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

About the grant

SSMF’s four-year 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 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.

Only Swedish Universities and Swedish University Colleges can be specified as grant managers in the application.

Before the call opens, be sure to discuss the terms and budget details with your intended grant manager to ensure that you have long-term support for your research.

Application period

Applications for SSMF Starting Grant are open from 15 March – 15 April. Please note that the application system closes on April 15 at 23.59 and it is not possible to register an application or make changes to existing applications after that.

The application is made electronically. Please note that the last day for signing for applicants is April 15 at 23.59 and that the application must then already be signed by the head of department in order to be submitted. 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. 

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. 

Persons who, at the time when the research grant agreement is signed, hold a teaching position (senior lecturer, professor) or a research position extending over a number of years funded by a national or international funding provider are not eligible to apply.

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 takes up a position as a senior lecturer or professor at their higher education institution during the term of the agreement, the funds intended to cover their own salary may, subject to approval, be used for other purposes within the research project, though no earlier than one year after the beginning of the grant period.

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.

Financial reporting of the grants should be submitted annually.

Review process

After submission of the application to SSMF, a first ranking is done by the respective medical faculty, after which the SSMF Review Board identifies the most qualified applicants in a second round of review. 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 in the beginning of September and interviews are conducted on September 20 in Stockholm. Final decisions on the award of grants will be announced by e-mail at the beginning of October.

Submitting your application

Application is made electronically and must be written in English. The application is signed digitally with BankID by both the head of department and the applicant in the system. Applicants are the last to sign the application when it is submitted. Please note that if you change the application after it has been signed by the head of department, this means that you must send a new request for signature to your head of department.

The following documents should be attached to the application as PDFs:

  • Research proposal. 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.
  • 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.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.