Pufendorf Guest Researcher Program┋Theme


The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) was created to stimulate interdisciplinary research within Lund University. The Institute gives researchers from Lund University support to work together across disciplinary borders. One of the Institute’s instruments for interdisciplinary research is the “Theme”.

A Theme must be innovative in nature and address an academic problem that requires knowledge from several disciplines working together to find a solution. The institute is an incubator for new research ideas and welcomes applications concerning research topics which are at an early stage, and are not yet mature for conventional research funding. Nonetheless, the work on the Theme must have a clear objective and be focussed on paving the way for future research on the subject.

Working on a Theme normally entails pursuit of a common language and common concepts. An interdisciplinary approach puts the research topic in the centre; it becomes a driver for new methods and theories. For example, this can lead to the development of new perspectives, conceptual frameworks, definitions and investigative models, which are examples of research aims well suited for a Theme.

The Theme is encouraged to explore its subject with the help of creative approaches and methods. Members are expected to be open-minded and curious. Each member must be prepared to challenge their own perspective, and the group must be prepared to question and potentially change their original stand point. 

In evaluating an application, emphasis is placed on creativity, on the novelty of the topic and the approach, on the combined expertise of the group and its relevance to achieving the group’s objective.

What the institute offers

The Pufendorf IAS offers a unique environment at Lund University.
The institute forms an oasis in the midst of academic life and offers the time and space to develop new research topics and interdisciplinary ideas.

The building is both modern and historic, an excellent place to share ideas and engage in discussion, flexible and with a high standard for group meetings in terms of both premises and technology. The regular meetings of the Theme group are to be held at the institute. The institute’s premises are available for group members every day of the week, and the group has access to its own office.

The Pufendorf IAS compensates members’ salary costs for work on the Theme, which generally involves 20% of full-time work for eight months. Themes are offered a maximum of SEK 100,000 activities.

In order to enrich the Theme group’s expertise and develop international networks, Themes may invite international visiting research fellows for longer stays during the Theme period.

The staff of the institute contributes through practical, administrative and technical support for planning and work on the Theme.

Members of the Theme

A Theme must be well balanced in terms of knowledge and experience in relation to the questions described in the application. It is essential that the Theme brings together the skills necessary to successfully explore the subject. A Theme generally involves 5–8 researchers from different faculties at Lund University. The most important thing is that the Theme brings together the broad scope of interdisciplinary expertise required in order to address the research questions.

The member’s institutions are compensated for the working hours for the one day per week that the researchers undertake to work at the institute. 

The activities of the Pufendorf IAS are primarily intended for researchers employed at Lund University. In exceptional cases, researchers employed at external institutions may be included among the paid members of the Theme, provided they are able to participate in the regular work that takes place in Lund. Unpaid members have no obligations in relation to the institute and the composition of the Theme’s expertise cannot therefore be based decisively on the knowledge contributed by an unpaid member.

Visiting research fellows

The Pufendorf IAS has a visiting research fellow programme which offers Themes a unique opportunity to expand the group’s expertise by inviting international visiting research fellows for extended stays.

The programme offers international visiting research fellows the opportunity to take a funded sabbatical from their normal employment for all or part of the Theme period. 

In order to qualify for the programme, the majority of the visiting research fellow’s academic achievement and employment must be outside of Sweden and they must contribute to the Theme with especially desirable cutting-edge expertise. They must be prepared to work on the Theme full time on site in Lund for at least one month and a maximum of six months. 

The Theme invites and nominates candidates that must be listed in the application along with proposed dates for their visit. A CV of a maximum of five pages must be attached to the application. The visiting research fellows must be prepared to participate if the Theme is granted.

The institute’s requirements

A Theme works one day per week at the institute and the members are expected to be present and to participate in the work of the group.

The coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the group actively works together. The coordinator is also responsible for communication between the institute’s staff and the group and for supplying the institute with information and documentation concerning the Theme.

The Theme is not expected to produce publishable research results during the Theme period. However, the Theme must present a synthesis of the group’s work at the end of the Theme period. This should be forward-looking and highlight further studies and future plans for the group. The purpose of this output, and its form, must be specified in the application, including how this relates to the aims presented in the application. Further development of its content and form are a part of the work on the Theme.

After the work has been concluded, the Theme will compile a brief report summarising the group’s results in relation to the objectives. All members complete a mandatory questionnaire, which provides important feedback to the institute.


The application is assessed by international experts without any previous knowledge of Lund University, or Swedish circumstances. It must be written in English, be no more than five pages long and include up to ten relevant references. The application must be written using the institute’s template for Theme applications and contain three parts: proposal, budget and CVs. The budget must be compiled and submitted using the institute’s Excel template for applications.

Detailed instructions on the content of the different parts of the application are found in the templates.

Download the Call for Themes 2024 (PDF, 167 kB, new tab)

Download template for Theme application 2024 (Word, 129 kB)

Download the budget template (Excel, 25 kB) 

Date de candidature
1-8 mois
Sciences sociales