Call for nominations: Career grants 2021

Last changed: 25 November 2020

The Vice-chancellor announces Career grants for especially outstanding researchers in the early stages of their careers ("junior researchers"). The grants amount to SEK 1 million per year for three years. In 2021, five grants will be awarded. The call is scheduled to be repeated every two years.

News in 2020: The announcement of career grants is only directed at junior researchers. The previous career grants for senior researchers will no longer be announced. The lower limit for career age has changed (the current interval is 4-10 years after the doctoral degree). Furthermore, the grants are linked to a career development program.

Proposals are received in the form of nominations, which are made in two stages:

  • Heads of departments are invited to nominate candidates and submit to the responsible faculty by 10 December 2020 at the latest (send to the faculty's research officer). Each faculty decides on the maximum number of proposals that departments may submit.
  • Faculties make a selection amongst the proposals received and submit their nominations to the Vice-Chancellor by 22 January 2021 at the latest (send to boel.astrom@slu.se). Each faculty may nominate up to 4 (NJ 6) candidates. Please note the instructions on gender balance under Selection process.

The purpose of the grants, as well as conditions, selection process, assessment criteria and instructions on what the nomination dossier should contain are set out below.


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Purpose

The purpose of the career grants is to recognize outstanding young researchers with the potential to develop into prominent research leaders, and to provide additional financial resources as well as support for strategic skills development. The grant is intended to facilitate the recipient’s development of independent research and acquiring of further qualifications. It is also an encouragement for increased risk-taking in research.

Conditions

The career grant is awarded to researchers who have completed their doctorate a minimum of 4 years, and a maximum of 10 years prior to the date when the grant is received, i.e. between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2017. The date on which the diploma is issued applies.

Deviations from the time limit are accepted if the nominee has been on parental leave or taken part in national service since completing the doctorate, or for other valid reasons.

Grants are only given to individuals who are employed by and carry out their entire activities at SLU. Grants can be given regardless of the type of employment of the recipient. If the recipient leaves SLU, funds corresponding to the remaining grant period will be withdrawn.

The grant is valid from 1 July 2021. The funds are paid to the recipient's department but are personal and can be disposed of freely by the recipient. Researchers receiving career grants are expected to continue to apply for external funding.

In addition to the grant, recipients are also provided with a career development program. Through this, the recipients receive training in leadership, pedagogy, etc., designed according to the recipients' common needs, and will take part in a mentoring program.

At the request of the Vice-Chancellor, the recipient is obliged to submit a short report describing the main results and in what manner the grant has contributed to the development of research and the possibilities of establishing independent research. A publication list for the relevant period and financial accounting shall be included. The report will be used to evaluate the grant scheme as a whole in 2023.

Selection process

  • Departments are invited to nominate candidates. Proposals are submitted to the responsible faculty. The content of the nomination dossier is described below. The faculty decides how many nomination proposals each department may submit.
  • Each faculty may nominate a maximum of 4 candidates (NJ: 6). Gender distribution must be equal, i.e. within the 40/60 range, unless there is a specific reason the faculty wants to refer to, which means that there are no suitable candidates of the under-represented sex. The selection shall be made on the basis of the criteria described below. The dean is responsible for the selection after assessment of proposals from the departments. A written justification must be provided regarding how each candidate’s research focus contributes to the faculty’s/SLU’s profile. Ranking of candidates is not required. For the sake of transparency, the faculty board should be informed of the process.
  • The Vice-Chancellor will decide how many of the nominations will proceed to peer review.
  • Peer review is carried out using a specially designated external review panel. The assessment is carried out in accordance with the criteria described below.
  • The Vice-Chancellor decides on the distribution of the grants after discussion with the deputy Vice-Chancellor and pro Vice-Chancellors. The expert assessment is advisory. The aim is to allocate grants across strategically important areas in order to avoid excessive concentration in the same research area. In the case of equal qualifications, candidates of the underrepresented sex shall be chosen. The added value of the grant may also be taken into account, in view of the nominee’s funding situations.

The nomination dossier

The dossier must be written in English (unless otherwise stated) and contain the following:

  • Project title and summary description of the planned research, maximum 1/2 A4 page (in Swedish)
  • Description of planned research, as well as the candidate's view of his/her role as a future research leader, maximum 2 pages.
  • A description of all scientific achievements, maximum 2 pages. 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 page.
  • CV, including detailed information of when the nominee completed their doctorate, as well as any parental leave or similar since completing the doctorate, maximum 3 pages. NB: Please use the CV template provided here.
  • A complete list of publications, if possible including bibliometric indicators (Web of Science or Scopus).

Please submit the dossier as one single pdf document, marked with the candidate's name.

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

  • 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. Innovative ideas and cross- or transdisciplinary approaches should be especially noted.
  • The candidate’s independence and potential as a future research leader
  • Overall scientific excellence (merging of the first five aspects)

The faculties and the Vice-Chancellor will also use the following criterion:

  • The research direction’s significance for SLU’s possibility of maintaining high-quality activities within important strategic areas.

As regards the criterion of independence, reviewers must be made aware of the risk that male and female candidates are assessed differently in this regard (see ‘Observations on gender equality in a selection of VR’s review panels 2012’, report from the Swedish Research Council; in Swedish only).

Timetable for career grants 2021

12 November 2020
The call opens. The Vice-Chancellor invites the departments to nominate candidates.

10 December 2020
Nominations are forwarded from the head of department to the faculty.

22 January 2020 
Nominations are submitted from the faculty to the Vice-Chancellor.

February 10, 2020
Decision on proposals to be sent for peer review

3 May 2021
Peer review is completed.

26 May 2021
The Vice-Chancellor decides on distribution of career grants in 2021

1 July 2021
The first payment of grants to the recipients’ departments. In order to avoid build-up of surplus capital at the department, SEK 250,000 will be paid in 2021. The full amount of SEK 1,000,000 will be paid in 2022 and 2023, and the remainder of the grant, SEK 750,000, will be paid in 2024.


The Swedish Research Council’s rules for deductible time are applied: “The Swedish Research Council's approved reasons for deductible time are parental leave, positions of trust within trade unions and student organizations, compulsory service in the total defense, longer illness (sick leave or care of children / relatives), general service (AT; maximum 24 months), as well as further education / specialist service for clinically active professional categories (maximum 24 months). Please note that we do not approve other employment, unemployment or holidays as deductible time.”

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