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Closed call 2021-01-31: Collaborative projects targeting Diversity and Inclusion in technologies for a digital transformation

This call is aiming to increase the diversity and inclusion as well as the outreach of the Digital Futures research, meaning that we want to facilitate collaboration between leading researchers at KTH, SU or RISE and researchers from a low or lower-middle income region such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, or similar. The projects should target digitalization as a mean to develop technological progress and/or education, health or democracy in low income regions. It will provide an opportunity for technological sharing and transfer between Swedish team and collaborating partners in low and middle income countries. This approach is consistent with SDG 17.6 efforts which emphasize bi-directional knowledge and skills sharing.

The projects should be 6-18 months long and could include travel and research visits to Sweden and/or the region in focus. The aim is to establish and develop long-term collaborations with researchers active in low- and middle-income regions and researchers active within Digital futures.

Important dates – NEW LATER DEADLINE!

Call opens: 15 December, 2020

Call closes: 31 January, 2021, 4.00 pm Swedish local time (previously 15 January, 2021)

The applications will be evaluated during February 2021, and notifications will be sent out during March 2021. The successful projects shall start as soon as possible, but no later than in May 2021.


Digital Futures is a strategic research collaboration between Royal institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm University (SU) and RISE aiming for a digital transformation. KTH has been tasked by the Swedish government to establish a strategic research environment for interdisciplinary research on the future technology for digitization. In line with this task, a number of different calls have been, and will be, opened for larger or smaller research projects and activities. Several cross-disciplinary pilot research projects have been launched already on research related to e.g. digital assistants in care for the elderly, managing sensitive personal data, smart solutions for water distribution and programmable microscale robotic matter as well as postdoc fellowships to support talented early career researchers in pursuing their research ideas and developing their future career. Most of these activities are performed by international research teams located in Sweden and focusing on digitalization issues related to the needs of industry and society in technologically leading regions like Sweden. However, it is also important to address the needs and challenges of digitalization in also other regions of the world.

Digital Futures consists of researchers from all schools of KTH as well as from Stockholm University, RISE and external partners. The centre is located in the award-winning building of the Architecture school at KTH Campus and is led by Professor Karl H Johansson.

Purpose and eligibility

This is a funding instrument intended to foster collaboration between researches within KTH, SU or RISE and researchers from a low- or middle-income region. All project proposals should include at least three key persons: Two Swedish lead researchers (PI and Co-PI), which should belong to either i) two different KTH schools, ii) a KTH school and RISE/SU, or iii) RISE and SU as well as one (or more) international researcher(s) that should be active in a low or lower-middleincome region. All researchers should have a doctoral degree.

Projects can be funded up to 1 000 000 SEK totally. The budget needs to reflect both the duration of the project and what is planned as activities; thus a shorter project cannot have a budget close to the maximum amount. This call will fund between 1-3 projects, new calls are expected during autumn 2021. Please note that those researchers who have been already funded by KTH Digital Futures in the level of 1 MSEK/year will not receive funding but are still invited to become part of a research project and apply.


The core research themes in Digital Futures are “Trust”, “Learn”, and “Cooperate” cutting across four prioritized societal contexts – Smart Society (SDG 11 & 16), Digitalized Industry (SDG 9.5), Rich and Healthy Life (SDG 3), complemented by Engineering Education (SDG 4.7 & 4.c). Your research should fit broadly in that scope.

Figure: The three research themes Trust, Cooperate and Learn cut across the four societal contexts Smart Society, Digitalized Industry, Rich and Healthy Life and Engineering Education.


Researchers that receive funding (both Swedish and international) are expected to perform a limited number of lectures and participate in eg. workshops targeting digitalization opportunities in low or lower-middle income regions including how digitalization might support the development of Democracy, improve Health, develop Education and/or Technological progress in low or lower-middle income regions.


  • A doctoral degree or an equivalent foreign degree.
  • An existing position at KTH, SU or RISE for Swedish applicants (PIs and Co-PIs)
  • An existing position at a University in a low or lower-middle income region (as defined by the World bank) for the international applicant – see more at
  • A track record demonstrating research experience in an area linked to at least one DF research theme.
  • Awareness of issues of values, including diversity and equal treatment issues with a particular focus on gender equality, and ethical research conduct.


The deadline for the first round of applications is 31 January, 2021. The applications will be evaluated during February 2021, and notifications will be sent out during March 2021. The successful projects shall start as soon as possible, but no later than in May 2021.

This is a recurring call, the next round of applications is expected to open in Fall 2021.

How to apply

The application must include:

  • A brief project description (max three pages) with clear targets in terms of aimed improvements in technological progress and/or development of education, health or democracy in low or lower-middle income regions
  • A tentative budget not exceeding the allowed total sum, indicating salary costs, travel and other major costs (max half a page). A portion of the total budget should go to the international researcher. Note that no equipment costs will be covered
  • Sustainability aspects of the collaboration – how will the collaboration proceed after the project has finished? (max half a page)
  • A time-plan (max half a page)
  • CVs including relevant professional experience and knowledge
  • Send the application to before 15 January, 2021, before 4.00 pm Swedish local time

Contact: Please include “Diversity and Inclusion call” in the subject of your email.

Selection process

The applications will be evaluated by an external evaluation committee, based on the scope of the project, its potential and relevance as well as on merits of the applicants. Focus of the assessment will be on:

  • The potential of the project to improve technological progress and/or development of education, health or democracy using digital means in low or lower-middle income regions
  • Possible benefits for Digital Futures in terms of Diversity and Inclusion
  • The practical possibility to reach the listed targets and outcomes of the collaboration
  • Relation between the suggested activities and the budget applied for
  • The sustainability potential after the funding period
  • Track record showing previous engagements in international digitalization projects between low or middle income countries and high income countries is a merit

Matchmaking Event

Digital Futures is hosting two “Matchmaking” on-line events, open to all potential project applicants, to help with the creation of proposals.

4 December, 2020, at 1.30 – 3.00 pm Swedish local time

9 December, 2020, at 1.00 – 2.30 pm Swedish local time

 Please respond via this link to get a place at the respective matchmaking event:

Note that it is perfectly OK to participate in both events.