Aishe Sarshad, at the University of Gothenburg, received a starting grant from SSMF in 2019.

About the grant

SSMF Starting Grant is intended to give promising young researchers the opportunity to establish themselves as independent researchers. This support is aimed at those with postdoctoral qualifications, and covers salaries and associated operating expenses. 

The grant is applied for by an individual researcher with the aim to establish independent research in Sweden. Only Swedish universities and colleges can be specified as grant administrators in the application. Before the call opens, be sure to discuss the terms and budget details with your intended grant administrator to ensure that you have long-term support for your research.

The research can be carried on on a full-time basis. It can also be carried on on a half-time basis, in combination with half-time clinical practice, for medical practitioners who undertake research. 

The grant can be used for research in all areas of medicine. SSMF supports both basic research and applied research.  

The grant period is four years and the disposition period for the grant is five years. The position begins no earlier than 1 January and no later than 1 July of the year after the application.

Application period

Applications for SSMF Starting Grant is open March 15 – April 15. Please note that the application system closes on April 15 at 23.59 and it is not possible to register a new application, submit or make changes to an existing application after that. Note that both parts of the application should be submitted before the deadline of the application period.

Information about the application and a link to the application system can be found further down on this page.

Eligibility

Researchers who intend to carry out research on a full-time basis and who were awarded a doctoral degree at least 2 and no more than 7 years before the end of the application period are eligible to apply. 

Researchers in clinical practice who intend to combine the research on a half-time basis with half-time clinical work and who were awarded a doctorate at least 2 years and no more than 10 years before the end of the application period are eligible to apply. 

The time is calculated from the date of defense of thesis.

This period may be extended by a maximum of 24 months for sick leave or parental leave, medical internship/specialist residency (AT/ST service) or military service. 

A person who holds a teaching position (lecturer, professor) at the time when the research grant agreement is signed, is not eligible for the SSMF Starting Grant. SSMF allows simultaneous funding from a maximum of two national Starting Grants, including the SSMF Starting Grant. The grants shall constitute financial support early in the research career and are intended to promote development towards scientific independence. Together, the grants provide the opportunity to cover both salary and operating costs. Examples of other starting grants that can be combined with the SSMF Starting Grant are VR Etableringsanslag, Wallenberg Academy Fellows, SciLifeLab fellows och Ragnar Söderberg Fellows in Medicine, and faculty specific Starting Grants.

Amount of the grant and its terms and conditions

The grant covers the cost of salaries for employment as a researcher or the equivalent.  For full-time employment, the amount is SEK, 800,000 per year. For half-time, salary costs equivalent to 50 percent of current clinical practice are covered, though up to a maximum of SEK 800,000 per year, and this is combined with half-time clinical practice. In addition to funds for salary, the grant recipients receive SEK 900,000 per year as a grant to cover operating expenses.

A maximum of 20 percent of the grant might be used to cover indirect project-related costs. The grant is a framework grant and if a grant recipient is awarded additional grants for their employment at their higher education institution during the term of the agreement, the SSMF funds intended to cover their own salary may be used for other purposes within the research project, however no earlier than one year after the beginning of the grant period.

The grant is requisitioned semi-annually in advance by the administering institution. Scientific and financial reports must be approved for funds to be disbursed.

Change of grant administrator, including transfer of management from university to clinic, must be approved by SSMF.

Review process

After submission, applications to SSMF Starting Grant are assessed in two steps. In the first step, a short application (Letter of Intent A) is reviewed by a larger group of experts in medical research. Each application is assessed by three reviewers who rate the application in different categories. In the second step, the highest-ranked applications from step one are assessed by SSMF’s review board. In this step, the main application (Full application B) is assessed by four reviewers.  Innovation, the scientific quality of the project, the applicant’s skills and the practicability of the project are taken into consideration when assessing the applications. The different categories are graded on the basis of a 5-point scale: 1 not sufficient, 2 adequate, 3 good, 4 very good and 5 excellent.

In addition to expert reviews of submitted applications, the most highly-qualified applicants will be called for a personal interview with the SSMF Review Board. The purpose of the interview is to improve the selection process to identify the most suitable candidates. Six to eight applicants for each grant type are called for an interview, which includes a presentation by the applicant followed by a discussion. Participation in the interview is mandatory and the costs associated with the interview are covered by SSMF.

The applicants who have qualified for interviews are called at the end of August and interviews are conducted in Stockholm on September 27, 2024. Final decisions on the award of grants will be announced by e-mail.

Submitting your application

To make an application, you need to have an account in the application system SBS Manager. If you have a Swedish personal identity number and BankID, you should register with Extended authentication and use BankID to log in and manage your matters in the system. If you lack a Swedish personal identity number and BankID, you should register with Basic authentication and log in with username and password.

The application is made electronically and consists of two parts. Both the A and B forms are retrieved and initiated by the applicant by clicking ”Start a new application” on My Page in SBS Manager.

The first part, Letter of Intent A, should be completed and submitted before the applicant begins the second part, Full application B. Letter of Intent A is only signed by the applicant.

Full application B should be signed by both the Head of Department (prefect) and the applicant. Please note that the application must first be signed by the Head of Department for the applicant to be able to sign and submit it. Changes made to the application after it has been signed by the Head of Department and/or the applicant will break the signature and require it to be redone. Signing is done with BankID.

If you have already submitted the A and/or B parts of the application and wish to make changes, you can email apply@ssmf.se and request the form to be opened for editing. Note that this must be done before the end of the application period and that the revised form needs to be signed again and resubmitted!

Note that both parts of the application should be submitted before the deadline of the application period.

The application should be written in English.

In addition to the information specified in the application forms, the following attachments must be attached in pdf format:

  • Research proposal – Letter of Intent A. It must consist of a maximum of 2 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, with single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins, references and any illustrations included. Headings in the following order should be included: Title, Scientific scope (aim, hypothesis), State of the art, Work plan (methods and infrastructure), Significance (long term perspective), References (only the most important – minimum font 9).
  • Applicant’s publication list. The list shall cover a maximum of 5 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, single line spacing. List the publications in reverse chronological order under 1) The 10 most important publications 2) Relevant publications from the last 8 years.
  • Research proposal – Full application B. It must consist of a maximum of 8 page-numbered A4 pages in Arial, font size 11, with single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins, references and any illustrations included. Headings in the following order should be included: Purpose and aims, Current state-of-the-art research, Significance and scientific novelty, Preliminary and previous results, Project description including theory and methodology, timetable and execution, brief description of the research environment and infrastructure, References (minimum font 9).
  • The protocol from the defence of the thesis or the degree diploma.
  • For half-time applications, a certificate must be issued by the operations manager or equivalent. It must confirm that the applicant will be clinically active at 50 % during the support period. The monthly salary (full-time) before tax for the applicant must be confirmed.

Be sure to check that the correct documents are attached to the respective application forms!

Incomplete or incorrect applications will not be considered.

Please note that only one application per call opportunity may be submitted.

Reporting of grant

The grant recipient should submit a mandatory report before the half-time of the grant period. The report should focus on the scientific progress that the grant has made possible, how the researcher’s activities have developed and expected results during the remainder of the grant period. The report must be approved by assessors appointed by SSMF in order to make funds for the remaining grant period accessible.

The financial reporting of the grant should be submitted annually. The reporting form is available for download at the bottom of the page.

Scientific and financial final reports are submitted after the completion of the grant period.

Financial and scientific reports are generated using SBS Manager, where the reporting deadlines are specified.

Please contact SSMF for reporting of grants awarded before 2020.