Career grants for researchers

Last changed: 21 March 2017

The vice-chancellor announces career grants for especially outstanding researchers. The grants are intended for researchers in two different stages of their research careers (see below).

The purpose is to give the recipient a more secure situation for a number of years, giving scope for increased risk-taking in the research. For junior researchers, the grants will also facilitate developing independent research and acquiring further qualifications.

Scientific quality is the main selection criterion, but the areas of significance for SLU’s profile and equal opportunity aspects are taken into account when the grants are distributed.

The grants are distributed in two categories:

  • Early career grant (juniors) - applies to researchers who have completed their doctorate a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 years prior to the date when the grant is received (1 July 2017).

  • Advanced researcher grants (seniors)- applies to researchers who have completed their doctorate a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 years prior to the date when the grant is received (1 July 2017).

Reductions in the time limitations above can be made if the nominee has been on parental leave or taken part in national service.

The grant amounts to SEK 1 million per year for three years (juniors) or five years (seniors). Five grants in each category will be granted during 2017. The announcement is planned to be repeated every other year.

Suggestions are received by nominations in a two-stage process:

  • The heads of department  are invited to nominate candidates and forward to the responsible faculty by 31 January 2017 at the latest (send to the faculty’s research officer). The faculty notifies the maximum number of suggestions each department can forward.
  • The faculties make a selection amongst the received suggestions and forward their nominations to the vice-chancellor by 1 March 2017 at the latest (send to Every faculty can nominate up to 4 (NJ 6) candidates for each category. The gender balance must be equal in both categories.

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The grant is only given to an individual who is employed at and conducts all of their activities at SLU. If the recipient leaves SLU, funds equivalent to the remaining grant period will be recalled. The same individual can only receive a career grant of the same type once.

The grant applies as of 1 July the year in question. The fund is paid to the recipient’s department, but is personal and can be disposed of freely by the recipient. Researchers receiving a grant are expected to continue to apply for external funding.

At the request of the vice-chancellor, the recipient is obliged to produce a short report describing the most important results and in what manner the grant has contributed to the development of the research, including a list of publications for the relevant period, and a financial report. The report will be used during the evaluation of the investment as a whole during 2023.

Selection process

  • The vice-chancellor invites the department to nominate candidates by internal announcement. The suggestions are forwarded to the responsible faculty. The content of the nomination dossier is described below. The faculty decides how many nominations each department can forward.

  • Every faculty can nominate a maximum of 4 candidates (NJ 6) in each grant category. The gender balance must be equal in both categories.

    The selection must be made based on the criteria described below. The dean is responsible for selection, following evaluation of the proposals from the heads of departments. A written justification must be provided regarding how the candidate’s research direction contributes to the faculty’s/SLU’s profile.

    Ranking the candidates in order of priority is not necessary. The relevant faculty board should be informed of the process for the sake of openness.

  • The vice-chancellor decides how many of the nominees in each category are passed on for review by an external expert.

  • The expert review is carried out by Formas, assisted by a specially designated review panel. The assessment is carried out in accordance with the criteria described below.

  • The vice-chancellor decides on the distribution of the grants      following discussion with the deputy vice-chancellor and the pro vice-chancellors. The expert assessment is advisory.

    The final selection is made taking into account gender equality and the goal that grants must be divided over several strategic areas (avoiding too much concentration of grants in the same research area). The gender aspect is decisive in cases of equal qualifications. 

The nomination dossier

  • The dossier must be written in English (unless otherwise stated) and contain the following:
  • Summary project description, maximum 1/2 A4 (in Swedish)
  • Description of planned research, maximum 2 A4
  • CV, including information of when the nominee completed their doctorate and any parental leave or similar since completing the doctorate.
  • Complete list of publications, if possible including bibliometric      indicators (Web of Science or Scopus).
  • A description of all scientific achievements, maximum 2 A4 pages. Junior candidates must describe their role in relation to earlier supervisors/current research group leader (independence).
  • A description of how the research contributes to SLU’s profile,      maximum 1 A4 page.

The dossier from the faculty to the vice-chancellor must also include a brief written justification focusing on the assessment of the research area’s importance from a strategic perspective.

Selection criteria

For senior candidates the following criteria apply:

  • Scientific publication performance (quantity and quality)
  • Other appearance on the international scientific arena (conferences, editorial, collaboration, awards)
  • Ability to attract external funding
  • Supervision of young scientists (doctoral students, doctoral thesis defence, postdocs)
  • Extent and impact of extension/outreach activities
  • Scientific quality and originality of the proposed research
  • Overall scientific excellence (merging of the first six aspects)

For junior candidates the following criteria apply:

  • Scientific publication performance (quantity and quality)
  • Ability to attract external funding
  • Other merits of the candidate (conferences, editorial, collaboration, awards, supervision of young scientists, extension/outreach activities, etc.)
  • Scientific quality and originality of the proposed research
  • The candidate’s independence** and potential as a future research leader
  • Overall scientific excellence (merging of the first five aspects)

For both categories the following is assessed:

  • The research direction’s significance for SLU’s possibility of      maintaining high-quality activities within several important strategic areas (this criterion is only used by the faculty and the vice-chancellor).

Minor adjustments can be made in consultation with Formas.

As regards the criteria for independence for the early career grant, the assessors must be made aware of the risk that male and female candidates are assessed differently in this regard (see VR’s report ‘Observations on gender equality in a selection of VR’s review panels 2012’, in Swedish only).

Schedule for the announcement of career grants 2017

13 December 2016 
The vice-chancellor invites the departments to nominate candidates.

21 December 
Complete advertisement text is published.

31 January 2017 
Nominations are forwarded from the head of department to the faculty.

1 March  
Nominations are forwarded from the faculty to the vice-chancellor.

15 March 
Documentation for expert assessment is forwarded to Formas.

24 May  
The expert assessment is completed.

20 June (at the latest) 
The vice-chancellor decides the distribution of career grants for 2017.

From 1 July  
The grants are paid to the recipients’ department. 

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