Once you have submitted your application it is handed over to Forte’s review panels and external experts for assessment. Based on their assessment, Forte’s board or Director General make the final decisions on which applications will be granted.

Assessment by leading researchers and experts

Scientific review panels assess the research applications submitted to Forte. The panels are made up of leading researchers and representatives from our areas of responsibility: health, working life and welfare. Our panels include community representatives to ensure public interest and social relevance in the research we fund. The review panels make their assessment based on both the scientific quality of the applications and their societal relevance, as well as feasibility.

The panel that assesses your application will depend on the current call and the subject of the research. For the annual open calls for project grants and postdoc 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.

Review panels in the annual open call for project grants »

Final decision by Forte’s board or Director General

With the help of the review panels’ assessment, Forte’s board and office make the final decision on which applications will be granted funding. For larger grants, such as project grants and programme grants, Forte’s board makes the final decisions. For smaller grants such as visiting researcher grants, journal grants, network grants and conference grants, the decision is usually delegated to our Director General. Forte’s decisions cannot be appealed.

Assessment criteria

Forte’s assessment criteria are divided into three categories: scientific quality, relevance and feasibility. Under each category there are a number of sub-criteria. Additional criteria may be added in certain thematic calls. For some of our smaller grant types (for example network grants and visiting researcher grants), not all sub-criteria are relevant and can therefore be removed or look different. For information on which assessment criteria are used in a specific call, see the attached documents on the call’s website.

Scientific quality

  • Purpose, research questions, theoretical framework, background and originality
  • Study design, methods for data collection and analysis
  • Interdisciplinary and/or multidisciplinary approach
  • Sex and gender perspectives in the content of the research


  • Relevance in relation to societal needs, Forte’s areas of responsibility and the focus area of the call
  • Engagement with end users
  • Utilisation and communication of research results


  • Quality of the work plan
  • Research competence of the project leader and project group
  • Account of any previous own research in the area
  • Staffing and budget, assessed on reasonableness

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.

Forte’s conflict of interest policy »

Gender equality

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.