In the Prospekt programme, early career researchers have the opportunity to pursue their own research projects in collaboration with business partners. The programme enables early career development, and provides opportunities for development and renewal of both the university and participating companies.

How Prospekt contributes to the development of Strong Research and Education Environments:

In the development of Strong Research and Education Environments, the Prospekt programme should be considered as a possibility for an environment to develop and renew itself through strategical recruitment of a promising early career researcher, who is given the opportunity to independently manage a research project. The project managers could for example be recruited from another university, from the business sector or from a research institute. The Knowledge Foundation encourages mobility, which may contribute to renewal and long-term development for research and educational environments.

About the programme

Prospekt is an opportunity for research and education environments to bring an early career researcher onto their staff. Historically, nearly half of the projects granted have had project managers who have a doctoral degree from another university than where the project was pursued. The Knowledge Foundation sees great advantages in researchers obtaining the opportunity, early in their career, to pursue their own research projects and to build relationships with companies for the purpose of remaining in the research and educational environment and contribute to the development and/or renewal of the environment.

The programme’s contribution to the university’s development

In programme evaluations, we have seen that nearly all project managers continue working in the environment also after the end of the project, something the Knowledge Foundation views positively. We have also confirmed the importance of being allowed to lead and pursue own research projects in order to develop into an independent, successful researcher. Publication is a self-evident part of achieving the objectives. The projects also contribute to applicants establishing close relationships with companies, which strengthens opportunities for continued funding. We often see project managers at the end of the project becoming assistant supervisors for doctoral students, thus further strengthening their qualifications. Several project managers have applied for funds after a concluded Prospekt project via other Knowledge Foundation programme forms, primarily HÖG.

The programme’s contribution to business sector development

Completed projects have led to good results for participating companies, both through directly applicable knowledge that can be implemented in processes or products, and also in relation to more long-term development in the form of knowledge building, expanded networks, and competence development.

Programme design

The project must be based on a limited and well-defined research question, and run for 1 to 2 years. The project manager should, when the call closes, not have been academically active for more than 3 years (employment in the business sector, parental leave, and the like are deducted). The maximum funding from the Knowledge Foundation is 2 million SEK, and shall primarily be used as salary funds for the project manager regarding working time within the Prospekt project. An appropriate activity level within the project is 70-80 % of full-time (remaining time refers to other qualifying activites outside the project, which must be covered  for by the university, see below). 

The project must be conducted in co-production with business partners. This means that the academic and business partners, from their different perspectives, together must formulate and address a jointly formulated question. Most often, the companies contribute resources in the form of expertise in their specialised fields, but also materials, tests, and experiments. The contribution from the business sector in the project must be equivalent to that from the Knowledge Foundation.

The foundation encourages the project manager to engage outside the research project in other qualifying activities like teaching, other research projects or other duties at the department, that may contribute to the career development. However, this cannot be included in and funded by the Prospekt project, but should be financed by the university. Also, the university must provide direct resources to the project corresponding to at least 20  % of the amount applied for from the Knowledge Foundation.  

A reference group consisting of at least three senior researchers must be linked to the project. The group should include at least two researchers (at least one of whom is a ‘docent’) connected to the research environment where the project manager will work, but also one researcher from another university. The reference group should assist the project manager with advice and recommendations concerning both the project and the project manager’s professional development. 

Who can apply, and how it works

• Sweden’s university colleges and new universities may apply. The Knowledge Foundation welcomes applications within all scientific and artistic research fields.

• The project manager must be a researcher who has not been academically active for more than three years. The project manager can be currently employed at another university, in the business sector or by a research institute. When the project begins, however, the researcher must be employed by the proposed host university (within the target group of the Knowledge Foundation).

• The project is to be co-produced together with business partners, and their contribution must be described in the application.

• Calls for proposals within the programme are issued annually, in spring. Applications must be registered via the Ansök & rapportera portal.

Maria Dollhopf
Programme Manager for Graduate Professional Development, Prospekt and Targeted call for competence development in the business sector
073-712 81 36
Birgitta Olsson
Secretary to the CEO and Programme Administrator
073-712 81 12