Alternative forest management methods, such as continuous cover forestry, are increasingly highlighted in Swedish and international forest policy. At the same time, robust knowledge is lacking about the effects and benefits for many key societal goals, and about opportunities and challenges for the implementation of the methods in practice.
Both at EU level and in Sweden, the multifunctional roles of forests for the economy, climate, rural areas, biodiversity, and for human health and well-being are emphasized. Alternative forest management methods with an increased emphasis on biodiversity, an increased ability to meet climate change and with a capacity to benefit different social and cultural values are highlighted in particular as important tools. Increased focus is also placed on supporting forest owners' opportunities to choose forest management methods that better correspond to the specific goals of their forest ownership.
The current call aims to strengthen the knowledge base on the effects and benefits of various forms of adapted forest management methods and thereby support evidence-informed decision-making in the area and practice within forestry. Examples of different forms of adapted forest management methods that are covered by the scope of the call include different variants of continuous cover forestry, clear-cutting forestry with extended rotation lengths and forestry with a higher proportion of deciduous trees.
The call includes research on a wide range of aspects of various forms of alternative or adapted forest management methods, such as value creation, climate benefits and effects on soil, water and biodiversity. Synergies or goal conflicts with different dimensions of social values, as well as benefits and effects for reindeer husbandry, are also central to the call. The call also covers socio-economic aspects around the implementation, such as issues of incentives, knowledge, responsibilities and equity. Finally, the call includes research and innovation on supporting and enabling technologies for adapted forest management methods.
The call is aimed at researchers from all scientific disciplines at Swedish higher education institutions, research institutes or government agencies with research mandates. The maximum project duration is four years, with a budget of up to two and a half million SEK per year. The total budget for the call is 120 million SEK.
In July 2021, the European Commission presented a new EU forest strategy for 2030 External link., which is one of the flagship initiatives of the European Green Deal. The Forest Strategy emphasises the multifunctional roles of the EU's forests for the economy, climate, rural areas, biodiversity, and human health and well-being. Forestry practices that support biodiversity and climate change resilience are specifically highlighted, and forthcoming guidelines and a new voluntary certification scheme for "closer-to-nature forestry" are announced. The Commission also highlights the need for better financial incentives for forest owners to improve the quality of EU forests in various ways. These incentives include opportunities to diversify income from forests, support the transition to adapted forestry practices and a carbon sequestration compensation scheme.
The Swedish Forest Inquiry External link., appointed by the Swedish government of 2019, also presented proposals for new forms of nature conservation agreements for forest management with enhanced nature consideration. The forest policy bill External link. presented in November 2021 included, in addition to investments in formal area protection, a long-term advisory campaign for increased sustainable growth and sustainable management in forests. The campaign is intended to include measures for conservation-oriented management, increased climate efficiency, more effective environmental consideration, climate adaptation of forestry and the use of alternative management methods such as continuous cover forestry and forestry with a higher proportion of deciduous trees. An increased focus is placed on supporting forest owners to choose forest management practices that best meet the objectives of their forest ownership. It is also highlighted that the state should be a pioneer in sustainable forest management and take great consideration to include natural and cultural values as well as to reindeer husbandry. Along the same lines, the Environmental Objectives Council proposes in its annual report for 2021 an interim target for continuous cover forestry. The target is not expressed as a fixed area or percentage increase, but should be seen as a desirable direction for resolving many conflicts of objectives or interests between timber production and other societal objectives and interests in forestry.
Although alternative forest management methods are increasingly highlighted in Swedish and international forest policy in recent years, both research and practical experience in the field are still limited. Formas sees important knowledge needs about the effects and benefits for many key societal goals, and about opportunities and challenges for the implementation of these methods in practice.
The call is expected to contribute to a more robust and comprehensive knowledge base on the effects and benefits of different forms of adapted forest management, and thus provide a better basis for decision-making and practice in forestry.
The call encompasses research on a wide range of aspects of various forms of alternative or adapted forest management methods. Knowledge is needed on value creation, productivity and management costs, as well as on effects on carbon sequestration, carbon emissions and climate adaptation, plant biology and genetic aspects, and effects on soil, water and biodiversity. Potential synergies or trade-offs of the forest management methods with different dimensions of social values, including recreation and nature tourism, as well as benefits and impacts on reindeer husbandry, are also key areas of the call.
Examples of different forms of adapted forest management practices that may be covered by the call are continuous cover forestry (including variants of felling with small-scale clearings and shelterwood systems), conventional clear-cutting forestry with substantially extended rotation times, and forestry with a higher proportion of deciduous trees. Research within the framework of conventional forest management practices, for example regarding development of conservation measures, is not covered by the scope of this call. The focus and emphasis of projects should in this call be on Swedish conditions. However, international perspectives and comparisons may still be valuable when suitable for the research question.
In addition to the effects of the forest management practices on various societal benefits, the call also aims to increase knowledge about central socio-economic aspects around the implementation. These may relate to issues of incentives, knowledge, values, governance, business models, responsibilities and equity. Finally, the call also covers research and innovation on supporting and enabling technologies for adapted forest management practices, such as different forms of digital infrastructure and technology to increase the use of different digital tools to facilitate adapted forest management methods.
The call is aimed at researchers from all scientific disciplines at Swedish higher education institutions, research institutes or government agencies with research mandates. Trans-disciplinary approaches are encouraged where relevant for the project at hand but are not a requirement in this call. The intention is to fund a diversity of projects within the framework of the call.
Before you apply
All information about the contents of an application, the application process and the assessment process is described in the sections below.
Any changes to the call text are listed below Revision history.
Grants in this call can only be administered by a Swedish university, higher education institution, research institute, government agency with a research assignment, 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 main applicant must be the project manager on the application.
- There is no upper age limit for the main applicant and participating researchers. However, researchers who are full-time pensioners are not eligible to receive funding towards salaries.
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 costs that are shared with others in your organisation, such as for administration, IT and renting of premises. Indirect costs are sometimes called overhead costs.
You can apply for a project duration of between two and four years. Maximum project budget is two and a half million kronor per year, on average over the chosen project time. For a two year project you can apply for a maximum of five million kronor and for a four year project you can apply for a maximum of ten million kronor. For specific budget years you can apply for less or more than two and a half million kronor, as long as the maximum average amount over the duration of the project is not exceeded. The total budget for the call is 120 million kronor.
Applications with a requested amount or project duration that are not within the specified ranges will be rejected in an early stage and will not proceed to review.
The budget of the application should indicate how the funds will be used in the project over the two to four years duration of the project. The funds may then be used for an additional 12 months after the project time ends. For administrative reasons, Formas can apply a payout plan that differs from the application’s allocation of the budget over time. This, however, does not affect the actual project time. For this call, the payments for the first budget year of the project will be made already in December 2022, and starting date is therefore preselected in Prisma, but you can still choose to start the project during 2023.
You should write your application in English, since the review panel that will assess your application is international. If you do write your application in Swedish, a professional translator will translate into English only the section describing the research programme. You will not be able to change the translation before the application proceeds to assessment. However, the popular science description must be written in Swedish, while the abstract should be in both Swedish and English. Your budget specification and CV will not be translated. These should therefore always be written in English, even if you write the other sections in Swedish and submit your 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 it is 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 application should not contain personal data of anyone who is not included in the application.
The popular science description and project abstracts in 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 fields should not contain sensitive information.
At Formas, we are very keen to ensure that the projects we fund are carried out in a way that maximises positive and minimises negative impacts on the environment and climate. We therefore encourage applicants to design their projects so that collaboration takes place primarily through digital 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.
Formas is tasked with working to achieve sustainable societal development. Crucial to such development is that it is equal and inclusive. Formas therefore encourages applicants to design projects so that they can provide knowledge that reflects and is relevant to different groups in society. Formas also encourages applicants to consider that the project group has an even gender distribution and that it includes participants with different backgrounds and experiences. 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, where you add the information you need for your application. In Prisma, you must create a personal account.
All limits for the maximum number of characters refer to characters including spaces. We recommend that you choose the Arial font in font size 12 for the information you enter in all text boxes.
Your application must include a clear description of the project under the following sections:
- Number of years for which the application applies.
- Start month: The default set in Prisma is December 2022 (your actual starting date may be later than this).
- Project title in Swedish and English (max. 200 characters including spaces).
- Popular science description in Swedish (max. 4,500 characters including spaces) If the project is awarded funding, the popular science description will be published in open-access project databases without a confidentiality review. The contents of this field should therefore not contain sensitive information.
- Abstract in Swedish and English (max. 1,500 characters each including spaces). Project abstracts for awarded projects will be published in open-access project databases without a confidentiality review. Therefore, the contents of these fields should not contain sensitive information.
- Goals and purpose, background description containing a review (overview) of the research field, and the project’s relevance to the purpose and focus of the call (max. 7,000 characters including spaces).
- Project description, that explains how the research question and the composition of the project team are aligned with the purpose and focus of the call, the project’s role in developing the research field, current research and other ongoing research in similar fields. You should also state and explain the methodology, implementation, and plan for scientific publication. Explain the project plan including the resources and expertise required to carry out the work. Include a timetable. (Max. 15,000 characters including spaces).
- The project’s societal relevance. This involves how the project addresses important societal or sectoral issues within the call’s focus, how it can promote sustainable development, and how it takes into account the needs of different stakeholders and/or users of the new knowledge. (Max. 8,000 characters including spaces).
- How communication and dialogue are planned with relevant stakeholders and/or users of the new knowledge during the project (max 8,000 characters including spaces).
- References included in the text above should be entered in this field (max. 5,000 characters including spaces).
You report the project budget in Prisma. Note that you must always write the budget and budget specification in English; any Swedish budget specification will not be translated but will instead be assessed as is by the international review panel. In Prisma, enter the total amount you are applying for in kronor using digits. For example, 1 million kronor should be written as: 1 000 000 kronor.
The budget should include the following:
- Salaries, including social security contributions 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 implies that someone who already has full salary funding from any funding source cannot receive additional salary funding. Researchers who are full-time pensioners cannot receive funding for their own salary.
- Percentage of salary refers to the percentage of the applicant’s full-time salary that their salary in this project corresponds to.
- Activity level in the project refers to the percentage of a full-time position that the participants contribute. It also indicates whether the applicant is contributing in-kind or other funding to complete the project.
- Running costs include, for example, travel, collaboration activities, conferences and workshops, purchases of data or materials, analyses, premises, publication in open-access journals and databases, and other related costs. Specify operating costs in accordance with practices at the administrating organisation.
- Equipment costs and depreciation costs. Specify equipment costs and depreciation costs for equipment used in the project, if relevant. The total maximum amount you can be granted for equipment and equipment depreciation costs is in this call 1 000,000 kronor.
- Premises. You can apply for funding to cover the cost of premises if this is not already included as overhead in the project’s budget. Specify premises costs in accordance with the applicable practices at the administrating organisation.
- Total applied/Subtotal refers to costs already entered in the previous budget tables, which will be automatically transferred to this table.
- Indirect costs refer to overhead costs. When you specify overhead costs in the application, you should do so according to the practice of the organisation that will manage the grant. If funds are to be transferred from the administrating organisation to another organisation involved in the project, the overhead cost of the receiving organisation can be applied to the funds transferred. Explain and report the different overhead costs in the budget specification. The total overhead for the project must be entered in the budget table. Formas does not grant funding for overhead costs that you write off for equipment or premises.
- Other costs refer to funds not sought but relevant to the completion of the project. An example is co-funding from partners or project funding from other sources.
- Total cost refers to a budget summary.
- Budget specification explains the budget in words. State how the grant amount you are applying for will be distributed each month, as well as the total amount for each organisation if funds will be transferred to other organisations. Provide a brief justification for the salary expenses stated in the budget. All other costs must be justified, such as costs for participating in conferences, publication fees for open-access publications and data, and similar. A description of the total project budget, including funding from other sources, should also be included. The budget specification is part of the application assessment. (Max. 7 000 characters including spaces.)
You should specify whether there are specific ethical concerns in your project. If so, state what these ethical concerns are and how you plan to manage them. Examples include research that uses personal data or research involving experiments on humans or animals.
Even if you do not expect your research to involve ethical concerns, you should state this in your application and briefly explain why not (max. 4 000 characters including spaces).
Formas uses the project’s classifications in analyses and supporting documentation on an overall level. The classifications are made by the applicant indicating 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-levels that together form the entire code.
- Sustainable development goals
Select at least one and up to three sustainable development goals (SDGs) the project can help to achieve, in order of relevance.
More about the meaning of the goals External link.
Enter at least 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 organisations that are approved for all calls can submit an application. Prisma contains a default list of approved administrating organisations. From the dropdown list, select:
- Your administrating organisation
- Your project site
- The main applicant invites participating researchers to the application in Prisma.
- A participating researcher is a researcher with a PhD degree who is considered to be 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; only the main applicant can.
- All participants must have created their own personal account in Prisma.
- Main 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 the CV information from their personal account in Prisma and add it to the application. Applicants should review in good time that their CV in Prisma is complete and up to date. If the participating researchers have not accepted the invitation to participate or completed the required fields correctly, the main applicant will not be able to complete registration of the application. Participants who are not co-applicants are not able 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.
- Education. Postgraduate, undergraduate and graduate level.
- Employment history. Current employment and major relevant prior positions, postdoctoral stays, postgraduate exchanges that are relevant for the research, and 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; add either as an individual person or as a group. When adding a group, enter the total number for each category. When adding an individual person, name the most relevant ones (max 10).
- Grants received in competition: Specify the most relevant ones (max. 10).
- Awards and distinctions: Specify the most relevant ones (max. 10).
- Other qualifications, including summary of publications:
- List other qualifications that are relevant to the application, such as popular science publications and proven experience of collaboration and research communication (max. 10).
- The main applicant and participating researchers should also provide a brief summary of their publications during the past five years as well as the total number of publications if the applicant’s active research period exceeds five years (max. 800 characters including spaces). This summary should include the following:
- The number of publications of various types, such as articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, books and other monographs, conference papers and popular science contributions.
- Any citation metrics should be given, excluding self-citations, and the database they are retrieved from.
- The summary should not contain information about the H-index, the journal impact factor, or any other type of metric used to rank publishers or journals.
The main applicant and participating researchers should list up to ten of their most relevant publications. The publications should be linked from the applicants’ personal profiles in Prisma.
Appendix for illustrations. If you need figures, tables or images to describe the project, you can upload them as attachments here. A maximum of one PDF attachment of 4 MB can be uploaded. Note that a CV should not be attached as an appendix.
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 been approved by the administrating organisation.
- The application’s focus falls within Formas’ areas of responsibility.
- The focus of the application falls within the call’s areas.
- The application is complete and contains all mandatory information.
- The budget and the project time are within the limits of the call.
- The requirements for project managers, project participants and organisations under “Applicant and organisation requirements” are met.
- The main applicant responsible for other projects or activities funded by Formas has submitted any requested reports by the stated deadline.
The application will be assessed by an international review panel that is qualified to cover the current theme in the call. The application is assessed based on its 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 review panel. The review panel is composed of active researchers as well as individuals outside academia with the expertise necessary to evaluate the relevance of the research.
Formas will take the project portfolio into consideration before finalising the funding decision, in order to enable the funding of projects that address a wide range of themes within the framework of the call.
The applications are assessed based on the following criteria on a scale of 1-7, where 1 is the lowest and 7 is the highest.
The applications are assessed based on the following criteria:
Criteria for scientific quality
- Scientific relevance of the purpose
- Originality and novelty of purpose, theory and hypotheses
- Possibility of scientifically significant results
- Alignment of the purpose with the purpose and focus of the call
- Multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches when they relate to the question at hand
A consideration of gender equality, class, ethnicity or other critical social perspectives should be included in the research question where relevant.
Method and performance
- Feasibility and suitability of the scientific method
- Whether the execution plan and timetable are well-defined and realistic
- Whether the publication and communication plan is well-defined and realistic
- The coordination of the project and research team
- Suitability of the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches
- Whether the proposed research requires ethical considerations and how the applicant plans to take these into account
- The reasonableness of the budget in relation to the project’s organisation and expected results.
Of these points above, the feasibility and suitability of the scientific method carry the most weight.
- Scientific quality of publications
- Ability to complete the project according to plan
- Supervisory experience
- Project management experience
- National and international activities, including projects, networks, assignments, honorary assignments, and 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.
When several researchers collaborate, each individual researcher’s scientific expertise is evaluated as well as the team’s overall scientific expertise.
The review panel assesses the quality of scientific publications with respect to the standards within each field. The assessment focuses on the content and quality of the publications rather than on where they were published.
Publications are only part of what is considered in the criterion of scientific competence. In their assessment, the reviewers also consider other forms of results achieved and experience. This includes, for example, the dissemination of knowledge, training, patents, products, or impact on policy.
The assessment takes into account relevant reasons for any gaps in research, such as parental leave or sick leave, that might have had an impact on the applicant’s overall productivity. So, the results and experience described by the applicant are assessed in relation to periods of active research.
Societal value of research question
- The research question relates to important societal or sectoral issues within the call’s focus
- The project can contribute in the short or the long term to sustainable development
- In the project’s design, applicants consider the needs of different stakeholders and/or users
- The purpose of the research is aligned with the purpose and focus of the call
Taking into account the needs of stakeholders or users can include references to directives, environmental objectives, the UN’s sustainable development goals and related targets, and discussions with the relevant stakeholders or users.
The terms “stakeholders” and “users” are broadly defined as actors who can benefit from the research results or enable their future use in society. This includes actors outside or inside the research community (depending on whether the project is of a more basic or more applied nature), nationally or internationally.
Communication with stakeholders and users
- 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 (b) the project’s plan for communicating the research and its results with the stakeholders or users.
Communication with stakeholders and users can take place in different ways and with different timeframes, depending on the topic. However, it should include various forms of dialogue with stakeholders and the potential users of the research.
The terms “stakeholders” and “users” are broadly defined as actors who can benefit from the research results or enable their future use in society. This includes actors outside or inside the research community (depending on whether the project is of a more basic or more applied nature), nationally or internationally.
Decisions on which projects are granted funding are expected to be taken on 23 November 2022. We publish our decisions the following day at the latest on the Formas website and later by email from Prisma. Grant award 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 progress report must also be submitted to Formas annually. All reports are made in Prisma.
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 of research funded by Formas must be published using open access.
You must also have a data management plan for the data produced in the project. 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.
Any changes to the call text will be listed below.