Collaboration and impact in calls for proposals

Today, many Swedish funders as well as the EU's Horizon Europe framework programme require that the research they finance must be carried out in collaboration with relevant actors or benefit society at large.

Having a good knowledge of what different funders require facilitates your search for suitable calls and the work of preparing an application.

Photo: Ida Åberg

So what should you as a researcher do to increase your chances of funding? If we look at some of the major Swedish research funding agencies, the requirements differ. In order to receive funds from Forte, Vinnova and the Swedish Energy Agency, you must be able to clearly describe how a mutual exchange will take place. Formas, in turn, wants your research project to have social relevance – and that you communicate with those who are supposed to benefit from the research.

The conditions for entering into projects together also differ. Forte, for example, does not require co-financing from your partner, which, on the other hand, the Swedish Energy Agency and Vinnova often do.

Within the EU, there are so many funding opportunities that it is not easy to say something that applies in general. But what you can take with you is that investments within, above all, the framework programme Horizon Europe's second pillar, Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, require you to collaborate and seek funds together with others as a consortium.

Below you will get a brief overview of the requirements of some Swedish funders:

The Swedish Energy Agency

The Swedish Energy Agency finances research in energy, climate and sustainability.

Many of the agency's calls require collaboration, and they often want different types of actors to be included in order to contribute to both increased societal relevance and utilisation of the project's results.

In order to be granted funding, you must be able to describe how the collaboration will take place and also to what degree the recipients of the results are involved in the project's design and implementation.​

Go to The Swedish Energy Agency website


Formas is a governmental research council for sustainable development. The council's areas of responsibility include the environment, agricultural sciences and spatial planning.

In order to be granted funding, you must (in addition to scientific relevance) be able to describe the societal benefit of your research, as well as how you intend to communicate it to relevant audiences, i.e., stakeholders and/or end users. 

Formas also wants to know how your project will involve other actors and in which contexts the research project will have significance for those who are supposed to benefit from it.

To help you meet the requirements, Formas offers information on what is:

Good to know before you apply


Forte funds research related to health, working life and welfare.

Their assessment criteria are divided into three categories: scientific quality, societal relevance and feasibility. By societal relevance, Forte means:

  • Relevance in relation to society's needs, Forte's areas of responsibility and the focus of the call.​​
  • Collaboration with users of the research (stakeholders, policymakers, the general public etc.).
  • Utilisation and communication of research results.

You can read more about Forte's assessment process and what you need to highlight in your application on the page:

General requirements and assessment criteria


As Sweden's innovation agency, Vinnova's task is to contribute to sustainable growth by improving the conditions for needs-based research and innovation.

Vinnova funds projects that can benefit society, and often wants to see several parties working together to get there. In their evaluation of received applications, the review panels always look at: ​

  • Potential – What effects and what value can be expected from the project, and what significance will it have for society if the project achieves its goals?
  • Actors – What ability do the participants have to carry out the project, and achieve the desired results and effects?
  • Feasibility – How realistic and credible is the project plan, both in terms of implementing the project and achieving the desired outcome?

In addition, Vinnova follows up on funded projects to see what effects the investments have de facto had on society.​

You can learn more about applying for and receiving funding via:

Vinnova's step-by-step guide

Sharpen your skills

Regardless of whether you want to find collaboration partners or apply for research funding, you need to be able to clearly communicate what your research project is about and how you intend to collaborate.

Would you like to sharpen your skills? Check out the range of internal training courses.

Go to Courses and workshops

Lena Holmberg