The transition to a circular economy is one of the important building blocks towards sustainability, since reuse, remanufacturing and recycling contribute to the long-term use of materials and other resources, and thereby limiting the excess extraction of virgin resources. This applies to both bio-based and non-bio-based resources.
The shift from linear to circular economy, and from the concept of value chains to value cycles, is a complex process for the society. The shift requires changes in almost all sectors of the society. Various aspects need to be addressed, such as policy development, health considerations, working life environments, individual and societal behaviour, social aspects, etcetera. Although many technical solutions and circular initiatives already exist, there are still large knowledge gaps, spanning all the way from basic research to initiatives close to market, such as innovation and other implementation in society.
Research funders in India and Sweden now open a joint call on Circular Economy. The call is a collaboration between:
- the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India
- the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India
- the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India
- Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)
- Formas, the Swedish government research council for sustainable development
- Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency
- Forte, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
- the Swedish Research Council
- the Swedish Energy Agency.
The purpose of the call is to support research and innovation projects that are highly relevant for, and support a, transition towards a circular economy.
The call is open to organisations in Sweden and India wishing to collaborate. Participation from different types of actors is encouraged, such as registered companies (including LLP), universities, university hospitals, research institutes or other relevant actors. Project teams must consist of at least three partners, including at least one from each country.
The purpose of the call is to support research and innovation projects that are highly relevant for, and support a, transition towards a circular economy. Proposed projects must describe clearly how they contribute to increased sustainability. Demonstration activities, including feasibility studies, may be included. The call seeks to fund applications for conducting research with a high societal relevance, both basic and applied, and innovation promoting the transition, nationally in India and Sweden, as well as internationally.
The proposals must address their topics with a broad system perspective and preferably, where relevant, with a cross-sectorial approach, working with the topic from multiple perspectives. With a clear system approach. The application should also specify the expected long- or short-term impact of the project. The projects must generate impact or new, generic, knowledge in their respective fields and contribute significantly to the shift towards a sustainable society.
The call welcomes proposals within a broad range of areas. Topics relevant for the call include, but are not limited to:
- Challenges related to value chains, for example material flows such as electronic, textile, energy, recycling processes as well as mining wastes
- Comparative studies and projects analysing the short- and long-term effects of circular initiatives
- Life sciences and health
- Plastic wastes in oceans
- Societal challenges for transition to a circular economy, for example policies, government, etcetera, as well as aspects relevant for the citizens
- Business models for a circular economy
- Welfare, including work-life
- Circular economy and the citizens, for example behaviour, nudging, cultural and social values.
The Swedish research funding agencies, through Formas, can fund all the subthemes above. DST can fund the first two subthemes. DST can fund project activities related to subtopics five to eight as parts of technical projects. DBT can fund projects within life sciences and health, as included in the third subtopic above. BIRAC funds the industry-components of projects (academia with industry / only industry) within the same thematic research and development areas as DBT. MoES can fund projects within ocean wastes, plastic wastes and marine litter, as mentioned in the fourth subtheme above.
It is preferable if projects address their research questions from more than one of the sub-themes mentioned above and involve stakeholder representatives relevant for the topic of the project.
Research and innovation on the implementation of circular economy initiatives include drivers and barriers at different levels for implementing circularity, establishing trust between various actors in the system to enable sharing and reuse of products and materials, and norms surrounding used products. Research and innovation could also more broadly address the implementation of research results in various settings or organisations or focus on the development or improvement of services utilising research findings. In whatever form implementation efforts are addressed, it is important to include and consider the needs, values and priorities of social actors and end-users in the research and innovation process to achieve lasting results.
Projects could be based on one or more circular solutions or initiatives; user involvement and co-design is particularly encouraged.
Instructions to applicants
Please note, different conditions for Indian and Swedish applicants apply. Please read this section carefully. This and subsequent sections are specific for Swedish applicants! For general information, please see the joint all guidelines (pdf) , 474.4 kB..
Organisations in Sweden and India wishing to collaborate. Participation from different types of actors is encourages, such as registered companies (including LLP), public sector, universities, university hospitals, research institutes or other relevant actors. For organisations engaged in economic activity, such as municipal companies, private companies and other organisations, Formas applies EU state aid rules.
The call is aimed at individuals who work in academia, the public sector, non-profit associations, the business sector and other organisations. Sole proprietorships cannot receive funding.
Project teams must consist of at least three partners, including at least one from each country. On the Indian side, a maximum of three participating organisations is allowed. On the Swedish side, a maximum of eight participating organisations is allowed. More actors may be involved as consultants in the project if it is found to be relevant for the project goals.
A project coordinator must be appointed from each nation per project. The coordinator is responsible for submitting the application, project coordination and the contact point for the project. The project coordinator on the Swedish side may be any eligible type of actor.
Both direct and indirect costs are eligible. Direct costs include costs for salaries and operating costs that are directly attributable to the project. Indirect costs are those shared with others in your organisation, such as administration, IT and renting of premises. Indirect costs are sometimes called overhead.
The total amount of salary received for an individual researcher, PhD student or other participant must correspond to the level of activity in the project and must not exceed 100 percent of a full-time position. This means that additional salary funding cannot be granted to staff who already have full salary funding. Participants who receive a full-time pension cannot receive funding for their own salary.
Projects must be a minimum of one year and a maximum of 3 years (12 –36 months). Projects may start in December 2022 at the earliest and April 2023 at the latest. It is desirable that research and development efforts of the Swedish and Indian side are matching. However, it is not required that the Swedish and Indian budgets within a project are balanced.
On the Swedish side, the maximum grant amount is SEK 2 million per year, per project. Thus, total maximum grant is SEK 6 million per project. A total of SEK 69 million has been earmarked for the call for the Swedish side of the projects receiving funding.
Companies and other organisations engaged in economic activities are subject to state aid regulations External link.. Such organisations 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.
Start-ups, i.e. companies fulfilling the European commission criteria for start-up activities, can receive grants for up to 80% of their eligible costs.
Organisations not engaged in economic activities can receive grants for 100% of their eligible costs.
We advise you to write your application in English as the same project description should be submitted to the Indian funders and the evaluation committee is international. For applications written entirely in Swedish, only the project description 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.
The funders are eager to fund projects that maximise the positive and minimise the negative impacts on the environment and climate. We therefore encourage 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. Project planning should include measures that minimise energy use and other resource consumption, emissions and waste. However, this will not be part of an application’s assessment at this time.
The involved research funding agencies encourages the development towards a sustainable society. Crucial to such a development are equal opportunities and inclusion. Therefore, applicants are encouraged 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. Applicants are also encouraged to consider gender balance in the project team and include participants with different backgrounds and experiences.
How to apply
This section is specific for Swedish applicants! For general information, please see the joint all guidelines (pdf) , 474.4 kB..
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.
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.
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 Pernilla Hjert Elgström (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 Pernilla Hjert Elgström (email@example.com) no later than June 8th.
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. External link..
Information your application must include
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.
- Number of project years. Note that only 1 and up to 3 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. The project teams must write a project description using the predefined template and submit as an appendix in respective application. Please note, the project description must be identical in the applications on the Indian and Swedish side. The project description template is found on respective funding entity’s website. Failure to comply with this will affect the evaluation of the proposal.
The Swedish budget of the project, funding and other information regarding all organisations participating on the Swedish side in the application should be described in Prisma. In Prisma, amounts should be written in full. For example, 1 million SEK should be written as: 1 000 000 SEK.
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 Swedish coordinating project party and other project parties
This is mandatory information. The Swedish 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).
Assessment of applications
The applications will be evaluated on the criteria below. The proposals must therefore clearly address each of them. The evaluation is performed based upon the information given in the applications. First, parallel national evaluation processes take place in accordance with the involved research funding agencies’ standard procedures. Secondly, a bilateral evaluation process is carried out, where a joint evaluation meeting between the Swedish and Indian reviewers is the central part. The reviewers consist of experts relevant for the research and development area of each application.
1. Potential and impact
- Alignment to the aim and topic of the call
- Relevance of the project (scientifically, technically, societally, etc.)
- Quality of the project (scientifically, technically, societally, etc.)
- Short- or long-term impact of project, nationally, regionally or globally
- Communication and dissemination plan
- Activities to enhance implementation of project results
- Relevant stakeholders are actively involved
- The general design, including time-plan, of the project
- Suitability of method, work-plan and budget
- The balance between the project's feasibility, risks and its potential gains
3. Project consortium
- The competence of the project team
- Project coordination and how well the efforts of the partners complement each other in achieving the common goal
- The complementary efforts of the partners in achieving the common goal
- The appropriateness of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches
- Gender distribution, commitment, and influence of the project team (key people)
4. Added value of bilateral collaboration
- Advantages of partnering between Indian and Swedish experts in the project
- Potential to increase Sweden’s and India’s international competitiveness in the field
By the time of application, consortium partners should agree on subjects such as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in a Consortium Agreement. Swedish applicants, please note this is a special requirement for this call. Swedish applicants should not submit their agreement to Formas. Applicants may request more time to finalise the Consortium Agreement, but it should be finalised no later than the Joint Review Meeting (please see timeline below). Swedish applicant may find a guide on how to write a data management plan on Formas’ website Good to know before you apply - Formas External link.
According to Swedish law, the application and its appendices are considered as general public documents after they are submitted to Formas. This means that anyone can request to read your application. Before we disclose any applications, we always conduct a confidentiality assessment. We hide sensitive information as legislated for in the Public Access and Secrecy Act (2009:400). As an applicant, you can mark the parts you believe should be treated as confidential, but it is Formas’ assessment during the confidentiality review that determines what is disclosed.
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 SweCRISExternal link. External link., a national database of grant funded research that was instituted by request of the government.
- Opening of call 5th of May
- Closure of call 22nd of June
- Formal decision and declaration of result 15th of November
- Earliest formal start of projects 1st of December and first payment December