RJ's Jubilee Initiative: New prospects for humanities and social sciences

The Board of Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) has decided to allocate SEK 100 million for a Jubilee Initiative.

The social and scientific challenges facing us today seem more extensive than ever. They are often global in origin or impact. Humanities and social sciences have a considerable capacity to provide perspectives on, and solutions to, such problems. In the Jubilee Initiative, RJ will therefore focus on complex research questions that meet the requirements of being key issues and challenges to research and society. Applicants are asked to propose questions of this kind and justify them.

Success in dealing with key issues calls for collaboration, on an ever growing scale, among researchers from different disciplines. The disciplinary focus of the Jubilee Initiative lies in humanities and social sciences, but researchers from other areas are expected to take part. Since the challenges are often global in nature, tackling the research questions effectively also requires cooperation across national borders. Every project in the Jubilee Initiative must therefore include at least one researcher from a higher education institution (HEI) outside Sweden.

The purposes of the Jubilee Initiative are to make working in new, creative groupings possible and to unite the various academic skills and other resources needed to bring about significant integrative research. Applicants are to enjoy full freedom to decide independently on the theme and design of their research. Studies oriented towards methodology and theory, as well as empirical investigations, are welcomed — as are applications aimed at generating new structural and organisational advances.

To give the researchers optimal conditions for their work, the Jubilee Initiative will allow a higher degree of freedom than RJ’s regular forms of support. The usual requirement that applicants must have issued final reports on work funded by current RJ grants has been dropped and research staff can spend up to 100% of their time on research.

RJ is expecting to fund eight to ten research groups. In addition, there will be scope for cofunding from the HEIs, although this is not a requirement. RJ’s grants can thus be used as a powerful, flexible instrument in the HEIs’ development work and to try new types of relationships between funders and research practitioners. A benchmark for the size of RJ’s grant is SEK 12 million, over and above which the HEIs concerned are expected to defray costs.

Application and closing date

Applications must be submitted electronically in RJ’s application system. This system will open on 15 October 2014 and applications must have reached RJ by 4.00 pm on 1 December. Funding decisions will be taken by the beginning of May 2015.

An application must be approved by the grant administrator and signed by the project leader and head of department or equivalent. It must be sent by letter post, to reach RJ no later than one week after the deadline, i.e. 8 December. Only the form with the signatures, not the whole application, should be sent in. RJ will process signed applications only.

Instructions

  • RJ is addressing this call at groups of two to five researchers who apply for salary funding. Researchers who do not apply for salary funding may also be part of the group.
  • The group must include at least one researcher from a higher education institution (HEI) outside Sweden as well as at least one from a Swedish HEI.
  • The disciplinary focus of the Jubilee Initiative lies in humanities and social sciences, but researchers from other areas are expected to take part.
  • Funds can be applied for to cover extended stays abroad, conference participation and academic workshops.
  • Projects may run for two to five years, and applicants must justify the time plan.
  • Applicants must clarify why the research task chosen is a key issue and a challenge, and also show that it is practicable.
  • They must also give reasons why the composition of the research group is adequate and explain the synergistic effects, in academic terms, that the group composition is expected to provide.
  • The applicants must also describe how they plan to make the research findings known to other researchers and to society at large.
  • Applicants may submit only one (1) application.
  • Applying for funds in this initiative does not exclude the option of applying for RJ’s other forms of support.
  • It is not necessary for applicants to have issued final reports on work funded by current RJ grants.
  • Working time in the project may amount to up to 100% for every individual researcher each year.
  • Every participating researcher applying for salary funding must have obtained a PhD by the application date.
  • Professors may receive salary in the project.
  • Researchers aged 67 and over may receive salary in the project, provided that the researcher is employed by a grant administrator.

How to apply

Applications are submitted online, using RJ's web-based application system. The application must be written in English and contain the following information:

  • Title of the project, in Swedish and English
  • Sammanfattning (Summary), comprising a maximum of 1500 characters including spaces, in Swedish and English
  • Anslagsförvaltare (Grant administrator)
  • Subject choice
  • The project description may consist of up to 30,000 characters including spaces, and must cover:
    • The research task, in the form of clear academic questions and/or hypotheses, and reasons why it is a key issue and a challenge.
    • The academic purpose of the focus chosen.
    • The practicability of the project, including the project plan, and justification for its duration.
    • Theory and method.
    • The originality of the project and how it relates to the international research frontline.
    • The internationally most important work in the research area concerned.
    • Specification of international contacts.
    • Specification and justification of resource requirements (salaries and operating costs) and working time for non-research staff.
    • Every research staff member’s current employment situation.
    • Specification of possible cofunding.
    • The researchers’ functions in the project and their relevant skills and qualifications.
    • Synergistic effects, in academic terms, that the composition of the research group is expected to accomplish.
    • The publication strategy.
    • A plan for intended dissemination of information about the project and the research results.
  • Budget
    • Specify salaries, LKP, operating costs and working time for non-research staff. Report the costs of premises and indirect costs of the project.
    • Name all research staff and list them as project participants, with their monthly salary, LKP and working time in the project.
    • Specify SEK 0 for project participants who are not to receive salary in the project.
    • Report working hours for any non-research staff, such as assistance and technicians, ; but do not name them.
    • For every project grant, RJ will award a contribution for indirect costs and costs of premises.
    • RJ also awards a contribution for open-access publication. This cost should not be included in the application.
    • Costs that are not specified or justified will not be approved.
  • Publikationer (Publications): list the five most important publications for every research staff member.

Apply for grants to attend conferences and workshops, and for networks you wish to arrange personally, through the 'research initiation' form of support.

Deadline

  • The application in response to the call must have reached RJ by 1 December at 4 pm.
  • The application must be approved by the grant administrator as follows: a printout of the first page of the application is signed by the researcher and head of department or equivalent, and sent by letter post to RJ. It must reach RJ no later than one week after the deadline, i.e. 8 December.

RJ will process signed applications only

Assessment criteria

The application will be judged according to its contributions to academic renewal and quality, the relevance of the key issue and the challenge, and the practicability of the research plan.

Review process

The applications will be reviewed by a panel of international researchers of high academic repute and with a recognised interest in research questions that cross traditional subject boundaries. The panel may engage external experts if they consider it necessary.

RJ’s Board will take the formal decisions on which applications to approve for funding by the beginning of May 2015.

Project start date: 1 January 2016.

Monitoring and final reporting

Projects in the Jubilee Initiative will be monitored in a similar way to other projects in RJ’s focused initiatives. The monitoring will be carried out by external experts roughly midway through the project period.

Final reporting on projects in the Jubilee Initiative will take place in the form of both a financial report and a report on academic results.