Swedish Research Council Distinguished Professor Grant

The aim of the distinguished professor programme is to create conditions for the most prominent researchers to conduct long-term, ground-breaking research with great potential for achieving scientific breakthroughs. The grant shall also enable the establishment and build-up of a major research environment of the highest quality around a leading researcher.

The following requirements must be fulfilled in order for you to be eligible to apply for the grant. We carry out checks to ensure ineligible applications are rejected from further processing.


The applicant must be an individual researcher. You shall be the project leader and have scientific responsibility for the project. You must set aside adequate time for the project throughout the grant period, with a scope (activity level) that corresponds to at least 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent. You must hold a Swedish doctoral degree or a corresponding foreign degree, awarded more than 12 years before the deadline for this call (please see “Career age”).

Grants from the Swedish Research Council shall be administered by a Swedish HEI or another Swedish public organisation that fulfils our criteria for administrating organisations. Your organisation must therefore be approved as an administrating organisation for you to apply.

If you are awarded a grant, you must be employed by the administrating organisation at the start of and throughout the grant period and any additional availability period, unless the Swedish Research Council approves an exception. The employment must equal at least 50 per cent of a full-time equivalent. You do not have to be employed by the administrating organisation at the time of applying.

Career age

To apply for a distinguished professor grant, your doctoral degree must have been awarded more than 12 years ago at the deadline for the call, that is to say awarded 26 February 2007 or earlier. The degree award date we use is the date you fulfilled all the requirements for a doctoral degree, such as mandatory courses, oral defence and an approved doctoral thesis. For applicants with Swedish doctoral degrees, the award date listed in Ladok applies. You will not be able to complete your application if your doctoral degree was awarded at a later date.

Number of applications and previous grants

What grants may I apply for simultaneously from the Swedish Research Council?

You may only submit one application for this grant under this call. Other restrictions on the grants you may apply for during the same year are shown in the table below.

What requirements apply if I already have a grant from the Swedish Research Council?

There are certain restrictions if you are the project leader of a previously awarded grant that is ongoing, that is to say where the grant period (payment period from the Swedish Research Council) overlaps the grant period of the grant this application covers. Please note that the availability period, that is to say the time during which you can dispose the grant awarded, is normally longer than the grant period. Information about the criteria for your previous grant can be found in the “Approval of terms and conditions” you received from the Swedish Research Council.

If you have already been awarded a research project grant:

If you have an awarded and ongoing undirected project grant, this amount will be deducted from the standard amount of 5 million SEK during the grant period that overlaps your awarded grant within the distinguished professor programme. Please note that if you are awarded a grant under the distinguished professor programme, you will not be able to apply for the Swedish Research Council’s undirected project grants during the grant period.

If you are a researcher recruited under the Swedish Research Council’s call for international recruitment:

If you are a researcher recruited under the Swedish Research Council’s call for international recruitment, you will not be able to apply for a grant under the distinguished professor programme.

Other grants:

Please see the table for further information and any restrictions relating to grants you may apply for if you have an ongoing grant.

Note: If you have been the project leader for previous grants from the Swedish Research Council that have ended, final financial reports for all of these must have been submitted within the permitted time frame in order for you to apply for a new grant. Please contact your administrating organisation if you are unsure whether all your final reports have been submitted.

What applies for applications to or grants from other funding bodies?

If your application to the Swedish Research Council relates to the same project concept as a grant you have already been awarded by, or are applying for to another funding body, please describe this.

Participating researchers

You can not invite any participating researchers in this application. Any collaboration partners and their roles shall be described in the research plan (please see instructions under “Research plan” below).

Costs and grant amounts

The grant is in a standard amount of 5 million SEK per year, including indirect costs, and may fund all types of research-related costs, such as

  • salaries (including your own salary, however no more than corresponding to your activity level in the project)
  • premises
  • running costs (such as consumables, travel including stays at research facilities, publication costs and minor equipment)
  • depreciation costs.

Grants may not be used for scholarships. If a doctoral student participates, project funds may not be paid out as salary for the period when the doctoral student is teaching.

The Swedish Research Council assumes that the administrating organisation will cover any costs in excess of the amount received.

Grant period

The grant period is 10 years, starting in January 2020. The first payment will be made in January 2020 at the earliest.

Reporting and follow-up

Five years after the start of the grant period, an activity report focusing on the state of the establishment and build-up of the research environment shall be submitted to the Swedish Research Council. The activity report shall also include a description of the HEI’s contribution to the research environment, and may result in a reassessment of the amounts awarded for the remainder of the grant period.

How your application is assessed

Scientific quality is the fundamental criterion when the Swedish Research Council allocates grants to research. Your application is evaluated in competition with the other applications on the basis of the evaluation criteria stated below. The Swedish Research Council promotes gender equality and mobility in research.

Evaluation process

Your application is evaluated by one of three review panels with broad skills in their respective subject areas and consisting of international reviewers. Each review panel’s work is led by a Swedish Chair. As an applicant you suggest in what review panel your application should be assessed.

At least three members review and grade your application individually. If necessary, statements from external experts may also be obtained. The entire review panel then meets at a review panel meeting to discuss and prioritise the applications, and finally to make a proposal for a decision to the Director General.

Review panels

A certain proportion of the applications with the lowest grades from the members’ individual reviews are screened out ahead of the review panel meeting. These applications will not be the subject of discussion, which gives room for more detailed discussion and prioritisation of the applications of higher quality, which have a reasonable chance of being funded.

The applications screened out only receive an overall grade and a standardised final statement after the decision is made. The other applications receive an individual final statement that reflects the review panel’s discussion and overall assessment of the scientific quality of the application.

Evaluation criteria and guiding questions

The evaluation of the scientific quality of your application is made based on four basic criteria (Scientific quality, Novelty and originality, Merits of the applicant, Feasibility). The purpose of using several components is to achieve a multi-faceted evaluation. The criteria are assessed on a seven-grade scale, except for feasibility, which is assessed on a three-grade grade scale. In addition to the basic criteria, your application is also evaluated using an additional criterion, Added value, on a 7-grade scale, where the build-up of the environment is being evaluated, its potential and the added value of this.

Only applications that are assessed to be of very high quality based on all criteria will be considered for funding within the initiative.

For each criterion, there are guiding questions to support the panel members’ evaluation of your application. These can also function as guidance for you when you write your application. Note that all criteria are weighted equally in the overall assessment.

Scientific quality of the research (1–7)

Guiding questions:

  • Is the proposed research scientifically important?
  • Is the proposed research relevant in terms of its research questions, the proposed solutions, and in relation to frontiers of research in the field?

Novelty and originality (1–7)

Guiding questions:

  • Does the research proposal demonstrate exceptional novelty and a potential to substantially advance the research field?
  • Does the research proposal contain entirely novel ways and methods to approach scientific issues?
  • Does the research proposal generate or explore new research areas?

Merits of the applicant (1–7)

Guiding questions:

  • Is the researcher internationally recognized and a leader in his/her research field?
  • Is it probable that the applicant will develop further as a researcher in the coming 10-year period?
  • Has the researcher contributed with exceptional scientific breakthroughs in his/her previous research?
  • Does the researcher have the ability to attract researchers from various places and establish a creative research environment as well as promoting and fostering excellence in leadership, including the supervision of PhD students and postdocs who also in turn have been successful in research? Is this ability documented from previous research?

Feasibility (1–3)

Guiding questions:

  • Is the choice of research methods, access to equipment, and research infrastructure adequate for the specialisation of the researcher?
  • Regarding the project as a whole, is the competence in place to carry out the research task?
  • Is the University environment adequate to enable build-up of excellent research?

Added value (1-7)

Guiding questions:

  • Does the applicant convincingly describe how the applicant intends to build and develop the research environment as well as manage it?
  • Are there opportunities for long-term build-up and integration of the research environment in the university's activities?
  • Will the proposed initiative strengthen and enhance the quality of research in this field of research at the University, in Sweden and internationally?
  • Will the proposed build-up of the research environment enhance the potential for research breakthroughs and innovative research?

Overall grade (1–7)

The above subsidiary criteria are weighed together into an overall grade, which reflects the review panel’s joint evaluation of the application’s scientific quality.

Application date
10 years
Social sciences