Photo: Krister Hall

Grants to apply for

The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative yearly announces grants for taxonomic research and inventories within poorly known organismal groups. This page gives general information about the announcements and other opportunities to apply for grants for taxonomic research, workshops and inventories.

Minor research grants can be applied for at any time during the year.

Please note - STI's funds are small compared to those of the major research councils. We recommend taxonomists in Sweden who need grants for taxonomic research to apply for grants from Vetenskapsrådet and Formas.

Research

Taxonomic research projects should study groups of multicellular organisms which are poorly known, i.e. is in need of taxonomic revision in Sweden/the Nordic countries. When justified, the projects may also include investigation of higher systematics and cover a larger geographic area.

The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative’s (STI) research priorities can be downloaded from our webpage. Please note that the research needs in many groups of organisms are heterogeneous - some subgroups may be more or less well known, while others are very poorly known. The list of Swedish STI research priorities, are continuously revised and expanded. Comments and suggestions can be e-mailed to Rikard Sundin.

Grants for inventories

Small-scale inventories may be included in the research projects, but grants for inventories can also be applied for separately. To be eligible for support such inventories should be likely to result in several new species for the country. The application should include a thorough plan for the processing of samples incl. species identification, taxonomic treatment (if necessary) and deposition of material in a public natural history collection. Certificates from the specialists who have agreed to process the material from the planned inventory should be enclosed. For medium to large inventories or for workshops including collection and/or processing specimens of poorly known groups, we recommend that you contact our Research Officer, Rikard Sundin.

Publication of results

The project results should be published in the scientific literature. The STI will have the right to use the information e. g. for publishing of information on organismal groups and species and/or identification keys.

Project categories

  • Project grant
  • Ph. D. project
  • Postdoctoral project 
  • Visiting Researcher
  • Senior Researcher
  • Inventories

Project grants

A maximum of three years can be applied for.

Ph. D. projects

These grants are available for a maximum of four years. The main supervisor's supervision is to be funded by the host institution, which should provide a certificate to ensure satisfactory supervision during the entire project period. Only in exceptional cases, funds may be granted for supervision costs – in these cases, the project must be very relevant to the STI.

Doctoral students, for which funding is granted, will be included in the STI’s systematics network and offered to participate in activities within the network without tuition fees. Travel expenses to and from the activities are expected to be covered by the basic project grant and are thus not sought for separately.

Postdoctoral projects

Funding for postdoctoral projects can be applied for:

  • by a Swedish PhD who wants to go abroad or to a Swedish university
  • by a Swedish scientist who wants to invite a foreign scientist for a postdoctoral project or announce an open postdoctoral position (for Swedish or foreign citizens).

Funding for postdoctoral projects are usually granted for a period of one to two years, but in exceptional cases,  a third year could be applied for. Postdoctoral projects are allowed only in the form of a postdoctoral position. The doctoral degree of the postdoctoral candidate should normally not be older than three years.

Visiting Researcher

Funding for visiting researchers in Sweden is normally granted for a maximum of three years. The main applicant is the host, who invites a visiting researcher.

Senior Researcher

Funding for senior researchers may be applied for by well-qualified researchers who intend to taxonomically revise particularly diverse and poorly known groups of organisms. The senior researcher should tackle new and poorly known groups, rather than continue to work in a group they have previously studied. Funding for a senior researcher position is granted for three years. During the third year of the project extension can be sought for another three years.

More about grants for taxonomic research

Applications may include costs for salaries as well as other costs associated with projects, but not bench fees, which should be included in the indirect costs. In many cases a fixed sum for salary costs are used (see the current announcement), in other cases, funds can be sought for the estimated actual costs.

The STI encourages hosting universities/museums to co-fund the research projects.

Who can apply?

The main applicant is the person with the main responsibility for the project and who sign the contract. A co-applicant is any other person who actively takes part in and contributes to the project. A cooperative partner is a person who, normally to a limited extent, contributes to the project (e.g. through sharing collections and/or data) and who doesn't benefit economically from the project grant.

The main applicant should normally have a Ph. D. degree and have documented experience of taxonomic and/or systematic research. He/she should normally be employed by a host institution in Sweden (at least during the project), but co-applicants may be based in other countries. If well justified, even the main applicant can be based in another country. The main applicant will normally be the person doing the main part of the research. Exceptions are PhD projects, open postdoctoral projects and visiting scientists, where the supervisor/host applies. If the applicant is not already a permanent employee at the specified hosting institution, a certificate is required, showing that the applicant is welcome and will be given opportunities for research. A certificate from research partners showing that they will contribute to the project must be enclosed.

Employees of the SLU cannot be main applicant or co-applicants. However, they can be cooperative partners, if it is made clear in the project description that they do not benefit economically from a successful application.

Funds for travel. Long-distance journeys can only be funded if they are well justified and relevant for the Swedish Taxonomy Initiative.

Moderate to high cost equipment (> 100 000 SEK) are only granted support in exceptional cases, based on thoroughly justified needs.

Researchers who previously have received funding from the STI must enclose a brief (1-2 pages A4) report on the results from the last approved project and compare those results with the original project description.

Synergies

Describe possible synergies with other projects and agents, focussing on cooperation with on-going or planned Swedish/Nordic projects (e. g. project within the Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative). Also describe other planned international cooperations.

Checklist

A list of all hitherto known species in the group that will be treated should be included in the application, with notes on which species that hitherto have been found in Sweden (if possible also the other four Nordic countries; Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway).

For what period are the grants available?

All research grants are automatically available one year after the project period, with a possibility of extension.

Duties and conditions

If funds are granted the contract establishes a number of duties and conditions:

  • Annual project report
  • Final report including summary (abstract) in English and Swedish
  • Annual financial reports
  • Annual taxon reports including information on new taxa (n. sp. and taxa new to Sweden) and other taxonomic changes
  • Scientific publication of results, preferrably in journals with an "Open Access Policy".
  • Active contributions to keep SSIC’s database of taxa in Sweden – Dyntaxa – up to date. A minimum requirement is that, by the end of the project, a checklist of the treated group is delivered to the STI.
  • An identification key for the studied group, that the SSIC have the right to publish (with the author's name given) in the Encyclopedia of the Swedish Flora and Fauna or on SSIC's web pages. Inventory projects do not have to produce an identification key.
  • The project's observational data (georeferenced finds of specimens) should be made available in public databases, such as  Swedish Species Information System or in the database of any of Sweden’s natural history museums (available through DINA).
  • Any biological specimens collected within the project should be deposited in a public natural history collection, preferrably in a Swedish museum. Tissue or whole specimens should be conserved in a way that makes DNA-extraction possible.
  • Any gene sequences developed within the project should be deposited in GenBank, BOLD and/or other relevant and public database.
  • The project should, if applicable, follow the international guidelines on "DNA barcoding" issued by CBOL (Consortium for the Barcode of Life).
  • Scientific images produced by the project should, apart from in the usual publications, be published in Morphbank.
  • Results of public interest should also be spread outside the scientific community.

Report Forms. Forms for project reports, financial reports and taxon reports can be obtained from STI’s Research Officer Rikard Sundin.

Evaluation process

Applications for funding for taxonomic research are assessed by the STI’s Scientific Committee, using three main criteria: relevance, scientific quality and feasibility.

Relevance:
 This criterium means that research results should be useful for the taxonomic identification of the Swedish multicellular flora, funga and fauna. Note that a high research priority, according to STI’s list of research priorities (see above) is not necessarily synonymous to high relevance, because relevance is also linked to priorities within SSIC's work towards spreading information on species and taxonomic groups and production of identification tools.

Projects that significantly could increase the knowledge of the Swedish multicellular flora, fauna and funga, such as description of new species or the revision of problematic species complexes, which at the same time are of high scientific quality will ge given priority. Projects that affect many species in poorly known groups, generally are of high relevance, while projects involving single species are of relatively low relevance.

The fact that an application has a high degree of relevance is not sufficient to make it eligible for an STI grant. The application must also meet high standards of scientific quality and feasibility. Projects that are of low relevance to the STI, however, always have low priority in the final selection process, regardless of their levels of scientific quality and feasibility.

Scientific quality and feasibility:
The assessment of scientific quality and feasibility are based partly on the project application, partly on the applicant’s/applicants’ publications and other scientific merits. When it comes to scientific quality the following factors are assessed: choice of method, the applicants' documented experience and scientific skills as well as ability to inform society about the research. Feasibility is how probable it is that the project will be possible to realize as planned, taking the following factors in consideration: the applicants' documented experience and scientific skills as well as the reasonableness of the work- cost- and publishing plans.

Other criteria: 
The final assessment also take in account a few additional criteria. The STI aims to actively contribute to the emergence of a new generation of taxonomists and systematists, to secure endangered skills and to enhance the systematic research environments in Sweden. In addition, STI actively takes account of gender issues, which means that the underrepresented sex may be favoured in the case where two applications are assessed as equally strong.

Minor research grants 

It is also possible to apply for smaller grants for taxonomic research and inventories of poorly known groups of organisms. Such grants can be used for e.g:

  • workshops
  • shorter research visits
  • small-scale inventories
  • small checklist projects
  • illustrations
  • publishing

Minor research grants are limited to a maximum of SEK 100 000 including indirect costs and can be applied for at any time during the year. Please contact Rikard Sundin for further instructions and application form.

Related pages, links and contact information

Contact

Rikard Sundin

rikard.sundin@slu.se

+46 18-672574, +46 70-5802574