Despite significant progress in recycling technologies as well as in the knowledge of the impacts various circular solutions can have on climate and environment, solutions are not always implemented at the pace required for a transition to a sustainable society.
Extended period of application
The last application period has been extended to Tuesday 31 May to match the announced date in the Prisma application system.
The obstacles to implementation are often found in the structure of society. Especially challenging are obstacles found outside the actors’ ownerships. Examples of such obstacles include goal conflicts, laws and policies, rules regarding classification of materials, taxation, legal responsibilities, financial rules, norms, standards, etc. The obstacles can exist and occur both within and between different sectors and system levels – from individual organisations to overarching societal structures.
The aim of this call is to promote concrete and innovative solutions on how to remove such obstacles, thereby enabling the implementations of circular solutions.
The projects must be clearly initiated by stakeholders and include representatives from actors central for the value cycle described. The project teams must also include other, relevant, actors who can contribute with the knowledge required to find a solution and make an action plan.
The projects must have a high societal relevance and potential to contribute to the general resource efficiency in the society. That means that they must analyze value cycles and issues that can contribute substantially to Sweden’s sustainability (economic, environmental and societal) if circular solutions for these can be implemented.
Circular economy is of high priority in Sweden and in the EU and is a tool which, used wisely, can increase the resource efficiency, thereby contributing to improve both climate and the environment.
Circular solutions with potential for high impact are often complex and require co-operation between different actors to be realized. And society needs to provide prerequisites for their implementation. A challenge, though, is that there are often obstacles for such implementation. And it becomes especially challenging when these obstacles are found in society’s overarching structures.
Sweden’s national strategy starts from the vision of a society where resources are used efficiently in circular and non-toxic flows, thereby replacing virgin materials. The strategy was published in 2020 and has four focus areas:
- Circular economy through sustainable production and consumption
- Circular economy through sustainable ways to consume and use materials, products and services
- Circular economy through circular and non-toxic material loops
- Circular economy as a driving force for businesses and other actors through actions that stimulate innovation and circular business models
This call touches upon all four focus areas of the national strategy for a circular economy and is a contribution to improve society’s prerequisites for implementation of circular solutions.
The aim of this call is to promote concrete and innovative solutions on how to solve obstacles for circular solutions that are beyond the resourcefulness of the immediate stakeholders. By this is meant obstacles found in society’s overarching structures, including those that occur in the interaction between these. Stakeholders, together with other actors, get the opportunity to produce concrete and innovative ways to solve such obstacles, thereby contributing to the possibility to create prerequisites that allow for circular solutions to be implemented. The call prioritizes areas that can significantly contribute to society’s resource efficiency. For the project to be relevant, the application must clearly show how sustainability is an integrated part of the project.
By highlighting obstacles for circular solutions for a concrete value cycle, the projects shall identify and propose solutions on an overarching level in society that are required for these solutions to be possible to implement. A plan for how these changes can be made and by whom must be set up. The changes required must be beyond the immediate stakeholders’ resourcefulness and occur in the overarching structures of society, such as laws and directives, political goals, taxation, classifications, financial prerequisites, legal responsibilities, standards and practices, etc.
The project teams must be clearly initiated by stakeholders and include key stakeholders in the described value cycle. These parties must be clearly engaged in and contribute significantly to the project. In addition to the key stakeholders, the project teams must include relevant actors who can contribute with the knowledge required to perform the project. The obstacles described must be analysed in all relevant aspects to provide an as complete picture as possible of the current situation. The projects must also highlight and describe broad consequences of the proposed solutions. Not only what can be achieved but also possible secondary possibilities and risks and consequences to other areas and industries and, when relevant, other sustainability goals. The projects must set up a plan for how the project results will be communicated to reach the actors who need to realise the suggested changes.
The projects must describe real obstacles. These must be of high societal relevance and potential, i.e. deal with value cycles that would have significant effect on Sweden’s resource efficiency and degree of sustainability (environmental, economic and societal) if circular solutions for them could be implemented. The maturity of the circular solution described must be such that it would be possible to realise when the obstacles are solved.
In the evaluation of the applications, strong emphasis will be given to the stakeholder engagement, how concrete the problem described is and how thoroughly the impact assessment of the proposed actions will be performed.
Formas is tasked with working towards achieving a sustainable development of society. Crucial to such a development are equal opportunities and inclusion. We therefore encourage applicants to think as much as possible about designing the project so that it can contribute knowledge that reflects and is relevant to different groups in society. We also encourage you to consider gender balance in the project team and including participants with different backgrounds and experiences.
This call does not fund technology or product development nor development of business models.
Researchers, public and private organisations, industry associations and private companies active in circular economy or resource efficiency can apply in this call.
The call is aimed at project groups composed of at least two parties of which one must be a stakeholder representing a public company, foundation, branch organisation or private industry with a clear ownership in the project and at least one part representing academia, meaning university, college, research institute or other organisation meeting the requirements for being an administrating organisation for all of Formas’ calls. The non-academic parties must have an active role in the project but not necessarily as project leader or administrating organisation.
Companies and other organisations engaged in economic activities can, in this call, apply for and be granted a grant corresponding to a maximum of 50 percent of their eligible costs. The amount applied for by these organisations may thus not exceed 50 percent of the party's budget applied for. The remaining financing must come in the form of self-financing from the organisation. Economic activity is defined according to EU regulations as any entity, regardless of legal form or how the organisation is financed, that offers goods and services on a market.
Before you apply
All information about the contents of an application, the application process and the assessment process is described in the sections below.
It is not allowed to submit the same application with different main applicants to the call Keys to the Circular Economy. All registered applications with identical content will be rejected.
It is not allowed to act as main applicant in more than one application in this call. However, it is allowed to be main applicant in one and co-applicant in others as long as the total granted salary for one applicant does not exceed 100%.
It is allowed to act as main applicant (project leader) for a project in this call whilst receiving funding in any of Formas’ other calls as long as funds granted for the applicant’s total salary does not exceed 100%.
The administrating organisation is the organisation that receives and manages the grant funds that Formas finances a granted project. Formas distinguishes between administrating organisations, who can receive funds in all Formas calls, and administrating organisations who are approved to receive funds in an individual call. Universities, research institutes and authorities with a research assignment are usually approved to receive funding in all Formas calls. Most other public and private organisations need a specific approval as adminiatrating organsiation for this call. The main applicant’s organisation must be approved as an administrating organisation in one of these two forms. Learn more under “Who can become an adminsitrating organisation?”.
Private industry and other organisations engaged in economic activity, wishing to apply for funding from Formas are subject to state aid regulations. Applied funding for such organisations can, in this call, be up to 50 percent of that organisation’s budget in the project. Remaining funding must come from the organisation itself.
All projects applying for funding from Formas must have a responsible project leader and be carried out by the persons mentioned in the application.
Formas cannot fund foreign organisations and also not sole proprietorship or private persons.
When you apply for project funding, you can apply for a grant to cover both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include, for example, personnel costs, equipment, land and building, costs for consultants and licences, other direct costs including trips. Indirect costs are costs that are shared with other business operations in the organisation, such as for administration, IT and renting of premises. Indirect costs are also called overhead costs.
Project duration is either 12 or 24 months. Maximal sum to apply for is 2 million kronor per 12 months period.
Start month is preselected in Prisma and cannot be changed. This is because funds for the first project year will be administered during 2022. Funding can be used up to 12 months after the project end date.
We recommend that you write your application in English since the review panel consists of international reviewers. For applications written entirely in Swedish, only the research program will be translated by professional translators into English. In such cases, it will not be possible for you to view or make linguistic adjustments to the application after it is translated and submitted to Formas’ review panel for assessment. The popular science description, however, must be written in Swedish, while the abstract should be in both Swedish and English. Your budget specification and your CV will not be translated. Therefore, we recommend you write these in English, even if you write otherwise in Swedish and make the application in the Swedish version of the application system.
Please note that if you have installed an automatic translation plugin in your browser, you risk having your text translated into the language that you have set as default when you paste your text into Prisma. We recommend that you check the language in the text well in advance of your final registration.
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).
The popular science description and project abstracts in Swedish and English will, if the project is granted funding, be published in open access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of these fields should not contain sensitive information.
We at Formas are very keen to fund projects that maximise positive and minimise negative impacts on the environment and climate. We therefore encourage grant applicants to design their projects so that collaboration takes place primarily through online meetings and that any necessary travel takes place in a climate-smart way. We also suggest that you include measures that minimise energy use and other resource consumption, emissions and waste in project planning. However, this will not be part of the assessment of your application.
Please read about Formas’ own sustainability work
How to apply
You apply in Prisma
The application to Formas must be made in our application system Prisma. There, all the information needed for the application must be registered.
The main applicant who must fill in the information in the application and register it in the application system needs a personal user account in Prisma. If the appointed main applicant does not have a personal user account, the person must apply for it in good time before the call closes.
The administrating organisation is the organisation that receives and manages the grant funds that Formas finances a granted project. For this, the organisation must have an organisation account in Prisma at the time of application. Formas distinguishes between administrating organisations, who can receive funds in all Formas calls, and administrating organisations who are approved to receive funds in an individual call.
Main applicants from administrating organisations for all types of calls
In most cases, universities, colleges, most research institutes and authorities already have an organisation account in Prisma, and therefore available as a default in the drop-down list for Administrating organisations in the application form.
Main applicants from organisations that can become administrating organisation for an individual project
Most companies, municipalities, industry associations and other organisations can apply to become administrating organisations for an individual project. Decision to approve new administrating organisations is taken when grants are awarded in the call. However, it is important that the organisation has an organisation account in Prisma before the main applicant starts applying for a grant in the call.
If your organisation already has a Prisma account, please contact responsible research officer Kerstin Röver (Kerstin.firstname.lastname@example.org) to add your organisation to the list of possible administrating organsiations for this call. This applies even if your organisation has previously submitted applications to other Formas calls.
If your organisation has not previously been an administrating organisation of funds from Formas, your organisation needs to apply for an organisation account in Prisma. (Note that the other project parties do not need an organisation account and should therefore not apply for an organisation account.) Apply in good time before the call closes. Specify in you application for the organisation account that you want to submit an application to the call Keys to the Circular Economy, what type of organisation you are and VAT number.
If you are unsure of whether your organisation already has an account or not, please contact responsible research officer Kerstin Röver (Kerstin.email@example.com) no later then May 10th.
When the main applicant completes the application form in Prisma, information about the administrating organisation and project site must be stated. This is done in the drop-down lists for “Administrating organisation” and “Project site”. The project sites available for the applicant are retrieved from the organisation structure through the settings made in organisation account by the main supervisor for the account. If the organisation does not have departments, specify a subunit that has the same name as the project specialisation. More information can be found here: Prisma user manual External link..
All limits for the maximum number of characters refer to characters including spaces. A recommendation is to choose the Arial font in font size 12 for the information you enter in all text boxes.
Note, that if you write your application in a word processing program and then paste your application into Prisma, there is a risk the formatting will disappear.
To ensure you do not risk losing valuable information, tables and figures with advanced formatting or formulas, should be uploaded as an appendix.
Your application must include a clear description of the project under the following sections:
- Start month Note that start month is preselected in Prisma and cannot be edited.
- Number of project years. Note that only 1 and 2 years is valid.
- Project title in Swedish (max. 200 characters including spaces).
- Project title in English (max. 200 characters including spaces).
- Popular science description in Swedish (max. 4 500 characters including spaces). The popular science description will, if the project is granted funding, be published in open access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of this field should not contain sensitive information.
- Abstract in Swedish (max. 1 500 characters including spaces). The abstract will, if the project is granted funding, be published in open access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of this field should not contain sensitive information.
- Abstract in English (max. 1 500 characters including spaces). The abstract will, if the project is granted funding, be published in open access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of this field should not contain sensitive information.
The applications are evaluated based on the content of the application. It is therefore important that you address each criterion. In the evaluation, emphasis will be given to how well the application gives a complete picture of the current situation regarding challenges, proposed solutions, stakeholders’ engagement and the description of analysis of consequences of proposed actions and solutions.
- Relevance and potential of the project (max 8 000 characters including spaces) Describe the value cycle addressed in the project, its role in society and the potential of the solution if it could be realized. Describe the identified obstacles and what could be achieved if these are solved.
- The implementation of the project (max 15 000 characters including spaces) Describe how the work in the project will be conducted. State project plan including activities and schedule. Describe how the results of the project will be communicated. Also, reflect on how gender equality and diversity have been integrated into the project.
- Project group (8000 characters including spaces) Describe the competences in the project group. Describe the parties’ roles, engagement and driving forces to solve the obstacles described. Describe how the parties will interact with other stakeholders. Also, reflect on how gender equality and diversity have been considered in the design of the project group.
- References (max. 5000 characters including spaces) List the in-line references pertaining to the above sections in a separate field.
If you need figures, tables or images to describe the project, you can upload them as attachments in pdf format of a maximum of 4 MB can be uploaded. This appendix is not mandatory.
Budget and other information
The budget of the project, funding and other information regarding all organisations participating in the application should be described in Prisma. Note that the budget and budget specifications will, if written in Swedish, not be sent for translation but will be evaluated by the international panel as it is. In Prisma, amounts should be written in full. For example, 1 million SEK should be written as: 1 000 000 SEK. Budget items should be added during the year of their intended use even though project start is set to December 1st 2022.
Companies and other organisations engaged in economic activities can, in this call, apply for and be granted a grant corresponding to a maximum of 50 percent of their eligible costs.
The following information must be entered in the project budget:
Information on the coordinating project party and other project parties
This is mandatory information. The coordinating party is responsible for filling in the application with the support of information from their own organisation and from the other participating project parties. Depending on the parties ' organisational affiliations, different rules apply for financing the parties' costs in the project.
- 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.
- Personnel costs. Eligible personnel costs for companies and other organisations engaged in economic activity may be estimated at a maximum of 800 SEK per hour on average. Universities, colleges or research institutes are not subject to this limitation. Note that the total salary amount for a researcher, PhD student or other staff must not exceed 100 percent of full-time employment. It also means that someone who already receives full salary financing, cannot receive additional funds for salary. Researchers who are full-time retired cannot, in addition to their pension, receive additional funding for their own salary without first reducing their pension by a corresponding percentage.
- Equipment, land and buildings. The total maximum amount you can be granted for equipment and equipment depreciation costs is 500,000 SEK.
- 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. Costs for consultants and licences must be reported excluding VAT.
- 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). Universities, colleges or research institutes may charge a mark-up for indirect costs according to the applicable full-cost pricing method. Other project parties may charge a mark-up for indirect costs of up to 30 percent of their eligible personnel costs.
There are four types of funding an applicant can specify in the application:
- Applied funding from Formas: Indicates the amount applied from Formas under the call. The amount cannot exceed total costs. If the amount sought is less than the total costs, the remaining amounts will be automatically calculated and reported under Self- finance.
- Other funding (public): If Formas or another public funder contributes funding for related research projects. If other funding is received, please state funder.
- Other funding (private): If another private company or organisation contributes funding to the project. If other funding is received, please state funder.
- Self-finance: If the project party contributes with its own funding, this is calculated automatically and displayed in the field for Self-finance. Self -finance is considered as costs minus requested grant from Formas, minus other funding (public) and other funding (private).
Justification of budgeted personnel costs
Here, you specify the average hourly rate for budgeted personnel costs. Personnel costs refer to salaries including social security contributions and other mandatory charges associated with salaries. Salaries can be applied for to researchers, doctoral students and other staff for whom there is an employment relationship i.e., non-purchased services (max. 500 characters including spaces).
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 allow overhead for equipment depreciation costs or costs of premises. Be clear in describing all costs in relation to the current activities within the project (max. 9 000 characters including spaces).
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 such as aid to research, development and innovation.
Companies and other organisations engaged in financial activities can, in this call, apply for and be granted a grant corresponding to a maximum of 50 percent of their eligible costs. The amount applied for by these organisations may thus not exceed 50 percent of the party's budget applied for. The remaining financing must come in the form of self-financing from the organisation. Economic activity is defined according to EU regulations as any entity, regardless of legal form or how the organisation is financed, that offers goods and services on a market. Activities will be assessed by Article 25 in the European Commission’s General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) 651/2014. External link.
Note that sole proprietorship businesses cannot be granted funding under this call or participate as a party to projects that are applying in Formas’ calls.
Companies that do not have a Swedish corporate identity number cannot be granted funding as a research centre party in this call but can participate in-kind.
The Formas website contains more information about state aid regulations.
If you have questions concerning state aid, please contact operations developer Johan Hansson.
You must specify whether there are specific ethical concerns in your project. If so, you must describe the relevant ethical considerations and how they will be managed. Examples include research that uses personal data, or experiments on humans or animals.
If you are researching people, human tissue or sensitive personal data, you must obtain ethical approval from the Swedish Ethical Review Authority. In the case of animal testing, you must also have ethical approval. You can apply for this via the Swedish Board of Agriculture's e-service.
You must state in your application whether you have ethical approval or not. If you do not have it, and your application is granted funding, you must have ethical approval before the described experiments begin.
Even if your research is not expected to involve ethical approval, you should write this in your application, and justify how and why (max. 4 000 characters including spaces).
Formas uses project classifications only 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 at least one and a maximum of three subject areas and add a sub-heading.
- Research subject (SCB code). Select at least one and a maximum of three SCB codes with two sub-levels that together form the entire code.
- Sustainable Development Goals. Select a minimum of one and a maximum of three Sustainable development goals (SDGs) the project can help to achieve, in order of relevance. Read more about the Sustainable Development Goals on the UN Development Programme website. External link.
- Keywords. Select at least one and a maximum of three keywords describing the project.
Administrating organisation – the organisation receiving the grant
Coordinating project party is termed administrating organisation in Prisma because it is the organisation that receives, manages and distributes the funds from Formas to granted projects.
- Select the administrating organisation from the dropdown list. If you can’t find your organisation, see” Organisation account for organisations that can become administrating organisation for an individual project” in the section “How to apply”.
- Select the project site from the dropdown list. If you can’t find your project site, see “Project site -create a structure to describe the organisation” in the section “How to apply”.
Participants (mandatory appendix)
List all project participants in a table, with name, affiliation and role in the project. Upload in pdf format. Note that pdf is the only acceptable format in Prisma.
CV (mandatory appendix)
CV including relevant merits for key persons in the project. Upload in pdf format. Maximum two A4 pages per person.
After registering your application
You can make changes to your registered application (unregister it and re-register) until the call closes at 14:00 on May 24th. After that, the status of your application will change from “registered” to “finally registered”. Unless any errors have been identified in Prisma, no changes may be made to the final registered application. Furthermore, you cannot make any additions via, for example, email or by phone, and the application will be assessed in its existing condition.
Your finally registered application is automatically sent to the administrating organisation when the call is closed. The administrating organisation has seven calendar days to sign the application digitally in Prisma.
Formas verifies that the application meets the procedural requirements set out in the call. If it does not meet these requirements, it is rejected.
The following requirements will be verified in this call:
- The project team consists of at least two parties of which at least one represents a stakeholder and at least on is an academic party. See section Who can apply.
- That at least one project participant holds a PhD. Date must be stated in CV.
- That the project budget is within the limits
- The administrating organisation has signed the application. This must be done within seven calendar days after the call closes.
- The application has not been declined by the administrating organisation.
- The topic of the application falls within Formas’ areas of responsibility.
- The topic of the application is within the frames of the call.
- The application is complete and contains all mandatory information.
- The requirements for project managers, project participants and organisations under “Applicant and organisation requirements” are met.
- The coordinating project party (principal applicant) who is responsible for other projects or activities funded by Formas has submitted any requested reports by the stated deadline.
The 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 applications are assessed by several reviewers. After individual reviewing, the panel meets to discuss and rank the applications. During this meeting, they also agree on final scores of the applications.
When there are many applications, the panel meeting focuses on the applications given the highest scores in the individual review and thereby assessed to have the highest possibility to compete for funding.
The review panel is appointed by Formas. Read more about Formas’ assessment process External link..
Applications are assessed based on the following criteria, which are equally important:
- The project can significantly contribute to the purpose and aims of the call.
- The design of the project and the expected results have taken into consideration the relevant needs and conditions of different groups in society.
- The application clearly states how the impact of the expected results would benefit society.
- The project is of high scientific quality and is innovative.
- The problem formulation and purpose of the project are clear, logical and in line with the purpose and focus of the call.
- The expected results of the project and/or proposed solution are at the forefront of the field, i.e., in relation to the state of the art.
- The project has significant potential for scalability and/or dissemination.
- Planned activities and methods are realistic and appropriate for achieving expected results during the project.
- The time frame and budget are realistic and appropriate in relation to the purpose and objectives of the project.
- The plan for how the results of the project is to be utilised is well described and appropriate.
- Ethical considerations are well described and the plan for how to handle these is appropriate.
- Gender aspects are well integrated into the implementation of the project.
- The project’s organisation and overall competence of the project group are appropriate for the implementation of the project, including the utilisation of the project’s results.
- The project is carried out in collaboration with relevant stakeholders or end users. The involvement of project participants is well described and appropriate for the objectives of the project.
- The project group (key actors) as well as the distribution of influence is well balanced between women and men. Relevant for project groups of more than 3 people.
Formas’ Scientific Council is expected to reach a decision on 23 November 2022 concerning which projects will be granted funding. Decisions will be announced the following day, at the latest, on Formas’ website. Information that decisions have been made will be sent out via email from Prisma. The applicant’s decision is available in Prisma. Grant award decisions cannot be appealed.
The final financial and scientific reports for all projects granted funding must be submitted to Formas within three months of the end of the availability period. For projects longer than 18 months, financial statements must be submitted each year. All reports are made in Prisma.
The financial reporting for projects in this call follows the same structure as the application. Costs and financing are reported according to the same structure as the application.
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.
Results from research funded by Formas must be published with open access.
You need to have a data management plan for the data produced in the project. If you receive funding, you need to develop a plan for data management. The plan should not be sent to us, but you should be able to present the plan upon request.
By signing our grant terms and conditions, it is certified that a data management plan will be in place before research is started and that it is maintained.
Formas shares information about awarded grants to SweCRIS External link., a national database of grant funded research that was instituted by request of the government.