Created in 2001, by merging research funding previously via: The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency SJFR - research council for agriculture and forestry Byggforskningsrådet – research council for building/construction/infrastructure
Formas-financed research should contribute to the sustainable development of society. This presupposes that human and animal health and welfare, biodiversity, the environment, the productivity of ecosystems, economics, and ethics as well as social and cultural values are taken into consideration. The three primary support areas of Formas are: Environment Agricultural Sciences Spatial planning
Evaluation panels until 2008 – system basically identical to VR
Forskningspropositionen 2008: "Formas har ett stort antal ämnesinriktade beredningsgrupper för beredning av rådets forskningsansökningar. Regeringen anser att Formas bör överväga att effektivisera beredningsorganisationen och att öka inslagen av problemorientering". The government said: Formas should consider fewer evaluation panels, and a stronger focus on applied science
Still it is clearly stated in the instruction from that the government that Formas is obliged to support basic as well as applied science ”stödja grundforskning och behovsstyrd forskning”. This is reflected also in the strategy of Formas for 2009-2012: “Formas ska tillhöra skiktet av i Europa ledande och välsedda finansiärer av kvalitativt högklassig grundforskning och behovsmotiverad forskning för hållbar utveckling.”
Starting with the annual call for proposals spring 2009, Formas 1.Decreased from 18 disciplinary evaluation panels with (almost) exclusively scientific experts, to 6 large interdisciplinary ones, with a large share of “stake- holders” 2.Changed the evaluation criteria to put more emphasis on societal value
The 6 new interdisciplinary groups:
A Rich Natural Environment (excerpt) …..better knowledge of the role of biodiversity for ecosystem processes and resilience is also of vital importance, as well as the development of new methods for conservation of plant and animal genetic resources. To find solutions for maintaining or restoring resilient ecosystems, improved management of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems is crucial. This includes water and land use conflicts ….. as well as interactions between natural and human systems. Development of institutions, practices and new technologies should aim for sustainable governance and management of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Research funded by Formas shall provide new approaches and solutions for maintaining and restoring aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem functions, processes and values. The research should generate fundamental understanding of ecosystems and their components, and provide new knowledge to support and promote well functioning ecosystems for the future.
Responses to climate change in society and nature (excerpt) Research funded by Formas shall contribute to an increased capacity in society and ecosystems to respond to climate change. Many questions regarding the functions and interactions of various systems related to climate change are still to be answered in order to improve our capacity to respond to climate change. Research is needed on the interactions between natural systems and man made infrastructure, for instance in urban planning and construction. Moreover, research is essential in the development of effective measures for mitigation and adaptation. Analyses of interactions between natural and human systems are necessary, as well as analyses of interactions between different societal interests and processes. Analyses of equity and burden sharing between people and countries, generations, and sectors are also needed.
Formas will finance a number of large research projects with an annual grant starting 2009 not exceeding MSEK 5 per year for up to four years. The proposed research should preferably use a multi- or interdisciplinary approach. The support is given in the form of a block grant where the research team itself decides how the funds can best be used Climate Models, 20 milj/år Effects on Natural Resources, Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, 25 milj/år Marine Environment, 10 milj/år Sustainable use of Natural Resources, 20 milj/år Strategic research
13.2.1 Criteria of Scientific Value Research question Scientific significance, originality, innovativeness and boldness…… Aim in line with the call for applications Multi- and interdisciplinary approaches should be considered advantageous Performance of multi- and interdisciplinary approaches
13.2.2 Criteria of Societal Value Importance for sustainable development Aim addresses important societal issue Project may contribute to ecologically sustainable development of the society Aim in line with the call for applications Dialogue with society Project is planned in dialogue with stakeholders Concrete and realistic plan for deliverables to stakeholders Adequate experience, including pedagogical skills, of cooperation and communication with stakeholders
Dialogue with society, continued.. In case of basic research, the dialogue could e.g. comprise of a description of societal issues constituting the basis for the aim of the project. In case of applied research, the dialogue with stakeholders could include plans of cooperation and implementation. Stakeholders should be regarded as actors who can put the research outcomes to use in society…. Stakeholders do not refer to other researchers in academia User values Specific ideas, including time scale, on how to implement project outcomes Estimated effects of project outcomes on different times scales
Samhällsrelevans ger lika stort utslag som vetenskaplig relevans (oavsett om det är grundforskning som avses med ansökan)
Application success rate 1 229 applications 137 – 300 in each panel 2009
Women and young scientists AnsökningarFörslag Kvinnor37% (2008: 37%) 39% (2008: 39%) Unga forskare31% (2008: 26%) 45% (2008: 52%) 2009
Affiliation of applicants 2009
Finally: Read the “Formas Handbook” carefully In addition to “VR strategy”: put emphasis on societal value, interdisciplinarity, stakeholder interactions Don’t panic, and don’t be too opportunistic: Excellence in research will always pay off!