When I came to Sweden after my postdoc with the goal of establishing an independent research group, I was fortunate enough to have colleagues in my department who pointed me towards to right grant applications. Over the nearly two years I have been in Sweden, I have also come to learn a bit more about how Swedish research is funded and what early career researchers seeking for independence can aim for. This post goes over the grants available to you researchers that have already started to work as postdoctoral researcher and wish to reach the next level of independence.

There are a number of major public funding agencies and publicly funded foundations in Sweden.

  • Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, or simply VR) – SEK 3,5 billion in 2016
  • The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) – SEK 1,3 billion in 2016
  • The research council funding research on health, working life and welfare (Forte) – SEK 512 million in 2014
  • Swedish innovation agency (Vinnova) – SEK 2,4 billion in 2014
  • The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (Stint)
  • The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF)
  • But there are plenty other smaller research funders. Please refer to this list for more details.

Swedish research also relies heavily on private foundations, which generously fund researchers, research projects, and research centers. The largest of all being the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (distributed SEK 1,4 billion in 2014). You can also find an exhaustive list of the foundations funding research here.

A bit overwhelmed by the possibilities? Well, that a good sign! Yes, there are a many research funding organizations in Sweden, each having with specific goals. And success rates are not bad (relative to other countries), VR announcing an average success rate of 17.3% in 2016,

Being a young researcher is not an easy thing. We experience high pressure combined with limited opportunities for stable employment. One thing we have going for us however, is the increasing number of grant opportunities specifically target at young researchers. These are often personal grants rewarding early career achievements and an ambitious research program. The most prestigious of this type of grant in Europe being the Starting grant from the European Researcher Council (ERC). The ERC program being a favorite amongst researchers, national funder are now following suit and have created similar grant formats. I have compile a list of the major young research funding schemes in Sweden.


VR – Starting grant.

  • Single researcher who has been awarded a doctoral degree more than two and up to seven years ago
  • 1.5 M SEK per year, for 4 years


FORMAS – Grant for research and development projects for future research leaders

  • Single researchers who has been awarded a doctoral degree two to eight years previously
  • 1 M SEK per year, for 3 years


Forte – Junior research grants

  • For researchers working in the fields of health, working life and welfare and who got a PhD less than 6 years ago
  • Up to 2 M SEK per year, for the first three years. For the fourth year, a fixed amount of 800 000 is granted for career development support.


SSF – Future Research Leaders

  • Awards individuals who have the potential and the ambition to become future leaders of academic and/or industrial research in Sweden.
  • 12 M SEK, over 5 years


Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation – Wallenberg Academy Fellows

  • Awards young researcher previously nominated by their host institution
  • 1.5 M SEK per year over 5 years


Ragnar Söderberg Foundation – Fellowship

  • Awards young researchers working in the field of law, economic science, and medecin.
  • 7 M SEK over 5 years for the fellowship in medicine.


Crafoord Foundation – Research Grants

  • Awards young researcher (but also senior researchers) hosted in Lund University, Linnaeus University, Malmö University, Kristianstad University College, the University of Halmstad, Blekinge Institute of Technology, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Alnarp.
  • 1 M SEK per year for up to 4 years.


This is it for now! I would gladly extend this list if you have any you would like to add. You can also visit this page from Stockholm University’s website, listing the major research funders in Sweden.

One Response to “Get funded in Sweden. A guide for starting researchers.”


    Can I get fund for schoralship to acquire master degree

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