploaded.
After submitting your application
First, Formas verifies that the application meets the procedural requirements set out in the call. If the application does not meet these requirements, it is rejected.
The following requirements will be verified in this call:
- The administrating organisation has signed the application within seven calendar days of the call’s closing date.
- The application has not been denied by the administrating organisation.
- The application’s focus falls within Formas’ areas of responsibility.
- The application’s focus falls within the call’s areas.
- The application is complete, meaning it contains all mandatory information.
- The expectations of project managers, participants and organisations, under the Applicant and organisation requirements, are met.
- The principal applicant who is responsible for other projects or activities funded by Formas has submitted any requested reports by the stated deadline.
Applications will be assessed by an external review panel based on their contents. It is therefore important for the proposal to be written as clearly as possible and to include all important and relevant information.
The applications will be evaluated by an international review panel qualified to cover the current theme in the call. Each proposal is read and evaluated by several members of the panel. The review panel will be composed of both active researchers and individuals outside academia with the necessary expertise to evaluate the relevance of the research. The review panel is appointed by Formas. Discrimination, such as on the basis of sex, is prohibited in the evaluation of applications.
Applications are assessed with respect to scientific quality and societal relevance. These include a total of the following five evaluation criteria:
Assessment criteria for scientific quality:
- Research question
- Scientific significance of the project’s purpose
- Originality and novelty of the proposal’s purpose, theory and hypotheses
- Potential for scientifically significant findings
- Whether the purpose is aligned with the call
The evaluators must also:
- positively recognise multi- and interdisciplinary approaches when these are applicable to the research question in focus as well as the promotion of long-term knowledge building within the call’s area. It is therefore important that you address these considerations in your proposal, if relevant to your project.
- Methodology and implementation
- Feasibility and suitability of the scientific method
- Whether the work plan is well-defined and realistic
- Whether the plan for scientific publication and dissemination of information is well-defined and realistic
- Coordination of the project and research team
- The appropriateness of multi- and interdisciplinary approaches, where applied
- Whether the proposed research requires ethical considerations and, if so, how the applicant plans to address them
- Whether the budget is reasonable in relation to the project’s organisation and expected results
Of these points, the feasibility and suitability of the scientific method carry the most weight.
- Scientific competence
Here, the review panel weighs the following:
- Scientific quality of the publications
- Ability to complete the project according to plan
- Supervisory experience
- Project management experience
- National and international activities including projects, networks, assignments, honorary assignments, as well as participation in or arranging workshops or conferences
- Interest, experience, and ability to communicate the research and research results with stakeholders and users
- Strength and competitiveness of the research team
The review panel assess the quality of scientific publications with respect to the standards pertaining to each discipline. The evaluation focuses on the content and quality of the publications rather than on where they were published.
Publications are only part of what is factored into the criteria of scientific competence. In their evaluations, the reviewers also consider other forms of results achieved and experience. This includes, for example, the dissemination of knowledge and training, patents, products, or impact on policy.
The assessment accounts for any relevant reasons for gaps in the research, such as parental or sick leave, which might have had an impact on the applicant’s overall productivity. That is, the findings and experiences described by the applicant are assessed in relation to active research time.
Assessment criteria for societal relevance:
- Potential societal benefit of the research topic
Here, the evaluation panel assesses how well you justify how the proposed research addresses the following four considerations:
- The research question addresses important societal issues within the call’s focus, nationally, internationally (or both)
- The project can create short- or long-term benefits to sustainable development, nationally or internationally (or both)
- The needs of stakeholders and/or users of the research findings are considered by the applicants within the project’s design
- The purpose of the research is aligned with the call
Accounting for the needs of stakeholders or users can involve referring to, for example, directives, environmental objectives, the international SDGs and related strategies, as well as discussions with the relevant stakeholders or users.
The terms “stakeholders” and “users” are broadly defined as actors who can benefit from the research findings or enable their future use throughout society. This includes actors outside or inside the research community (depending on whether the project is of a more basic or applied nature), nationally or internationally.
- Communication with stakeholders and users
Here, the review panel will assess whether the application contains the following:
- A description of relevant stakeholders and/or users
- A concrete and realistic plan for (a) the project’s involvement of relevant stakeholders or users, and for (b) the project’s plan for communicating the research and its findings with stakeholders or users
Communication with stakeholders and users can take place in different ways and within different timeframes, depending on the research question. However, it should include various forms of dialogue with these groups.
All assessment criteria must be addressed within the proposal, and we advise the applicants to ensure these correlations are clear. We also strongly advise the applicants to be very attentive to how the proposal is structured, as well as its clarity, as the evaluation is based solely on the enclosed information.
Decisions on which projects will be granted funding are expected to be made on the 23 November 2022. The decisions will be published on the Formas website the following day, at the latest, and later via an email from Prisma. Grant decisions cannot be appealed.
All awarded projects must submit a report to Formas containing financial and project results within three months of the end of the availability period. For projects longer than 18 months, a financial statement must also be submitted to Formas annually. All reports are submitted in Prisma.
Formas may impose requirements on how projects must be reported in terms of content and findings to enable distribution and utilisation. 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.
Results of research funded by Formas must be published using open access.
You must also have a management plan for the data produced in the project. If you receive funding from us, you must develop such a plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to Formas, but should be presented on request. 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 shares information about awarded grants to SweCRIS, a national database of grant-funded research that was instituted by request of the government.
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