Once you have submitted your application it is handed over to Forte’s review panels for assessment. Based on their assessment, Forte’s board makes the final decisions on which applications will be granted.
Assessment by researchers and community representatives
Applications submitted to Forte are evaluated by a review panel, made up of community representatives and researchers who are experts in their fields. The reviewers read and assess all applications individually, and then meet up to hold a joint discussion. At this meeting, the review panel makes a joint recommendation on which projects should be granted funding and which should be rejected. The review panel also prepares a statement on each application to justify the panel’s recommendation.
Which review panel will assess your application?
The panel that assesses your application will depend on the current call and the subject of the research. In the annual open calls for project grants and starting grants, there are a number of review panels with different focus areas. The members of the panels are appointed annually. For other calls, there are specially appointed review panels.
General requirements and assessment criteria
To be eligible for funding from Forte, applications must be of high scientific quality, societal relevance and feasibility. Applications are assessed against our general assessment criteria and general requirements. The assessment is an overall assessment that weighs up all the criteria and requirements and relates them to the call and its objectives. Key to the assessment is how the applicant has justified the various choices made in the application (of the research question(s), theory, method, etc.). In some cases, applications are also assesed againt call-specific criteria, which will be set out in the information on the call’s web page.
If several applications are judged equivalent
In cases where two or more applications are judged to be equivalent in the overall assessment, the review panel may give priority to applications from applicants of the under-represented gender. By under-represented gender, Forte refers to the gender that has a lower success rate in relation to the number of applicants. In the second instance, the review panel may give priority to applications that contribute to a greater variety of research questions and themes among the funded projects.
Final decision by Forte’s board
Forte’s board decides which applications to grant funding to and which to reject, based on the recommendations of the review panels. The applications proposed for funding must be within the budget allocated to the call or review panel in question, but the full financial envelope is only to be used if there are applications of sufficiently high scientific quality, societal relevance and feasibility. The review panel may propose a number of reserves if it has the opinion that more applications should receive funding than the financial envelope allows for.
In some cases, the board can delegate decisions to our Director General. Forte’s decisions cannot be appealed.
How we avoid conflicts of interest
To ensure that out assessment process is as objective as possible, Forte has a conflict of interest policy in place for the board, review panels and external experts. A person who according to the policy is in conflict may not be present at the assessment or decision of the applicable application.
An important condition for objectivity in the assessment process is gender equality. No applicant or application should be assessed differently based on gender or other factors that are not included in the assessment criteria.
Knowledge in gender equality issues is important when appointing our review panels. When appointing a review panel, we strive for a distribution of competencies and qualifications. We also aim for neither women nor men to make up less than 40 percent of the members within each panel. We work actively to ensure that our panels do not maintain existing disadvantageous or discriminatory structures regarding power, participation and influence in academic contexts.
Everyone who participates in our review panels receives a detailed information material that describes Forte’s mission, the current call, the review process step by step and the assessment criteria. A chapter is dedicated to the pitfalls of a gender equal review process and how to work practically to avoid them.
The review panel’s assignment includes following up the proposed grant rate for women and men based on number of applications. Larger disparities need to be discussed and justified. In the event of an equal assessment between applications, the panel has a mandate to promote the underrepresented gender.
Assessment of applications where part of the research is to be carried out abroad
Forte is positive towards international research collaborations. Forte’s area of responsibility covers complex societal challenges in which international research collaborations can provide important contributions.
Forte’s grants can be used to finance research where certain parts are carried out in other countries. However, the research shall be initiated and led from Sweden or be a clear part of the collaborative research.
Applications involving international collaborations are assessed against the same criteria as other research applications and by the same review panels.
In assessing research applications, the reviewers in Forte’s review panels shall assess if any foreign section of a project brings added value to a project or is a prerequisite for a project with, for example, a global or comparative approach.
It is the main applicant’s responsibility to: find out how his or her administrating organisation stands on financing research where certain parts are carried out in other countries; and, find suitable collaboration procedures in each specific case.
It is the grant’s administrating organisation, i.e. the main applicant’s home institution in Sweden, that determines and is responsible for, if necessary, appointing foreign personnel or paying for activities or services carried out in other countries.