Last changed: 27 October 2023

Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation – The largest private funder of research in Sweden

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation (KAW) supports basic research in Sweden with around 2 billion SEK annually, primarily focusing on medicine, natural sciences and technology, but to some degree also research in humanities and social sciences. Besides an annual call for research projects of high scientific quality, KAW supports individual researchers through the Wallenberg Academy Fellows, Wallenberg Scholars and Wallenberg Clinical Scholars programs.

There is also several other foundations funded by the Wallenberg family.

Types of funding

1. Research projects with high scientific quality
Once a year, KAW invites all Swedish universities to nominate a number of proposals for research projects of high scientific potential in science, technology or medicine. A KAW project should be proposed by a research team consisting of 2-5 independent researchers with complementary expertise, who join forces to focus on a coherent research question of basic scientific nature. In general, a KAW project has a budget of SEK 15-40 million and runs for three to five years. In order to apply for a KAW project, you must submit a letter of support signed by the Vice Chancellor, to your application.

2. Wallenberg Academy Fellows
Wallenberg Academy Fellows (WAF) is a career programme designed to provide promising young researchers, up to 9 years after PhD, working conditions that enable them to focus on research and tackle difficult, long-term research questions. WAF is open to all research areas and is announced every second year (2019, 2021…). Similar to KAW projects, those applying for WAF must first be nominated by their university and also submit a letter of support signed by the Vice Chancellor to their application. Researchers who are admitted to the WAF program will initially receive five years of generous funding that depends on the research area, but around 40% of the fellows also get prolongation for another five years.

3. Wallenberg Scholars
Wallenberg Scholars is a highly prestigious program for established researchers who are considered international leaders in their fields. A new call for Wallenberg Scholars is announced every fourth year and awards the grantees with 20 million SEK to be used freely during a five year period. Applicants must be nominated by their host university.

4. Other types of funding

  • Wallenberg Clinical Scholars – supports world-class researchers who are clinically active
  • Program in Mathematics – funding of guest professors and postdoctoral scholarships in mathematics
  • Postdoctoral scholarships at Stanford University (USA), Massachusetts Technological Institute (USA) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).

Project calculator, co-funding & financial reporting

It is in general important to involve a project economist at your department from an early stage, when developing the budget for a KAW proposal.

1.1. Excel templates
Start making your budget using the SLU project calculator. When the project calculator is complete (all partners) the budget for research projects with high scientific potential and for scholars must be registered in the KAW project budget (in Swedish), which is the budget to be submitted to KAW. In WAF applications it is sufficient with in SLU´s project calculator, the KAW-template should not be submitted to KAW. KAW instructions for budget is in that case "Instead of a budget form, a specification of amount applied for is attached".

1.2. Project start and project end
Dates for project start and project end are registered in the folder 1.Sammanställning. These dates set the headings of the year columns in the other folders. Normally, KAW projects have a start date either 1st of January or 1st of July.

1.3. Social costs - LKP
LKP percentage is registered in the folder 2.Löner cell C10. Current LKP for SLU (in Swedish). If the application contains salaries at another university, a weighted average is to be used for the LKP. Wallenberg allows a maximum of 50% for LKP, all actual LKP above that has to be co-funded. The LKP-gap is automatically regulated in the Wallenberg project budget template.

1.4. Indirect costs and facility costs
KAW normally accepts that a maximum of 20% of the total granted amount is used for OH (indirect costs and premises surcharges). Converted to an OH surcharge on total direct costs, this means 25%.

1.5. Co-funding of direct costs
For project and scholars KAW does not demand co-funding of direct costs (except facility charge and LKP above 50%) in projects. For WAF KAW demands co-funding of at east half of the WAF salary. For new WAF-holders the SLU`s policy is to cover the whole salary. More information under CO-FUNDING below.

1.6. Depreciation
The KAW rule is that depreciation must be started latest two years after project start. With this follows that KAW allows depreciation to be funded with KAW-grant maximum two years after actual project end.

1.7. Co-applicants from other organizations
From possible co-applicant from other Swedish research organizations percentages for indirect cost and facility charges are needed. Additionaly the base on which the percentages are to be added on (salary or salary+operating) is needed.

If participation of an enterprise or an international research organization is needed in the project, the Wallenberg principle says that such costs should be budgeted as purchased services (operating costs). In case substantial participation of this kind is needed, the issue of public procurement should be kept in mind.

1.8. Budget questions and budget review
KAW wants to receive all budget questions via the university budget contact person frank.sterner@slu.se. According to the SLU internal nomination processes for project, scholars and WAF (see HOW TO APPLY below), a budget must be sent to the contact person ca three weeks before the deadline of the call.  For project and scholars the budget should be set up in SLU´s project calculator AND in KAW´s project budget. For WAF a budget in SLU:s project calculator is sufficient.

1.9. Revision of project budget, if the application is accepted
KAW always demands a new project budget if the application is accepted. Except knowledge about granted amount (including how much of the total amount that is allowed to be used for indirect costs and facility costs), other calculation conditions might have changed by that time.

KAW normally requires some level of co-funding by the involved universities, the level depends on the type of funding. In general, KAW does not provide full coverage of indirect costs and facilities, and in some cases there is also a demand for co-funding of the salaries of the applicants.

Project and scholars are qualified for central co-funding according to SLU`s guidelines for co-funding. In these cases central co-funding covers indirect costs, facility costs and LKP not funded by KAW. Specific for WAF is that, besides "OH-gap" according to above, the full salary of the WAF fellow is covered by SLU central co-funding. I.e. in this case SLU co-funds more than KAW´s co-fund demand of at least half of the WAF salary. In cases of WAF-prolongation it is three-part co-funding (see link to guidelines above) of "OH-gap" that can be possible.

Pre-announcement of possible need for central co-funding is included in the SLU internal nomination processes for projects, scholars and WAF, see under HOW TO APPLY below.

Financial reporting of KAW grants is generally done in conjunction with the requisitioning of funds. Furthermore, in connection with the final requisitioning, a financial summary of the entire grant must be appended. The Foundation reserves the right to review projects with the purpose of controlling that the funds have been used to the approved purpose. At SLU questions about financial reporting can be put to projektekonomi@slu.se

How to apply

Many of the calls announced by KAW requires nomination by the host university, meaning that each proposal needs to go through a prioritization process within SLU. This applies to KAW projects, WAF, Wallenberg Scholars, Wallenberg Clinical Scholars and certain parts of the Program for Mathematics. If you are interested in applying to KAW, please contact externalfunding@slu.se or talk to the research officer at your faculty, or read more here:

KAW projects with high scientific potential


Wallenberg Academy Fellows


Wallenberg Scholars


Applications where SLU is co-applicant
No nomination process is needed for KAW applications where researchers from SLU are co-applicants, and in these cases KAW does not require a letter of support from the Vice Chancellor. However, since there is a need for co-financing also in cases where SLU is co-applicant, it is still important that you inform your head of department and the research officer at the faculty in good time before the deadline of the call.

Support with your application

If you have been nominated by SLU to write an application for a KAW project, WAF or Wallenberg Scholars, you can apply for specific support with your application. If you have more general questions about applying to KAW, you are welcome to contact externalfunding@slu.se.

Managing a project

In accordance with the conditions stated in the award letter a scientific report must be submitted to the Foundation along with, where appropriate, a list of scientific publications that mention the support provided by the Foundation. The Foundation’s templates for scientific reporting reporting must be used. All reports are to be submitted via e-mail to kaw@kaw.se.