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Call for research proposals - 50 MSEK to research on energy transitions

Pressmeddelande   •   Feb 10, 2020 11:22 CET

Call for stage one proposals and announcement of funding

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) invites research groups, jointly with relevant stakeholders in the community, to submit their vision for a new research programme. The submitted proposals should address significant environmental problems faced by society, with an emphasis on developing long-term solutions. The focus of this call is the transition of the energy sector towards the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions through the development of a new energy mix and effective infrastructure.

A two-stage process

The evaluation of proposals to this call will be made in two stages. In stage one, applicants should submit a five page proposal that will be evaluated by an international panel. Stage two will be by invitation only.

Proposal planning grants of up to SEK 150 000 will be available for the groups invited to submit stage-two proposals.


Following the Paris climate agreement and the United Nations sustainable development goals, the Swedish government has adopted a goal of achieving a society with net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the year 2045. In order to reach this goal, the various sectors of society will need to eliminate, or negate GHG emissions. To achieve the overarching target of a fossil free society, an energy intense transition of the current industrial system will need to take place. This will require a system perspective, new societal structures, transformative approaches and the introduction of new technologies, some of which have not yet been developed or, perhaps, even thought of.

In the Swedish and European context, a number of public and private initiatives are ongoing to prepare our society for the transition of the energy system. These initiatives have, or are soon expected to, produce reports describing the problems ahead and suggesting some potential solutions. These reports provide important insights into how different sections of society view the current situation and how it may be developed.

As a step towards meeting the challenges mentioned, Mistra asked an international expert group to prepare a background paper on the topic at hand. This paper highlights some central challenges and areas of research and serves to instigate discussion.


The majority of current research funding in Sweden tends to focus either on purely technological issues, or to a lesser extent, questions that fall squarely in the field of social science. We envision a programme that more clearly recognises and addresses the links between different aspects of future energy system development pathways, drawing upon an array of research fields working together via inter- and transdisciplinary research.

The research programme should address and recognise the multi-faceted character of the energy challenge. This requires a systemic view that can span the entire technological spectrum of the energy system from demand, through distribution of energy carriers, to energy conversion and supply, including new technologies such as artificial intelligence. We believe that exploring drivers of demand of energy services, institutional aspects of innovation and similar non-technical aspects can add value compared with other research efforts in the area.

Who can apply

This call addresses research groups in all academic disciplines working at Swedish higher education institutions, research institutes, government agencies and companies, as well as public sector and civil society. Researchers and organisations active outside Sweden may participate, but the principal applicant and planned programme host must be a Swedish organisation.

Time schedule


10 February Call for stage one proposals opens
8 April Call for stage one proposals closes
April-May Evaluation of stage one proposals by an international panel
June Decision by Mistra’s board based to invite stage two proposals
15 October Stage two proposals must be submitted
November Evaluation of stage two proposals by an international panel
December Award decision is taken by Mistra’s board


March Programme start (preliminary)

Expected programme budget: A total of SEK 57.5 million over four years.

Mistra’s financial contribution: A maximum of SEK 50 million.

Co-funding: Corresponding to at least 15 % of Mistras financial contribution.

Mistra supports research of strategic importance for a good living environment. 

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