FORMAS - A Swedish government research council for sustainable development
Formas funds basic and applied research in their three areas of responsibility: environment, agricultural sciences and spatial planning. This means that they support projects focusing on, for example, climate, the circular economy, food, agriculture, forestry, water and urban planning. Around half of their annual budget of over 1.5 billion SEK is distributed via an open call and the remaining budget targets thematic calls, communication projects, and co-funded international activities.
TYPES OF FUNDING
1. Annual open call
The open call is divided into two sub-calls:
- Research projects
- Research projects for early career researchers
2. Mobility grants for early career researchers
3. Communication calls
4. Other types of funding
- ERA-NETs supporting transnational research and innovation
- Urgent grants to tackle research issues that need to be addressed within a limited timeframe
- Grants to organise conferences and workshops based on a theme relevant to Formas’ areas of responsibility
- National research programmes on climate, sustainable spatial planning and food (Forte and Vetenskapsrådet manage other national research programmes)
- Development grants to facilitate the practical use of research results
- Strategic innovation programmes where companies, higher education institutions and other organisations collaborate to develop sustainable products and services of the future in areas that are strategically important for Sweden
Formas grants provide full cost coverage unless the call specifically requires co-funding. For example, development projects require 50% co-funding from an external partner such as a private company, municipality or government agency (but not another research funder or university.)
HOW TO APPLY
Applications to Formas are submitted via Prisma.
In some calls Formas asks for data about SLU as a whole. In these cases the data is to be registered in the budget-part of the application form in Prisma:
- Organization number: 202100-2817
- Organization name: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
- Annual turnover, SEK (2019): 3 669 692 000
- Balance sheet, SEK (2019): 4 303 175 000
- Number of employees (2019): 3 883
- Address: Box 7070
- Zip code: 750 07
- City: Uppsala
- Contact person: The person who signs for SLU, head of department or deputy head of department.
Most applications follow a similar format and are assessed against the same five criteria:
- Research topic
- Methods and implementation
- Scientific excellence
- Potential societal benefit
- Communication with stakeholders and users.
Applications should be written in English since the evaluators are international - if you choose to write in Swedish, it will be translated into English before the evaluation. The exception to this is the short project description, which should be written in both Swedish and English, and the popular science description, which should be written in Swedish.
Formas provides useful information about the application process and evaluation criteria on their web.
Exceptions to the standard application procedure include, for example, when Formas is participating in an ERA-Net or other jointly-funded programmes. In these cases, the call page will detail the appropriate application process.
SUPPORT WITH YOUR APPLICATION
If you have questions about applying to Formas, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual open call seminar and discussion groups
Each year, the Grants Office runs a seminar and facilitates discussion groups to coincide with the beginning of the annual open call. The seminar includes a presentation on the call (from a Formas representative when this is possible) and speakers offering the perspectives of an evaluator and a successful applicant from SLU. After the seminar, there is the possibility to join a discussion group related to the open call, where you have the opportunity to receive feedback on a draft of your application and offer feedback to others.
Please contact the Financial Officer/Administrator at your department for support with budgeting in SLU´s project calculator. The budget form in the Prisma application system can vary a little between calls, but in most cases, it has the same cost structure as in SLU´s project calculator.
Formas have provided some additional guidance on how to address the communication criterion for the open call. However, this is also useful for other Formas proposals where communication is included in the evaluation criteria. Many departments at SLU have their own Communication Officers. They may be able to offer you advice or answer your questions about using communication effectively to deliver project results to the people who can benefit from them.
Data management plan
Formas requires that every project they fund has a data management plan. You are not required to send this plan to them with your proposal or upon starting your project; however, you must be able to present it upon request. Formas recommends that you follow the guidelines for data management plans developed by Science Europe. You can read more about Formas´ recommendations here.
To assist both researchers and other staff at SLU to manage data, we have designed a DHP template that meets the requirements of VR (the Swedish Research Council), FORMAS and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. You find it here.
If you have questions concerning data management plans or need help to create one, please contact SLU’s Data Curation Unit at email@example.com.
Reading successful applications is a great way to learn about proposal writing, and Formas makes all successful applications publically available. You can search their project database by keyword, organisation, person, grant type etc. to find proposals relevant to your area of research. You can then submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the proposal(s) you would like to read – remember to include the relevant project number(s) in your request.
MANAGING A PROJECT
All project reporting is handled in Prisma. The scientific report is registered and approved by the project leader. The financial reports (often yearly) are registered by a Financial Administrator at the department. After registration the financial report is sent to the project leader for approval. Approval means that the report is submitted to the funding body. Formas have provided information on their website about what information you are required to submit to them as part of the reporting.