Four outstanding young researchers share 60 million SEK through the Swedish Foundation’s Starting Grant call for proposals

The four top researchers receiving funding in a collaboration with seven foundations are Laurence Picton, Karolinska Institutet, Kathlen Kohn, Royal Institute of Technology, Roham Parsa, Karolinska Institutet and Stephen De Lisle, Karlstad University.

The Swedish Foundations Starting Grant (SFSG) call for proposals is a joint project between seven private research funders and is aimed at very prominent researchers at Swedish universities. The researchers who are eligible to apply for funding must have received the highest score on their Starting Grant application to the European Research Council (ERC), but have not received funding due to the ERC’s limited budget.

“With this initiative, we want to give these researchers the opportunity to carry out their planned projects and conduct groundbreaking research. The intention is also that the SFSG grant will give the researchers a scientific advantage so that they will be successful the next time they apply for a grant from the ERC,” says Anna Wetterbom, CEO of the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation and coordinator of SFSG.

- With the board's decision that the Knowledge Foundation will join the SFSG joint project, we will contribute to providing the same conditions for young researchers at colleges and newer universities as those who are active at other universities have when it comes to funding Starting Grants projects. We are pleased to be able to fund Stephen De Lisle at Karlstad University, who will study how the evolution of gender has contributed to the diversity we see around us today and which concerns the origin and development of life," says Eva Schelin, CEO of the Knowledge Foundation.

– “It is with great pleasure that the foundation funds Kathlén Kohn’s project on using algebra for improved data visualization”, says Jenny Parnesten, chair of the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation.

– “It is with pleasure and pride that the Swedish Society for Medical Research, SSMF, funds Roham Parsa’s project on T-lymphocytes and their role during viral infections”, says Mats Ulfendahl, President of the Swedish Society for Medical Research.

– “Giving talented young research group leaders the chance to build and establish their research feels particularly valuable, and we are very happy to be able to follow Laurence Picton’s project on the mechanisms behind our mobility control- proprioception – more closely,” says Ylva Linderson, Research Secretary at the Erling-Persson Foundation.

Approved applications within Swedish Foundations Grant 2024

Stephen De Lisle (Karlstad University) who receives funding from the KK Foundation for the project “Origins of diversity in sexual organisms” (see description below).

Kathlen Kohn (Royal Institute of Technology) who receives funding from the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation for the project “Algebraic Vision”.

Roham Parsa (Karolinska Institutet) who receives funding from the Swedish Society for Medical Research for the project “The development and function of mucosal T cells”.

Laurence Picton (Karolinska Institutet) who receives funding from the Erling-Persson Foundation for the project “Spinal cord tension dynamics and central proprioception”

Popular science about the research project supported by the Knowledge Foundation

How has the evolution of gender contributed to the diversity we see around us today? This is a question that not only touches on fundamental scientific principles concerns our fundamental curiosity about the origin and evolution of life. For most multicellular organisms on Earth, evolution occurs through selection and adaptation between two distinct groups: males and females. Despite the centrality of this division, we know very little about whether and why the evolution of sexes has influenced diversification, i.e. patterns of species emergence and extinction, partly because different theories and methods have provided conflicting answers.

To address these questions, Stephen De Lisle uses a mix of experimental approaches, both in the laboratory with fruit flies, and through field studies on salamanders, to explore the interplay between natural and sexual selection. These experiments aim to provide insights into how sexual dimorphism affects species’ interactions during early stages of speciation. Furthermore, De Lisle intends to apply comparative analyses with new comprehensive databases covering traits of multicellular animals to evaluate the impact of sexual dimorphism on contemporary population dynamics and its long-term importance for species diversification. The project aims to highlight the critical role that the evolution of separate sexes has played in the evolution of the diversity of life. By validating his hypothesis, De Lisle hopes to deepen the understanding of how the evolutionary independence of the sexes has enabled increased diversification by colonizing new ecological niches.


Contact and more information

Photo: Tiago Bruno Rezende de Castro, Åsa Bognell-Höjer and private.

Contact person overall: Anna Wetterbom, CEO Ragnar Söderberg Foundation

Contact person KK-stiftelsen: Joakim Appelquist, Head of Strategic Development and External Relations.

About Swedish Foundations Starting Grants

SFSG is a collaboration between seven private research funders who share the conviction that it is important to support outstanding young researchers and Swedish researchers. The seven research funders are Erling-Persson Foundation, Kempe Foundations, KK Foundation, Olle Engkvist Foundation, Ragnar Söderberg Foundation, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Swedish Society for Medical Research.